TNU – They’re Not You

I was recently visiting with the HR director at a five-year old company that has experienced significant growth. They have a good product in an expanding market.

In the early days, it was the CEO who was doing most of the selling, and – like the CEO of every company who has early success – he was good at it.

But as the company grew, so did the list of CEO responsibilities. And he increasingly found himself torn between selling and fulfilling. It’s the sales-fulfillment teeter-totter that I’ve written about here before.

So they started hiring salespeople. Some did well and others have yet to achieve their quota in any time period that they’ve measured.

Sound familiar? It’s very common in the companies I work with. Give me a call and we can chat about your situation.

Taking over the sales role from a founder isn’t easy. You can never replace that perfect blend of passion, product knowledge and motivation.

I am constantly reminding the owner-operators I work with: TNU – They’re not you.

So, what can you do? How can you set up your first sales hire for success?

There are four things:

  1. Get the hiring process right. Seems obvious, but this is missed far too often. A young, growing company is not right for everyone. Make sure they match the culture you’re building and have the mindset of someone who can succeed in selling your service. Be honest if they’re walking into an undefined role that will be difficult for them.
  2. Don’t assume that just because they have sold something else, those skills will perfectly translate to what you’re selling. Make sure the sales process is documented and ready to execute.
  3. Be clear on expectations and then inspect what you expect. Having a job scorecard is critical. If they have to make 50 calls per week to be successful, put that on their KPI dashboard and look at it weekly.
  4. Don’t expect perfection. Again. TNU. They’ll never sell at your level. Shoot for 80% as good, then coach and develop them so they can continue to improve.

That’s some of what we do in the fourth step of our 4D Transformation Method. Watch this video to learn more:

Can I help you be successful in sales as you continue to grow? Reach out and let me know. Just take our short assessment and then book a strategy call with me.

And always remember. TNU.

“Early on, my culture was rock solid.”

That was what this former CEO said when I shared my 4D Transformation Method with him recently.

“Up until we had about 35 people,” he said, “everyone was on the same page. I never had to let anyone go because the few times we didn’t hire the right person, the culture quickly pushed them out when it became clear they weren’t a fit.”

But the rapid growth that followed the early success led to the need for more people, which led to hastier hiring decisions and team members who weren’t aligned with the company values.

To make matters worse, as a company grows, the newest people are typically the furthest removed from the leadership and have the least opportunity to soak in the founding culture.

Because this owner operator never took the time to document their culture and didn’t have a plan to maintain it, they lost the thing that most directly contributed to their success.

Then, a market downturn came, things unraveled quickly, and the company didn’t survive.

I could hear the remorse in this former CEO as he talked about his business. “We had such a good thing,” he said. “The market had never seen anything like it.”

It didn’t have to be that way. That’s what my 4D Transformation Method is designed to address. Culture is the first of the four phases and I talk more about it in this video:

If you’re operating a growing business and feel like your culture isn’t what it used to be, don’t wait too long like this CEO did.

The first step is easy. Just take my assessment to see if we can help you define your culture and get your business growing from the inside out. At the end of the assessment, you’ll have the opportunity to book a video call with me to learn the next steps. Steps that – if you take them – will get you growing from the inside out.

Who am I? Why am I here?

It’s that line, spoken in the 1992 Vice Presidential Debate, that made Admiral James Stockdale, famous. But it’s an obvious question. What am I planning to do here on this site? Why start a blog in 2020. I thought those were so 2002?

Nathan Schock preparing to teach Sunday School
Nathan preparing to teach Sunday School

If you know me, you know that I’m a life-long learner. In fact, that’s an understatement. I’m President & COO of FiveFour, a training company where I’m constantly learning, teaching and creating training content for the development of our many clients.

But learning is more than just my occupation. It’s part of my faith (the picture here is of me preparing to teach Sunday school) and my hobby. I also read novels at night in an (often futile) attempt to settle my brain for sleep.

For the past seven years, I’ve read at least a book a week. Two years ago, I increased that to two books per week and last year it was three. If you want to know what I’m reading, check my out on Goodreads.

Those books, along with the many articles and podcasts I consume on a regular basis, and the things I learn running two companies, will form the cornerstone of the content I post here. If you love to learn, you’ve come to the right place. I hope you’ll hang out for a while. And come back.