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Different Year, Different You: Selling in 2017

This is the little-known story of how Albert Einstein changed sales performance forever*. And, though history may not be your thing, this story may help you strengthen your performance next year and beyond.

You have probably heard of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and how he defined insanity. What is not nearly as well known about Dr. Einstein is that he had a little brother named Bob. Bob sold time shares back in Germany and complained constantly about his goals, his customers and his performance, so much so that his friends started to call him “Whine-stein.”

One year, after Thanksgiving dinner, as Albert and Bob watched football on TV, Bob begged his big brother for help. Albert promised to study the problem and get back to him before the new selling year began.

Dr. Einstein put his other work on hold and devoted himself to the study of Bob’s sales performance. What he found was that Bob put in the same strong level of effort each year; however, his quota kept increasing, and the external environment kept changing. This was the source of Bob’s frustrations. Thus, Albert Einstein developed what he called “The Theory of Sales Agility.”

The Theory of Sales Agility

The theory of sales agility holds that:

For a salesperson to continue to make quota in a dynamic environment, he or she must continually evolve with these changes by committing to perfect one new aspect of client engagement per quarter – focusing on selling more effectively or efficiently.

Bob didn’t like the idea of changing, but he agreed to give it a shot because he believed in his brother, and because he had his eye on a new set of cutlery. Thanks to Albert’s fine work, Bob staged an amazing turnaround and stunned everyone by making his number the following year, and in all years following.

Based on the Theory of Sales Agility, Bob Einstein developed five tips for gearing up at year-end to strengthen his next year’s performance:

  1. Pick your spot: Choose one skill-based focus area per quarter – for example, agenda-setting, deeper questioning, closing, etc.
  2. Be specific: Define three or more actions you will take to drive change on the quarterly focus area.
  3. Set a benchmark: Identify how you will know that you moved the needle on your focus area.
  4. Seek help: Who will be willing to support you as you evolve your selling behaviours?
  5. Commit: Because research shows that new habits are formed over a period of 66 days, limit your focus to your one quarterly focus area and get after it.

In executing these five best practices, Bob transformed himself and forever shed the “Whine-stein” moniker. Bob became known from then on as “One-of-a-kind-stein.”

At this point in the year, your sales quota has been or will soon be set for next year. Will it be higher? Where are the big changes happening in your selling ecosystem?

How will you employ Albert Einstein’s Theory of Sales Agility and Bob Einstein’s five best practices above to stay relevant and continue driving sales performance next year?

*Except for the Theory of Relativity, the details above have never been proven.

About the Author

In addition to facilitating highly interactive Richardson workshops for sales and sales management professionals in a variety of industries, Michael is also a highly skilled Executive Sales Coach who utilizes the practical insights and strategies that he has gained throughout his career to help sales teams strengthen customer relationships, increase qualified opportunities, and grow revenue. Prior to joining Richardson, Michael spent more than 20 years with State Street Global Advisors. Under his leadership, assets under management for the business he managed grew from $8 billion to more than $100 billion. He built, developed, and managed a team of professionals covering sales, relationship management, and client support.

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