Aaron Sansoni

When to Fire Underperformers - Aaron Sansoni

When To Fire Underperformers

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If you’ve ever managed any type of metric-driven team, then you are aware that there will be performance rockstars and there will be performance duds. The rockstars are easier to handle. They do their job and they do it well. The underperformers, however, tend to be trickier. How do you know when to invest company time, energy, and money in their improvement and when to cut your losses and let them go? Fortunately, there is an easy way to make this decision by asking yourself one simple question:

Is this a skill problem, or is it a will problem?

Skill Problems

Skill problems are markedly straightforward. There is some aspect of the employees performance that can be corrected by addressing a lack of knowledge or know-how. If your underperformer has the potential to do their job given the right amount of time or education, then they are certainly worth keeping. It’s when they don’t want to do their job that a critical issue arises.

Will Problems

Will problems are difficult. They occur when an employee lacks the drive or ambition to perform in their role. They may have all of the right skills and qualities that a rockstar performer does but if they aren’t willing to put in the work, or don’t see the value in doing so, then they will never add value to your team. If you determine that an employee is underperforming because of will problem, then it’s time to let them go.

The Termination Conversation

It’s important to approach a termination conversation in a strategic manner. It’s not enough to sit the employee down and say “You’re fired.” It’s not practical to engage them in a lengthy conversation that establishes you as a friend. Both options position you as a foe in the long run. If you find yourself in a situation that requires the termination of a team member, it’s best to conduct the conversation by acknowledging your failure.

Realistically, if you haven’t provided a team member with the drive, motivation, or inspiration to perform in their role then you have failed them. You’ve hired them incorrectly and you’ve managed them incorrectly. By accepting the blame at the start of the conversation, you’re automatically relieving some of the tension that automatically bubbles up when an employee is about to be fired. Do not dwell on their failures. It only draws out what should be a short, frank conversation. Merely inform the employee that you’ve failed at giving them what they need and, as a result, they have been unable to meet your company needs. Thus it’s time to part ways.

Addressing underperformance in this manner will eliminate some of the decision-making stress that so often comes with tough calls. Determine whether your employee can do the job, and whether they want to do the job…and then proceed accordingly.

Aaron Sansoni - Telemarketing Header

How NOT To Telemarket

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Sales is a broad field. There are numerous different job opportunities in several different aspects of sales, and none of them are so universally hated as telemarketing. The field of telemarketing tends to elicit a negative reaction from anyone who has ever spent countless minutes on a phone being “sold” by someone with a script and an earpiece. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, that’s the wrong way to do telemarketing.

If your business uses telemarketing as a sales tactic, then it’s imperative that you understand the behavioral process causing your potential customers to shut down as soon as they realize who is on the other end of the line. Here’s what most telemarketers are doing wrong.

They Ask For Value Up Front

The last thing a consumer wants to hear when they answer the phone is an immediate request for something that they may or may not have. Most telemarketers begin their conversations by asking for time or answers. This immediately sends the consumer into a wary state. It also puts them in a position to decline. They know they’re being sold and they haven’t been given any incentive to offer their valuable time or conversation to your team.

They Sell Themselves

A lot of telemarketers do not understand the difference between selling a product, selling a personality, or offering value. If they’ve received any type of affirmation or consent from the potential client in step one, they immediately jump into their sales pitch. Tactics here will vary from team to team, but the concept is universal. The salesperson feels like he or she is on borrowed time, so they attempt to cram as much information into a brief period as possible. Facts like product details and deadlines take precedence over value. Don’t get me wrong, occasionally one of those facts or figures will solve a problem the potential client has been facing. But the odds of that happening are significantly less if the seller hasn’t taken the time to understand the needs of the consumer. 

They Ask To Give The Value in Exchange For Money

The third and final step in most telemarketing calls is the request for funds. The marketer delivers their scripted lines and proceeds straight to the second commitment request of the conversation— money. The potential client, having already given their time or answers, is now being asked to give yet again before the telemarketer gives them any real value in return. You can understand how this might be a problematic process.

Fortunately for sales teams around the world, telemarketing does not have to follow this precarious path. It stands to reason that if there’s a wrong way to do it, then surely there must be a right way. I can teach you the correct way to leverage telemarketing as a valid way to recruit customers to your sales funnel. For more information visit AaronSansoni.com and click BootCamp.

