The Objective Management Group Annual Partners Conference took place this past weekend. It was a memorable event, one, because it was held as a virtual conference for the first time, but more so because of the Kobe Bryant video interview OMG CEO, Dave Kurlan (@KurlanAssoc), presented.

Kobe’s Legacy in a Quote

The interview was powerful for all the reasons you might imagine. My main takeaway, however, explains why his legacy will loom large for a long time. It was Kobe’s statement, “If you aren’t nervous about the risk of failure, you’ll be able to focus on what you need to do.”

Simply put, take away the risk of failure. I’m not saying take away the chance for failure, just the risk associated with it. The fear, the dread, the “what if?” These are the risks.

63% of salespeople lack emotional discipline anyway. Let’s consider what those 63% are thinking about now, during this time of uncertainty, anxiety, and stress? They are likely not focused on what they need to do, but instead are focused on the turmoil. And guess what? That increases the risk of failure.

Do the Work

Kobe Bryant was notorious for outworking everyone on the court. His motto was, “Show up every single day and do the work.”

As a leader, what is the “work” that your people need to show up and do every single day? In some capacity your company’s work is helping others. It is supplying goods or services to your market. Depending on your niche, you may or may not be able to do much of that right now.

But, you can help your sales team step back and prioritize the work they need to do every single day. Pick a specific item each week for a salesperson to concentrate on and have them keep score and report back.

What THEY can do:

  • Make every conversation meaningful
  • Focus on helping the customer or prospect solve their problems rather than “selling” them
  • Pick up the phone and talk to all their clients
  • Find out what “value” means to their clients
  • Reach out to referral sources and centers of influence to thank them for prior business and to see what you can do for them
  • Map out the conversations of each person they talk with
  • Ask better, more hard-hitting questions that will actually help the other guy know they care and want to help their business

And what about you leaders and managers? If 63% of salespeople lack emotional discipline in the selling process, is it possible that you also lose a little emotional control and focus during times of stress? You can eliminate the risk of failure as well.

What YOU can do:

  • Have a roadmap for coaching calls that helps you stay on track
  • Have a set time that you speak with each rep individually each week, with a focus on coaching THEIR priority (you get some say in their priority if it doesn’t make sense)
  • Ask better, more robust questions rather than accept surface answers from your reps
  • Hold them accountable to their commitments like an accountability partner would do
  • Refuse to accept their excuses as to why they can’t do something
  • Be more present for your reps by conducting daily huddles to help them focus (and help you focus)

Time to Hone

Now really is the time when sales teams can hone their craft and improve their effectiveness. We are helping dozens of teams, and hundreds of leaders and salespeople make the time now a period of growth as opposed to stagnation. We have also created some new tools specifically to help leaders coach their teams of sellers to improve their skills. We provide them to clients and would be happy to discuss them with anyone who is not a client. Just contact me.

The interview I watched was filled with more nuggets. Here’s another lasting quote from Kobe Bryant, “Think about how much better you’ll be if you do it every single day.”