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My wife and I have an on-going difference of opinion in regards to an aspect of parenting. I believe it’s my job as a father to encourage reasonable amounts of risk-oriented behavior in my three boys. My wife is wired more towards protection. So, recently when my son wanted to make some vinegar and baking soda pop bottle bombs, I, naturally, said yes! My wife merely gulped.

Many sales leaders are frustrated as their sales teams spend inordinate amounts of time on low risk behaviors. Low risk behaviors are service calls, check ins, many lunches, some entertainment ambassadorship calls, and donut calls.  I call them happy/happy calls. Everyone comes away happy nothing gets sold. All sales related clerical activities are low risk. Literature farming and proposal writing are low risk.  

High risk sales behavior is picking up the phone. It’s putting yourself in front of somebody that’s not in the market for your product or service. It’s having a meaningful conversation with a client about additional services, up selling/cross selling. It’s asking for a referral. It’s qualifying a prospect or client at a high level and asking tough, timely questions. It’s asking for commitment.

 Find out from your sales leaders which high risk behaviors are they expecting daily in their teams. Call out and be intolerant of the low risk behavior. Encourage and reward  the high risk behavior. Not executing on “high risk” behaviors consistently is risky itself for every sales organization.

- John Martin


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