In business and sales, we think about adding value to people. If we add value to others, we will have a job and are valued ourselves. If we don’t add value, we get the chopping block.
When high achieving sales people make the leap into sales leadership, it’s no longer about adding value. It’s about multiplying value. Both are good, but only one truly makes you indispensable. It’s great you can do addition. But we are doing multiplication facts now.
As someone who went from a sketchy start in sales to being proficient to then breaking the top echelon to then getting into sales leadership and building top 1% teams, I get how hard it can be to put a stop to the “adding” value construct. This is a topic I lean into with my 1-on-1 clients, and those who are enrolled in my Leaderboard to Leadership course. I wanted to share a snip it of how we look at this to help people dramatically improve the impact they make when they think about the math differently.
Individual contributors add value. Some top performing sales people can add an immense amount of value to the bottom line. I’m blown away all the time by the belief barriers that are broken when a top performer yet again writes an incredible amount of business that seemed impossible only a short time ago. You start playing a different game, and do entirely different math, though, when you can duplicate your efforts. When you take a step back from adding value and doing it by yourself, you create a multiplying effect on the team and business that makes you indispensable. In essence, you subtract some of your sales time to multiply the results of the team.
When I was new to sales leadership – and when new sales people get into the first level of becoming a trainer – the mantra is, “lead from the front.” Lead by doing. People will follow your production. If you set the bar high, the team will know they can also achieve it. By living into your potential and living large, you inspire others to become bigger and expect more out of themselves. I took this messaging literally when I was new to sales leadership. I learned how to sell effectively and took pride in being the pacesetter for my teams. My sales were needed to achieve the team goals. I wanted to add value. I wanted to add value so much that sometimes I would find myself saying, “It’s so hard to teach others who get it…I’ll just go back to doing it myself…I know it’ll get done at least…”
But as anyone in sales leadership knows, there comes a point where you shouldn’t be the one that is the best sales person anymore. There has to be room for someone else to shine. Leading from the front in sales isn’t something that should be done permanently. You lead from the front until you’ve trained and inspired someone to take the lead in sales. By doing so, you multiply your value. You get out of the addition pile and move to the multiplying one.
You multiply your value when you subtract your individual contribution to the team and add in helping others grow.
Have you ever thought about this before? Have you ever looked at what the math really looks like – at first?
When you’re new to doing this, the math might look similar when you start.
2 + 2 =4.
2 x 2 =4.
They are the same result and impact, at first. This is why it’s hard to see the long-term picture. Based off of the initial results, there is a trap for a sales person (especially a talented one) to decide to double-down on their own sales to achieve the team’s results. But when you keep going, and doing the math, you can see why a multiplying mindset out-produces and additive one.
2 + 2 + 2 = 6
2 x 2 x 2 = 8
A little bit of an improvement, but is that extra result worth learning how to delegate? Is it really worth putting in the work to learn new skill sets of becoming an effective sales leader? Franklin Covey Institute says that 80% of your success as an individual contributor is tied to your technical skills. 80% of your success in leadership is attributed to your people skills. (This terrifying gap in skills and mindset is not addressed enough and is the entire basis of my coaching programs.) Completely different skill sets to learn. A ton of growth to go through, which is incredibly challenging and not in the normal comfort zone.
When new sales leaders look at this math and are faced with the frustration of learning these new skills, they are given two options:
- Go back to where they were confident and succeeded. They go back to adding value. This is where you find the “lifer” sales person. This is not a bad place to be – if they recognize why they are here.
- Lean into the uncomfortable growth and learn how to multiply value. Learn the new skills, initially subtract their personal production time from the team total, take that time to develop, and end up multiplying the bottom line.
2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 8
2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 16
At Rise Up Consulting, we dig into the traps and pivots that need to happen to get out of the addition trap. The mindset shifts that need to happen, the new policies that need to be put in effect so the lure of a possible sale doesn’t trump development time with team members.
If you intend to get into sales leadership and want to ride the promotion path to multiplying value, and want to get leveled up and skilled up to do so, reach out to me for more information about my sales leadership courses and coaching. Or if you have someone on your team you’d like to get out of the addition trap and move to the multiplying effect zone, I offer complimentary 1-on-1 sessions and 30 minute free group coaching presentations. Click on the link below to schedule a time to talk.
You can also check out other free resources, learn about the best-selling book Beyond the Board, or learn more about me here: risewithrebecca.com.