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What Platypuses can Teach Sales Leaders

Sales leaders: You should create a team of duckbill platypuses.

Now, I know that sounds like a stretch, but bear with me here... The Duckbill Platypus is an unusual animal. There is nothing else in the world like it. It has the best features of various animals and uses them to thrive in its unusual environment. A platypus is a semiaquatic egg-laying mammal with a duck's bill and webbed feet with venomous spurs. It finds its food by sending electric currents through the water. It swims using a beaver's tail. Each of those attributes plays a role in a platypus's ability to survive in - and around - the lakes, streams, and rivers of eastern Australia.

If you get a salesperson who's at the top of their game talking, they will tell you that they didn't make it on their own. Throughout their careers, they had mentors who helped them get where they are today.

  • They may have learned the best way to greet a prospect from one colleague.
  • Maybe they picked up some great questioning strategies from another.
  • Perhaps a friend from another company showed them the ideal way to tie up a sale.

In short, they learned skills from others and combined them into the perfect package to thrive in their sales environment. Alright, what's the link to that platypus?

Mentorship

If you want to create a strong team, you should recognize the strengths each member of your team possesses. Then, work to share that knowledge and experience with the others on your team. This kind of mentorship can happen informally or in a more structured environment. But, the bottom line is that it should happen. To borrow a cliche, sales teams are only as strong as their weakest link. As a sales leader, the better job you do of facilitating the mentoring process, the more sustainable your team becomes. This is even more important as Baby Boomer salespeople face retirement. What kinds of mentoring programs have you seen work with sales teams? - @JebBrooks