What You Think You Do | Aaron Sansoni

What You Think You Do vs. What You Actually Do

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Today, the nature of a business can change in an alarmingly quick instant. Innovation, technology, and connectivity have the potential to turn any industry on its head in a heartbeat. That is why it’s absolutely critical that modern business owners truly understand the purpose of their company. They must determine the difference between what it is they think they do, and what it is they actually do.

Many of you are probably asking yourself what the difference is. That’s normal. We have a tendency to think only in terms of what we accomplish short-term and the direct impact it has on our own business. A company that produces energy drinks, for example, might say that what they do is manufacture and sell highly-caffeinated beverages for profit. While this isn’t inaccurate, it also isn’t enough to prevent the company from failing as they fall victim to an unexpected 21st-century invention.

Instead, the company should think in terms of their greater purpose:

  • Who purchases the energy drinks?
  • What do they hope to accomplish by purchasing them?
  • How can the company help their clients accomplish this in the best possible way?

By focusing on the larger goal behind the current product, business owners are better able to invest in the things that will help the company maintain relevance in the future.

Returning to our example above, let’s say that college students purchase the energy drinks in order to study more material, and new parents purchase the drinks to stay awake long enough to check off everything on their to-do lists. It would be safe to say that what the company actually does is help people find additional time to handle life’s challenges. With this knowledge, the company owner can invest in new research or technology that also aids in “finding additional time” for life.

It’s important to remember that merely identifying what you actually do is not enough to prevent your brand from becoming obsolete over time. You need to ensure that you’re communicating your greater purpose to consumers and investors alike. Marketing campaigns should evoke the emotions felt by your target audience when you’ve accomplished your greater purpose, regardless of what method was used to accomplish it. This will effectively allow your company to explore new product avenues while maintaining the public perception of your brand and increasing opportunities for growth over time.

Aaron Sansoni - Live By Design and Not Default

Live By Design. Not Default.

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I spend a lot of time discussing business tactics and leadership skills, but it all means nothing if my audience hasn’t made the conscious decision to show up, pay attention, and accept the fact that this could be the life-changing catalyst they’ve been waiting for. If there’s one thing that I want people to take away from my seminars and classes it’s that there are two ways to go about life: default and design.

When you live by default, you aren’t actually living at all. You’re merely going through the motions. People that live by default wake up every single day and let life happen to them. They do whatever it is they do because they have to, or because that’s the way they’ve always done it. Most don’t actively recognize what is going on. They just react and, one day, they will wake up from a life on autopilot and it’ll be too late to go back and change things.

Conversely, when you live by design, you are taking an active role in your life. You meet mornings with important questions like “What do I want to accomplish today?” and “How do I want to be as a leader/employee/parent?” They choose to prioritize their actions, placing significance on the ones that better align with who they want to be.

To achieve your goals and reach an entirely new level of happiness, you must live by design and not default.

Now, let’s go one step further and relate the concepts of design and default back to your business. If you’re looking at a graph of company profitability, it should not look like a roller coaster at an amusement park. There should be no major ebbs and flows. There may be fluctuations, but they should appear minor in comparison to the scope of your graph. To put it simply, you should not make $100,000.00 one month and $0.00 the next. That is the result of default— reacting to individual situations as they come without any concept of your goals or processes. Business is happening to you. You’re not happening to the business.

When you approach your business by design, you have the capability to troubleshoot key areas contributing to the major fluctuations in profitability. You can step back and analyze your funnel, determine the area with the biggest bleed, and begin the process of correcting it. Clearly define what you’d like to accomplish in relation to that sales funnel, and then act in a way that is conducive to accomplishing that task. Once you’ve succeeded, you’ll be able to re-evaluate your process and set out to improve the second biggest bleed. With time and concentrated effort, you should be able to decrease those ebbs and flows and you’ll have done it by design, not default.

I’ll leave you with one last thought about design and default. I know it is sometimes difficult to think or behave a certain way when our brains are biologically programmed to resist. They are meant to be a survival mechanism and, when you get down to it, surviving is not the same as thriving. We need to trick or trigger the brain to agree with our goals. The best way to do this is by leading with your body.

