Do you have a sales culture that smiles?


The shirt pictured here is almost 10 years old. I found it while I was moving some old things from my parent's house to my house...and it still brings a smile to my face every time I read it. In Q4, especially December, at CEB, everyone on the sales team was around the office trying to hit quarterly, half-yearly, and yearly goals. Tension was insanely high and people were putting in 10-, 12-, 14-hour days. It was my first year of road sales at CEB, so I was even more nervous than most...and nervousness led me (among everyone) to say some pretty odd things.

Instead of letting this tension overwhelm us, two of our sales leaders had the great idea to take every dumb thing we said, put them on post-it notes, and stick them on one of their offices. By the end of Q4, the entire front office wall was COVERED in sticky notes...and they were great for a smile every time you walked past that office door. And, the funny thing was, the more my name went on that wall, the more relaxed I became, the more business I closed that Q4...and, ultimately, I hit my goal.

Now, I know most of my success was due to the training I received, the help I received, and the support I received...but I also know that it wouldn't have been possible without that crazy and hilarious wall. It relaxed me and it showed me that even the most experienced reps would make mistakes. On our team, at the time of most tension, we created a culture that smiled...and we were successful.

That was in a boiler room sales environment for an executive best practice research company. If we could pull if off there, you should be able to pull it off selling one of the most positive products on the planet...sports tickets. We have a great product that people love and want to be a part of...yet sometimes we treat it like we're selling catheters to old age homes with our financial security on the line. We sell a product that smiles...we need to create a culture that smiles to go alongside it.

Do team happy hours. Do team dinners. Have a funny quote board. Have odd dress up days. Do improv comedy as part of your training. Constantly celebrate success stories. Play games. Do these things daily. Do these things weekly. Do these things monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, and yearly.

The more positive and smiling your culture is, the more it will put your reps at ease, the more it will reflect to your clients, the more tickets you will sell...regardless of team record, weather, stadium, or whatever other bullshit excuse you can think of. Happy sales teams create solutions. Angry sales teams find reasons to lose. Have a sales culture that smiles.


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