Mindfulness, compassion, competition and joy are the four core values upon which Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors, has built the team that has achieved unprecedented success over the past three years, including winning two NBA championships.
This team, which is widely considered to be one of the greatest teams ever, is notable for playing a brand of basketball that is remarkable for its teamwork, selflessness, ruthless efficiency and flat out exuberance.
The temptation is to chalk this success up to the collective talent of the players. Or their process. Or their devotion to modern analytics and film study. All of which they value.
However, Kerr and his players believe that their team's success, and compulsively watchable style of play, is largely a factor of the degree to which they all have embraced and bought into the culture defined by Kerr's four core values: mindfulness, compassion, competition and joy.
Let’s take a second and think about how we could incorporate these values into our sales cultures to transform our sales results. It would make quite a change from the excessive focus on sales process, and "what have you done for me lately" sales cultures traditionally favored by too many sales leaders.
Let’s take a quick look at how Kerr’s four values apply to sales.
It’s first and foremost about being human. It’s about becoming more invested in the human skills that enable us to build enduring trust-based relationships in life and in sales. It’s about being curious. It’s about being emotionally present for the customer. It’s about eliminating distractions and being completely focused on the buyer.
Selling is all about competition. First, we have to love battling tooth and nail with competitors, and our buyers’ inertia, for the right to serve our customers. Also, in many ways, selling is a competition against ourselves. Think about it for a second. For most people, selling is not a natural act. Therefore, every day we have to compete against our instincts, as well as the fears that cause us to shrink from doing the hard, but necessary, things like picking up the phone and calling a prospect.
Compassion starts with empathy for our customers. This is the ability to put ourselves in their shoes and examine their questions, problems and goals from their point of view. It also requires that we have empathy for our buyers and our colleagues. What are they struggling with and how could they use our help? How can we help them meet their goals?
Joy is fun. Actually, it’s one step above fun. Joy is what happens when we are in total command of our relationships, processes, products and customers. Joy is the pleasure that comes from the confidence, competence and purpose we display in how we help our buyers, as well as the other important people in our lives, achieve their goals.
It’s up to sales managers to cultivate these values in their team. It starts with modeling these behaviors for our salespeople. Are we completely present and distraction free when we meet with a sales rep for coaching? Have we invested the time to really understand the individuals on our team, their goals and aspirations? And, do we give our people the freedom to express themselves, to let them decide how to most effectively utilize their skills to best serve our customers?
As Steve Kerr said, "A lot of teams have talent, and obviously we have great talent. But when that talent is committed to the greater good and to each other and they actually genuinely care about each other and enjoy each other, that takes you over the top."
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Andy teaches sellers how to maximize the value and impact of the human element of selling. His top-rated podcast, Accelerate! with Andy Paul, is the go-to resource for sales leaders. Accelerate! is #7 on Inc.’s list of the 12 top leadership podcasts. Andy is also the author of two best-selling books Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers To Make Fast, Favorable Decisions. and Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps to Accelerate Every Company’s. Visit www.andypaul.com, follow him on Twitter (@realAndyPaul), or email Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org.