If you don’t want to get out of bed, do pushups. If you are having trouble paying attention to a lecture, lean forward in your seat and make eye contact with the speaker. Your body will understand your intent and communicate the message to your brain.  Lead with your body and your mind will follow. The same holds true with design and default. Live by design and you’ll be amazed and what follows.

Aaron Sansoni - Profit Purpose Passion Blog Header

Profit. Purpose. Passion

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The world is full of people working jobs that they neither like nor consider valuable. They work them because they feel that they need to, or that they are stuck in a field chosen when they were young. Sadly, many of these people feel no connection or sense of enjoyment at work— almost as if they are living a lie. It is my goal to help them find their truth.

In order to live your truth, you need to understand three basic concepts: profit, purpose, and passion. Each of these items is important is important in its own right, but together they create a unified sense of mastery over your profession. 

Defining profit, purpose, and passion.

Profit – This is term is relatively self-explanatory. It’s what makes you money. If something is bringing in cash or supporting you financially, then it’s profitable.

Purpose – The term purpose has several different meanings in everyday life but, in this case, it refers to what you are good at. If you are naturally good at something, if you feel like you were born to do it because you’re that good at it, then that is your purpose.

Passion – Your passion is what you love. It is the the thing that makes you happy. I don’t mean your children or your husband. Your passion is something that you do that brings you joy.

Practical Applications

Now, a lot of people get by in life by choosing one or combining two of these things and calling it a day. Those people aren’t living their truth. They are merely surviving. Here’s why.

  • If you are good at what you do and you make money doing it, but it isn’t what you love, then you’re bored. If you combine purpose and profit but not passion, you get boredom.
  • If you are good at what you do and you absolutely love doing it, but it doesn’t make you any money, then you’re broke. You cannot sustain yourself on purpose and passion alone.
  • If you make money doing what you love, but you aren’t necessarily good at it, then doing that thing becomes more difficult. You might start to feel like you’re missing out on your greater purpose

It is only when we can combine passion and purpose and profit that we are able to realize our truth. When all three of these concepts align in your day, in your life, or in your business, you will be happier than you have ever been. You will be living your truth!

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It’s All In How You Say Hello

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In today’s climate of ubiquitous technology and to-the-minute updates, if you can’t catch someone’s attention immediately then odds are you won’t catch it at all. Now more than ever it is critical to ensure that your elevator pitch is quick, to the point, and, above all, effective. So how do you do that? The answer, believe it or not, is in your hello.

Think about your last interaction with a new acquaintance. What was your introduction like? Was it generic? Cliche? Mind-numbingly boring? Was the other person’s the same? Failure to engage right away is one of the primary reasons we fail to engage later on…when it matters most.

Now, think about the last time you attended a concert. How did you feel when the band came on stage? Did the lights go down? Were there fog machines? Did they greet you with an ear-splitting yell and a few well-timed guitar chords? More than likely, they made sure that you were on the edge of your seat, earnestly anticipating which of your favorite songs they were going to play first. This is the kind of impression you need to leave with potential clients, investors, and partners. You need to wow them.

I know what you’re thinking: “Aaron, I can’t exactly smash a guitar underneath a perfectly-placed spotlight every time I meet someone new,” and that’s true. What you can do, however, is use that 15-second window (yes, that’s all you get) to create a lasting imprint in the mind of the other person. Here’s how.

Be Genuine
Most people are capable of telling when someone is putting on a show. It sounds scripted, and the sentiment commonly found in authentic statements is severely lacking. You need to believe the words you speak just as much as you want the other person to believe them.

Be Humble
There’s no need to boast if you truly believe in the message you are sending. Peacocking has a terrible tendency to cause listeners to tune out as they choose to focus on your ego instead. You can tell them what you’ve accomplished, but do it in a way that makes you seem grateful.

Show them why it matters
It’s no longer to be matter-of-fact with your abilities. I-statements are great, but they’re not effective when it comes to captivating an already distracted audience. Rephrase your abilities as skills that benefit others. I wouldn’t say “I teach business and sales strategy to entrepreneurs,” for example. Instead, I’d say “I’m grateful to have helped more than 300,000 individuals worldwide reach their business goals and excel in their sales ventures.”

