#46: Listen as Drew Bickers, Vice President of Sales at NCC Group, speaks on his mission to develop sales managers into sales leaders. We discuss what it takes to be a good mentor, turning failure into strength, and how his passion for coaching has impacted his career.
Listen to the episode by clicking play below OR search “the sales lift” wherever you get podcasts.
Don’t feel like listening? Read the Episode Cliff Notes instead below:
Setting Up For Leadership Success (:49)
Many employees who are really successful in that entry-level or individual contributor role often have never been in a leadership or a coaching role themselves.
There’s this assumption that they’re just going to be great and flawless at the new position because they did really good at their entry-level role. If the employee fails or screws up because they’re not sure what they’re doing, it will be a tremendous hit to the organization.
Upper management must provide adequate coaching to set up the employee for success. This means performing daily or weekly check-ins.
Drew explains that not everyone responds the same way, so adapting your coaching strategy to tailor it to who you’re mentoring is key. This comes through asking the right questions.
Finding Accountability (7:00)
When working with a new manager, assume they’re going to get it wrong at some point and fail. Going in with an idea of how to deal with those inevitable failures will help make it a lesser blow.
Emotional connection is what gets you the honest answers you need as a coach, and you’re going to give the honest responses. A lot of managers forget to be vulnerable with their staff and with their teams.
So many people in sales try to be clever and Drew advises against that because everybody is already doing it. We’re trying to eliminate the misconception that all salespeople care about making the sale and not the client.
Importance of Understanding Failure (12:28)
When interviewing for a new role, Drew likes to ask about the interviewer’s greatest failures. Anyone who says they’ve never failed is either lying or misunderstanding.
In that situation, it’s about reframing the question. Failure can be anything- big or small, personal or professional.
Drew wants the people he’s hiring to have an understanding and awareness of their failures. As a hiring manager, Drew also doesn’t try to be clever in his questioning.
He wants the process to be as inviting as possible to open the door to honest answers. One way to do that is for the interview to talk about their own failures.
Asking For Help (14:17)
When Drew first started out, he did not automatically get the guidance he needed to perform well. After making several mistakes, he sought out help from upper management to see if they could find someone to learn from.
This move was critical to finding the right questions to ask and an overall strategy that worked best to optimally perform in his role.
It’s also what fueled his passion to coach others because he knows that they might not be getting the guidance they need first-hand.
Just know you’re going to fail at something, and if you’re a leader, you may not be leading your sales coaches the right way. Open up to that level of vulnerability so that you can have a fluid up and down conversation that puts you into a better space.
Drew hosts the videoblog and podcast Culture_Bust which is a series of topics around bettering business life.