Paul discusses the three waves of creating a value-added movement.
Whether you’re a small company or large, change will happen in waves.
There must be absolute buy-in at the highest level to become a value-added organization.
Look to your top supporters—your indirect leaders.
“When you’re reaching out to these top supporters, it is critical that they understand why you are making this change.”
Some folks aren’t going to buy into the movement.
“If the top supporters are buying into it, then people are going to follow suit. This is the typical effect.”
“When you see a value-added success, it’s important to share that with the team.”
People will remember the success stories.
“Make sure that you’re reinforcing the effort, not just the results.”
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How do I create a value-added movement?
(Transcribed from podcast)
Today, we’re going to talk about how to build a value-added movement within your organization. Oftentimes, when I’m working with a client, I’m working directly with their sales team on skills training, things like that. Later on, I’ll end up working with the management team on how to build and create that movement. Recently, I was talking to one of my clients, and we’re having a follow-up call, and the basic question was “Paul, all this, the value-added message, the training, everything has been great. What can I do as the sales leader to keep the momentum going? How can I continue to build this value-added movement?” So, that’s what we’re going to talk about on today’s show.
Before we do that, though, a quick shout-out to Andrea over at The Creative Impostor Studios. Again, if you need help starting a podcast, if you are interested in learning more about podcasting and all that— I know if it’s something that’s new to you, it might seem complex, it might seem like it would take a lot of time, but really, it’s— when you have the right partner like The Creative Impostor Studios, they make it happen. They make it easy for you. So reach out to them. There’s going to be a link to her website on this episode’s webpage. So check it out.
Also, in Value-Added Selling, actually, the very first chapter of the book is about building and sustaining a value-added movement. So pick up your latest copy, especially if you are a sales leader, sales manager, whatever. Hey, pick up a copy and we’ll have a lot of insight in there for you.
Let’s get back to that question: How do you build and sustain a movement within an organization? We’re going to have two parts here. The first part is going to be about starting the movement. And then, the second part is going to be about sustaining a movement. When you think about change throughout any organization, and whether you’re a salesperson or a sales leader, think of all the change that you’ve experienced throughout your career. What you will probably notice through any major change, it happens in waves. So, that’s what we’re going to think about today is, how do you actually start the movement and what waves will it happen in?
The first wave of change is going to happen with what we call the inner circle within an organization. Now, typically, this is going to be the higher-level decision makers, the higher-level folks within an organization that are the leaders of the organization. They’re going to decide as a group, “Hey, we are going to make this change. We are going to become a value-added organization.” And, just to give you some numbers to it, let’s say you have a 100-person organization. The inner circle is literally going to be the top two or three people within the organization.
Now, these individuals, again, they’re usually in a leadership-type position. At this level in the inner circle, there must be absolute buy-in in the change. For example, let’s say you’ve got the president of the company, the CFO and the VP of sales. Those are the three top leaders. They have to be in 100 percent agreement of the new direction of the company. And, if that means we need to be more value-added focused, that means that you’ve got to demonstrate that absolute commitment to the message. That’s the inner circle. In a hundred-person organization, it’s going to be the top two or three people within that organization. There must be absolute buy-in at this level, and not only in words, but in action. Okay? That’s the first wave.
Now, once the first wave of change will happen within that inner circle, that inner circle now has to look towards the top supporters—the top supporters. This is the second wave of change. In the second wave of change, you are looking for those individuals within an organization that are the indirect leaders. If you look at any team, if you look at any organization, there are going to be a handful of individuals that can help sway the rest of the group. And they do so by their actions. It could be due to the fact that everyone likes them. They respect them. They’re top performers. These indirect leaders can be your top supporters.
When you are reaching out to these top supporters, it is critical that they understand why you are making this change; that they understand the need for it. When you think about people and changing, people don’t necessarily mind change. What they don’t like is being changed and being told, “Hey, this is what we’re doing. You better get on board.” No, instead, you need to explain why. You need to get their feedback, incorporate them in the process, ask for their advice, ask for their thoughts. Draw them in. And by doing that, it’s going to help generate buy-in with this team. Again, this is that second wave. These are your top supporters. In a hundred-person organization, this is going to be 16 to 20 individuals. About 16-20 percent of the organization are what we call top supporters. And again, these top supporters, these are your indirect leaders. These could be senior salespeople, they could be strategic type sellers; they could be operations people. Whoever they might be, they are deemed indirect leaders, meaning people look up to them; they respect them. You have to recruit them as part of this movement.