If your hello speech incorporates each of the above elements and meets the other requirements I outline in my Sales Mastery course, you not only have a better chance at winning the attention of your conversational partner but also keeping it.

Aaron Sansoni - How To Manage Rockstar Employees

How To Manage Rockstar Employees

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Having a team full of rockstars is a fantastic feeling. They do their work and they do it well, leaving you free to deal with issues better-suited to your leadership role. But what happens when your rockstars performers expect star treatment?

While it may be tempting to give your top-grade employees whatever they want to keep them happy, it’s actually quite detrimental to your company. Special treatment could cause other employees to feel resentment…something you don’t want if you’re struggling to keep them motivated in their first place. So, your best bet is to effectively manage your rockstar. Luckily, there are a few tactics you can employ to ensure you’re getting to most out of both parties.

Do Not Reinforce Bad Behavior
Rockstars often believe that they are exempt from several rules because of their value to you and the company. They may show up late, take longer lunches, or skirt corners. This is unacceptable. Hold them to the same standards as the rest of the team.

Do Not Make Exceptions In Front Of The Team
Similarly, top-performers are more likely to ask for favors or exceptions after exceeding a large goal or exhibiting an above-average performance. While it is acceptable to reward positive behavior in front of the other team members, it is never okay to grant these requests in public. In fact, I’d strongly recommend not granting them at all but every situation is different and you’ll need to evaluate on a case-by-case basis. Just be sure to evaluate and respond in private.

Build a 1-on-1 Relationship
You want to create a certain level of respect between you and your rockstar employees to keep them both motivated and engaged. Building a strong relationship is the first step in establishing that respect. It’s not enough to acknowledge their wins in public. You need to take the time to have meaningful conversations in a 1-on-1 environment. It doesn’t have to be daily, but it should be regularly.

Use Them For Training
Unfortunately, the reality of over-performing employees is that they are likely to leave you eventually. Their strong track record makes them ideal candidates for bigger, better positions. This means it is imperative that you get use them to improve the performance and knowledge-base of other team members. Ask if they’re willing to be a mentor or let others shadow their day-to-day activities. Every rockstar you employ should be training the next rockstar in preparation for their inevitable departure.

These are just a few of the tactics you can use to manage your top-level performers on a daily basis. What’s most important is that you set the standard at the start. Find out how to set and maintain standards, as well as how to effectively employ other team management strategies, in my Sales Leadership Mastery course.

Aaron Sansoni - Find The Why Behind your goals

Have You Found The Why Behind Your Goals?

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People come to me all the time and say, “Aaron I need to improve my sales. I need to make more money!”They are certain that they need additional revenue to achieve their goals, but do you know what? Most of them don’t even know what their goals are.

They don’t know their why. In fact, their why is almost always something like “successful businesses bring in a lot of money.” Which is true! But why do they care?

If you are going to succeed in sales, and then by consequence succeed in business, you absolutely need a reason to want to succeed. You need a goal. Actually, you need several goals. If you are going to succeed you need to nail down all of the reasons you don’t want to fail. All of them. And then you need to be certain about them.

Uncertainty in your desire to achieve your own goals can only lead to negative consequences in the future. Any time you face a setback you run the risk of deciding that pushing forward is not worth the effort. You run the risk of turning your setback into a failure. It’s that certainty that is going to propel you forward when things get tough. You don’t just think you’d like to earn more money so you can send your children to a better school. You know that you want to send them to a better school. It’s one of your whys.

So how do you go about defining your whys? It’s actually easier than you think. First, separate your thoughts into two categories: big whys and little whys. Tackle them one at a time. For each category all you need to do is ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you want?
  • Why are you here?
  • Are you sure?

It’s that simple as long as you are honest and specific in the way you answer the questions. Don’t just say you want to pay off your mortgage. Think about when you want to pay it off. This year? In five years? What happens when you pay it off? Take enough time to clearly define your “whats” and they will lead you to your why.

One final note. It is imperative that you don’t skip that last question. It’s perhaps the toughest of the three to answer but it is the one that will drive your certainty going forward. When you come to me and you say, “Aaron I need to improve my sales. I need to make more money” and I ask you why…it’s this question that enables you to answer me without hesitation. Without uncertainty. It’s the cement behind your why.

