Beyond legendary baseball player Joe DiMaggio’s remarkable talent, his consistency (even on plays that had virtually no impact on a game’s outcome or on his team’s position in the standings) made him a transcendent figure and cultural icon. When asked why he gave such effort, he famously replied, “There’s always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time. I owe him my best.”
A typical sales leader in the home building industry might directly supervise 5% of their employees’ time. That means individuals are left to exercise leadership from within 95% of the time. What would your sales team be like if every employee took Joe DiMaggio’s level of personal ownership over every moment?
Follow these three steps to build a sales team of self-led Joe DiMaggios:
1) Ask yourself: What do my salespeople do and say when I’m not around?
As paranoid as this question may seem, it’s an important one and will give you insight into your team culture. Do your salespeople want to be at work and see every day as a challenge or do they clock in and clock out, just looking to pay their bills? Do they follow the rules without digging deeper into the spirit behind those rules?
For example, if there’s a minimum expectation that your salespeople contact buyers under contract each week, consider how they approach this call. If they’re looking at those calls as simply something to check off a list, they are wasting everyone’s time. Most likely, if you were in the room for each of those calls, your team members would be prepared with updates on the home and would treat the buyer with the reverence, respect, and attentiveness they did when they hadn’t yet signed the contract. If you have doubts that this is how they approach all their calls, they aren’t Joe DiMaggios—yet.
2) Work to instill ownership in your employees so they go beyond rules and have more meaningful and productive approaches.
In the example above, it’ll be a different story if employees see themselves as brand ambassadors who give the customer the best version of themselves every time. Coach your team members to a standard of excellence instead of managing to only minimum expectations.
In this case, you can lead them to see these touchpoints as opportunities to give the customer precisely what he or she wants in the home buying process: certainty, significance, variety, and connection. Coach them to do a self-assessment at the end of each call. They should ask themselves the following questions: Does the customer feel more confident that the house is going to be built on time and that the company is making it a priority to serve them? Do calls feel different every week, each one building on the last and not coming across as scripted? Did I do a good job connecting with customers and taking their concerns seriously? Does my customer look forward to my calls every week?
3. Embody brand ambassadorship.
If you want the salespeople you’re coaching to instill certainty, significance, variety, and connection in their customers, you can say the words, spend a couple of minutes coming up with a catchy mnemonic device to help everyone remember them, repeat them until they’re part of everyone’s vocabulary…or you can simply live them.
You won’t see your team members put their best effort into those few minutes they spend with each customer any given week unless you consistently put your best into the few minutes you have with them. The certainty, significance, variety, and connection their customers want and need from your salespeople are the very same things your salespeople want and need from you.
Want a team full of DiMaggios playing for you? Have a DiMaggio mindset yourself, and you’re likely to find a strong resemblance between what goes on behind your back and what happens right in front of your eyes.