Then we get to the third wave. The third wave is, more or less, everyone else. When you think about this third wave, it’s going to be about half the organization, let’s call it. So, in a hundred person organization, about 50 people, about 50 people are going to be the wave-three folks. Now wave-three individuals, they look towards the top supporters. They look at those indirect leaders as kind of their guide. They’re going to take some direction, obviously from the leadership team, but they’re also going to look at who else is buying into this besides the direct leaders of an organization. And, the top supporters who are well-respected and well-liked, if they’re buying into it, then people are going to follow suit. This is a typical bandwagon effect.
Again, when you think about this change, it’s going to happen in waves. That first wave is your inner circle. It’s going to be the top two or three people within a hundred-person organization.
Then you have your top supporters. This is going to be anywhere from 16 to 20 individuals. These individuals are those indirect leaders.
And then once they bought into it, the third group, that wave three, this is going to be a majority of the employees, about 50 people out of a, a hundred-person organization.
Now, you’ll notice there, that doesn’t add up to a hundred people exactly. And that’s because there’s the last group, the detractors, or individuals that are trying to take away from that movement. This is going to be the bottom 16 percent or so, or whatever it might be—16 to 20 people in a hundred-person organization. These individuals aren’t going to buy in; they’re not going to be part of the movement. And, what we have to ask ourselves is, do we want them part of the team? Can we convince them? Can we get them moving forward? And, maybe you can with some of them, but this is the group you have to be aware of because they’re the ones that are going to try to sabotage the movement. They’re going to actively disengage and try to encourage other people to do the same. So, we want to be aware of these individuals, who they are. Make sure that everyone’s aware of them, especially the leadership team, and then you have to decide what to do. That’s where you’ve got to make that choice.
That’s how you start the movement. Now let’s get into sustaining that actual movement. When you look at sustaining a movement—some things to remember: Number one, as you’re generating buy-in with individuals, it’s important that you take YES for an answer. When I say “take yes for an answer,” it means people have varying levels of commitment. If you have a detractor, someone who is not completely on board with this, but then all of a sudden they’re showing some sort of positive change, that is something you need to acknowledge. When you’re seeing positive change, that shows that the movement is sustainable. So again, take YES for an answer.
The next thing we need to do is celebrate successes. When you see successes, when you see a value-added success, it’s important to share that with the team. Once you have that success, you can’t keep it a secret. It has to be made aware to everyone. And that’s why when we’re working with sales organizations, one thing we’ll do is have salespeople fill out case-study success stories. These simple case-study success stories are, basically, guides for them to share with the rest of their organization: how they achieve success using value-added selling. And the reason we do this is, not only because it helps generate momentum and sustain that momentum that we’ve generated, but it also is a way to learn. We, as humans, adults especially, we learn from each other. We learn from each other’s successes. And if you can share those successes, people will remember that and they’ll try to apply it to their same situation, customers that they’re working with. So, celebrate those successes.
And also, make sure that you’re reinforcing the effort, not just the results. When we look at salespeople, when they’re trying something new, when they’re trying to become a value-added seller, when they are doing the right things, but the results are not there yet, don’t worry about it. Instead, what you need to do is reinforce the behavior initially. Reinforce the positive behaviors that you’re looking for. And the more you do that, it’s going to eventually lead to the desired results.
Just a quick recap: When you’re starting that movement, remember that it will happen in waves. We talked about the three different waves of the inner circle, the top supporters, and then the majority. Then, to sustain that movement, we need to take YES. We need to accept positive momentum in the right direction. Accept small acts, small wins along the way. We also want to celebrate successes. Anytime there’s a win, anytime we can showcase success that one salesperson has had, we want to do that. We want to shout it from the rooftops. We don’t want our successes to be a secret. And then, finally, reinforce the effort when you’re working with your team. Rather than just highlighting results, make sure you’re highlighting the right behavior as well.
Make sure you have a big day.