Aaron Sansoni - Leadership Styles

Leadership Styles Spotlight

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Everyone is different, so it stands to reason there should be endless different leadership styles as well. That’s actually not true. In my opinion you can break down each and every leader into one of six distinct categories.

In my course Sales Leadership Mastery I describe each of these leadership styles in depth and provide you with the tools you need to identify them in yourself and in your life. I know we’re all busy, so I wanted to give you a brief working profile. I’ve broken the leadership styles down in snapshot format for easy reference.

Leadership style no 1: Alpha Leader

Mindset: I am the boss, and I am in charge.

Description: Alpha Leaders often have extremely clear action plans. There is usually only one right way to do something in the eyes of an Alpha Leader. They’ll tell you what it is, how to do it, and then make sure it’s done.

Leadership style no 2: Facilitator

Mindset: I’m not managing, I’m just helping you figure it out.

Description: Facilitators are often conflict resolvers and perform well in customer-facing situations. They are usually customer-centric in their strategies and attitudes.

Leadership style no 3: Chaos Conductor

Mindset: I’ve got this all under control even though you can’t tell.

Description: Chaos Conductors are usually fast-paced. They excel at keeping multiple balls in the air by allowing their team to do their job freely. They do not micromanage. Chais Conductor offices tend to look disheveled or unkempt.

Leadership style no 4: Visionary

Mindset: I’ve found something else for us to try.

Description: Visionaries contribute new ideas and new processes regularly. They love to change the status quo just to see if something else will work. Delegation is a strength of theirs, and the often use it to juggle their many ideas.

 

Leadership style no 5: Sprinter

Mindset: I just did it. Now you should too.

Description: Sprinters need to have extremely motivated teams to keep up with them. They fly through tasks and processes quickly and expect others to keep up. Often they end up performing tasks themselves if they find their teammates to be too inefficient for their liking.

Leadership style no 6: Silent Leader

Mindset: Watch me. I’ll show you.

Description: Silent Leaders are very powerful in their effectiveness. They attract followers simply by conducting business and achieving results the way they usually would on their own. They are neither at one end of the spectrum or the other. They simply do what they came to do, let others see them do it, and move on.

Entrepreneur Traits | Aaron Sansoni

The One Trait Most Entrepreneurs Need…But Lack!

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Ask any entrepreneur to describe themselves, and odds are you will hear a wide variety of answers. Driven. Passionate. Responsible. Adaptable. However you probably won’t hear one really important trait entrepreneurs need.

All of these are excellent descriptive terms, worthy of successful entrepreneurs across all facets of the business world. And yet, something is missing. There is one word you probably won’t hear, but should. A single, key trait that can mean the difference between immense success and imminent failure. That key trait is naivete, and it can often be found in first-stage stories of entrepreneurs everywhere.

One trait entrepreneurs need, but don’t always have

Naivete does not refer to a “lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment,” as Google Dictionary defines it, but merely a tendency to see slightly less than the entire picture.

It is this blatant naivete that helps release entrepreneurs from their real world shackles and chains, giving them the time and ability to dwell a little longer in their own headspace where anything is possible. No obstacle is insurmountable. No detail too minuscule. In a naive mind, each and every aspect of a business venture is, at the very least, achievable, as long as you put in the effort.

“The true entrepreneur (or the true intrapreneur, for that matter) is almost always characterized by an inability to see negatives, a certain blindness to obstacles, a disregard for barriers,” says Forbes Contributor Henry Doss.

Sometimes it means neglecting to ascertain the full scope of sheer work required to accomplish a particular goal. Other times it might mean operating without acknowledging the negative voices. In both cases, naivete suppresses a few small parts of an otherwise overwhelming picture, thus making it seem more attainable.

Naivite on the entrepreneurial journey

It is important to note that naivete does not necessarily require unrealistic expectations or disconcerting amounts of optimism. In fact, many entrepreneurs are acutely aware that their journey will not be easy. Some even experience work-related meltdowns once they fully comprehend the epicness of their inevitable to-do lists. But, it is blissful naivete that coaxes them to persist. It is the reason they can keep on going.

A naive entrepreneur cannot quit for the simple reason that, in their mind, they cannot fail.

Aaron Sansoni, the new breed of selling superstar, is an international speaker, best-selling author and recent nominee for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 & Australian of the Year 2017