The Top Sales Resolution for 2014: Stop Being a Team Player and Get Selfish

Being the consummate team player earns you extra commitments and an over-stuffed calendar. Being selfishly productive earns you more business and better job performance. Best-selling author and sales consultant Mike Weinberg explains why everyone should think twice before stepping outside of their primary duties in 2014.

Everyone likes being a team player and helping out swamped colleagues, but it’s all to easy to get your helping hands tied to too many commitments that have little to do with what your job really entails.
“Top producers are some of the most selfish people I work with,” says Mike Weinberg, founder of The New Sales Coach and bestselling author of New Sales Simplified. They guard their calendar jealously and protect their selfish selling time because they know what they need to focus on to move the needle and drive results.” 
Weinberg recently sat down with OpenView (listen to the full interview here) to sound what he acknowledges may not be a popular message, but, as he plainly puts it, “it’s the truth.”

Being Too Much of a Team Player Can Hinder Productivity

Whether you’re CEO or a field rep, your time is valuable. Weinberg stresses that your work day needs to be spent focused on your primary role — not on meetings or tasks in which you’re only tangentially involved. “It is not uncommon for me to find an underperforming salesperson who is volunteering to help out the operations folks, or the program managers,” he says, “whether they’re jumping in to deal with onboarding a new client or jumping in their car and making a delivery to a customer.”
But therein lies a big problem, as the team-player mentality is one of the reasons why some salespeople miss their numbers. Selfless individuals may have the best intentions at heart, but the truth is they can put their entire organization at risk.

mike weinberg.headshot“I was standing in front of a room of 110 business development people at a company with 20,000 employees, and my core message was really simple. The other 19,890 employees, their livelihood depends on your success doing your primary job. And every time you get distracted from that, you think you’re helping, and you’re actually hurting the cause.”

— Mike Weinberg, The New Sales Coach

A Problem that Stretches from New Sales Reps to CEOs

Nobody in your organization is immune to this type of scope creep, Weinberg notes. In mid-size companies, he often sees the CEO playing administrator-in-chief, trying to coordinate schedules instead of focusing on the vision, direction, and pace of the organization.
Managers also get caught up in duties outside of their primary focus and can become the proverbial dumping ground.
“A sales manager will often end up trying to put out every fire, appease every customer, babysit high-maintenance salespeople, and allow others at the company to keep giving him work to do,” Weinberg says, “There’s a mentality that if it has anything to do with the customer, surely it’s the sales manager’s issue, right? Wrong.”

4 Steps to Being Selfishly Productive in 2014

With the problem clearly identified, Weinberg offers a four-step solution to help you be more selfishly productive this year:

  1. Realize that it’s okay to be selfish: Give yourself permission to say no to colleagues. You have to focus on your primary job, and that’s something they will completely understand.
  2. Take control of your calendar: “Time block and make appointments with yourself for things you need to work on,” Weinberg suggests. “Get those things in your calendar first so other people can’t fill it up for you.”
  3. Scrutinize your daily routine: Make sure to ask yourself throughout the day, “Is what I’m doing right now going to directly help my primary role?” If the answer is no, then you immediately have one item that you need to keep out of your schedule in the future.
  4. Don’t be afraid of asking for and leveraging help: Offload tasks that are keeping you from your primary duties. Clear your plate so that your calendar is dedicated to what you were hired to do. Help yourself and you’ll help your company.

How are you resolving to step up your game and improve your business this year? Let us know in the comments below.

Image by M.G. Kafkas

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