February 14, 2011

When Stalingrad is burning – give them hope

Do you remember the movie, Enemy at the Gate about the Stalingrad siege? The lesson I got from the movie is that we should offer people hope. Since my game is marketing and sales training, I would say we should offer our sales people hope.

When Stalingrad is burningIn the movie, every dissenting voice is punished and every failure is punished by death. This is not a great recipe for success to save Stalingrad, is it? Things start turning around for the besieged people of Stalingrad when a political officer named Danilov (Joseph Fiennes) says to Krushev (Bob Hoskins), “Give them hope”. He then turns a brilliant sniper, Vassili Zaitsev into a hero through a massive public relations effort. Through this PR effort and of course Vassili’s own brilliant aim – the German occupiers are soon shaking in their boots and the Stalingraders are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and galvanising themselves for a famous victory.

Let’s be honest, sometime our sales teams feel as if they’re beseiged and fighting pitched battles wherever they turn. If things aren’t going our way the first person we execute is the sales manager and then the second to be sent to his grave is the one with the worst figures on the board.

Perhaps its time to do things differently. Let’s find a hero in our sales team and start believing again. Remember, if our hero can sell like crazy … with the right ingredients and motivation, so can our worst performing sales person.

Sit with the hero and find out what she’s doing right. All you then have to do is document her winning traits, document it and pass it on to the rest of the team so that they can model those traits and also win.

So, before reaching for your AK47, find yourself a hero in your organisation and feed off her success.

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