Have you ever had a project where you succeeded? Sure you have. So have I. Mine include starting a business, growing my business, staying fit, having a family, and buying a house.

Have you ever had a project where you didn’t succeed? Yes, I have, too. Mine include not developing a solid business niche, not losing weight, not networking regularly, and not staying in touch with out-of-town friends.

Recently I have learned a new way of looking at why we succeed or fail at certain goals or projects - whether they are business goals, sales goals or personal goals. The concept is called the Inside Team. We are heavily influenced by the voices we listen to from our Inside Team, that group of players who live inside our head and talk to us through our inner dialogue. These voices variously cheer us on, bring us down or get in our way.

You know the dialogue. You’re thinking about changing something in your life, say, launching a new business development push, or finding new ways of helping your sa1es team surpass their goals. Then the Inside Team chatter begins:

Voice One: "Well, what if I tried this? Yeah, that sounds like a blast!"
Voice Two:"Hold on, you don’t have the time or energy for that."
Voice Three: "I’ve got to try something – anything!"
Voice Four: "Maybe you should just give up. You’ll never get around to it and you know it."
Back to Voice One: "Yes, I will, I just need to find the right approach."

For every endeavour you wish to fulfill, for every issue with which you struggle, for every arena of your life, there is a corresponding Inside Team.

Here are a few members of my team who come to visit when I think of a new way to develop my business (with the appropriate names I have given them and their typical comments).

Faith, Not Fear: "It’ll work out. You’ve been around the block enough times to know that it will."

Rottenella: "Why bother trying? You’re a loser and you won’t succeed."

The Lone Ranger: "Take care of all the details yourself and do everything perfectly today."

The Turtle: "Whoa…slow it down. Slow and steady wins the race."

My job is to choose which voice to listen to, and when. By paying closer attention to the helpful and encouraging voices, and toning down the critical and fearful ones (they’ll never go away, and there is wisdom in each voice), I can clear the way to coming up with the best solution.

Here’s an exercise to try so you can start to identify some members of your own Inner Team and how they influence you. Think about a project you want to start or a goal you want to achieve. As you listen to your own thoughts you’ll notice a dialogue beginning to form in your mind.

Take a moment to listen to the messages you’re hearing and the differing values that are fighting for attention. These are the voices of your Inside Team as they debate about that project or goal.

What does this exercise have to do with managing/coaching sa1es people? If, as a sa1es coach, you can help your sa1es people identify their Inside Team players and access the wisdom of each voice, you help them make conscious choices about who they want to listen to, and who they want to send to the bench.

Here’s how to coach your sa1espeople using the Inside Team concept:

Ask each team member to identify a project with which he or she is struggling.

Introduce the Inside Team concept.

Ask about the struggle, with an ear to hearing different Inside Team members.

Help each individual identify 5 – 7 different players. You may have to begin by sharing your insights about the players you hear, and checking whether you are interpreting correctly. The person may or may not agree with your interpretation, and that’s fine. The point is to get the ball rolling.

During the discussion, here are some questions to ask each salesperson:

  • Who’s that talking?
  • What is she or he saying?
  • What’s important to this player?
  • What is he concerned about?
  • What does she think you are going to forget?
  • Have fun with this. The results, I promise you, will be profound.

    Author's Bio: 

    Nicki Weiss is an internationally recognized Certified professional coach, master trainer, and sales workshop leader. Through her company SalesWise brings to her work 25 years of experience with leaders and teams. Her sales training and sales coaching practice is designed for sales managers, sales directors & VPs who are ready to become great sa1es coaches in order to retain, develop, and motivate sales superstars.