Mental preparation for success

Mental preparation for success

Personal vision of Sales Manager 2. Begin with the end in mind

Stephen Covey’s second habit is at the heart of most coaching (sports and business) in achieving the goals you set yourself.

One of the many ideas in this habit is that you create things twice: once in your mind, i.e. you visualise your goals, your life’s work, your Olympic race, whatever it is you want to succeed in; then once in reality – you make it happen.  After the fantastic success of the TeamGB athletes in this years’s London Olympics, you will hear a lot of them talk about the importance of their mental preparation as well as their physical preparation in achieving their medals.

The most famous example is that of Mohamed Ali, his mental strength and mindset were what set him apart, in addition to his natural talent. Over the years in books and TV interviews he has revealed how he conditioned his mind before a match to give him a very high chance of success once he got in the ring.

He once described in a TV interview how he would focus his mind on the actual experience of being there in the ring. He would feel the sensations, see the reactions, feel the punches, be aware of the sweat, the sounds, the sights, the flashes of the cameras.

He would rehearse the fight in his mind as if he were recording each moment. He gave this mental routine a name which coaching experts have since picked up. He called it creating a “Future History.”

How does this help you recruit and train your new Sales Managers?

Before you promote your best person, or before you decide who to promote, get your potential Sales Managers to put in writing what they would do if they were made Sales Manager. Encourage them to visualise themselves in the role before you appoint them, how they would manage and motivate their team, where the big new accounts will come from, how they want to be remembered in that role.

This visualisation technique will give them ideas before they start, and give you a good idea of who is ready for such a role and what level of success you can expect from them.

You can get your external candidates to do this exercise as a pre-selection activity before their job interview too.  (Tip 1 of 49 in “Superhero Sales Manager in 7 days”)

Try it and let me know how it works for you.

3 key principles of Superhero Sales Management

3 key principles of Superhero Sales Management

You’ve finally found the right Sales Manager for the role. Relief! Or is it?   How are you going to get them up to speed quickly so you get on with doing what you do best?

  • Send them on a training programme?
  • Carve out time from your already crammed diary to mentor them?
  • Show them their desk, give them their work and let them get on with it, after all you recruited them for their knowledge and expertise, right?

Would you do things differently if you knew that 40% to 50% of senior appointments fail to achieve the desired results due to lack of training, support, coaching or mentoring.

Too often we assume that the job change is a natural one but what often happens next is your Salesperson finds it a lot harder than they had expected, they keep quiet and hide their failures as they are used to being successful and feel the pressure of those expectations. The sales team around them aren’t fooled and become de-motivated and sometimes leave. So you have not only lost your best Salesperson (who no longer has the time to pull in the sales they did before) but you have a demotivated Sales team, spiralling recruitment costs and poor sales.

The 3 principles I see working best to ensure your Sales Manager is giving value to the company i.e. a Superhero Sales Manager, are:

  1. The Superhero Sales Manager Identity– a fast track coaching and mentoring solution which tackles those issues of a new mental attitude including:
    1. As a manager, not a salesperson,
    2. working on behalf of a team, not solo
    3. being pro-active and showing initiative
    4. seeing themselves as a leader

Often it takes a good Salesperson 6 to 18 months (sometimes more) to reach their potential as a Sales Manager because they have not made that mental transition. Without support at the early stages it could take a long time for them to get into their stride and identify their management style.

  1. The Superhero Sales Manager Powers and Skills.  This is the area covered by more traditional Sales Management courses and is an essential part of any transition from Salesperson to Sales Manager. These include communication and presentation skills, motivating staff, controlling and commanding the sales, marketing and customer service process.
  2. The Superhero Success Story.  Getting quick wins makes your new Sales Manager feel great about themselves and their new role.   Often that doesn’t happen for months so any training that focuses on early success, planning and prioritising critical success factors and building them into a timetable of intensive training and coaching pays dividends. Not just for building up the confidence of your new Sales Manger quickly but that of their Sales team around them, confidence in them from Senior Management and sales results your whole organisation can benefit from.

What do you think?  If you are a Director concerned about your company’s performance and don’t have the time to deliver this yourself, give this some thought (and give us a ring!)



Value your managers – or you could lose 65% of your staff

Value your managers or you could lose 65% of your staff!

In today’s Sunday Times Best Companies list the one key element that is highlighted as the most directly correlated to success is good management. This is closely followed by good leadership so if you get both right you are not only going to be financially successful but have a motivated and inspired work force too.

Some of the highlights of the report:
•Malcolm Walker of Iceland, winner of the Best Big Company to work for 2012, says that the difference in sales for the company with a motivated manager versus a demotivated manager can be at least 20%.
•The coverage of the award states that the Best Companies featured in the list have a higher number of good mangers that encourage the personal development of their team as well as absorb the pressures from above.
•It goes on to say that 65% of staff who have a manager who does not listen to them or share information would leave tomorrow if they were offered another job.
•Where employees feel their manager doesn’t listen to them, 77% feel their company is taking advantage of them and are not motivated.

Couple this with the results of the survey released last week by the Chartered Management Institute which states that nearly half of UK managers are viewed as “ineffective” by their staff. The survey* proves that organisational performance and management abilities are clearly linked with 39% of managers in low performing businesses deeming their line managers to be effective, compared to 80% in high performing organisations.

So what does all this tell us? That in a difficult economic climate, the way forward for improving revenue is to make sure your managers are fully trained, fully aware of their importance on their staff as well as on the company results and that the importance of good management cannot be underestimated.

Are we asking too much of our managers? Can we expect them to be Superheroes?

Superhero managers need at least these 3 things
1.The right mindset that they are there for the team; to listen to them, encourage them and take responsibility for them
2.Great communication skills to manage upwards, downwards and sideways so that everyone is well informed and able to do their job to their best ability.
3.Great organisational skills to deploy the right resources at the right time to be effective as well as efficient.

I have developed a programme for discovering and uncovering Superhero Sales Managers as I believe the future of UK companies’ success lies here. If you are interested in an induction programme that will save you time and effort getting a new manager up to speed and may make at least 20% difference to your bottom line and save up to 65% of your sales force leaving in just 7 days please go to

*The CMI-Penna report, produced with Henley Business School, draws on findings from almost 4,500 managers, including over 300 CEOs and 550 HR managers.

Related articles
•Ineffective management ‘costs country £19bn’ (
•Half of UK bosses are “ineffective” (
•Skills shortages are chief concern for managers (
•’Half managers say bosses are ineffective’ says Chartered Management Institute (