Three Types of Advisors Every Originator Should Have

The people we surround ourselves with can greatly impact our success – either negatively or positively. This isn’t newsworthy. In fact, your mother probably gave you some version of that advice when you were growing up.

In the business world, much has been written about the importance of having an inner circle of mentors and peers. However, it’s not always clear what types of advisors will help sales professionals move to the next level. In my view, the legendary basketball coach John Wooden said it best: “Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” Yes, argue!

If sales rallies and annual training events are any indications, it seems that only positive feedback is encouraged and valued. Every sales rally has its share of motivational speakers who convey their “rags to riches” story and imply that others can follow suit. Unfortunately, achieving success takes more than just wanting it or dreaming about it. For originators, it requires having a close group of advisors who fill three important roles.

In “The Mindside Manifesto: The Urgency to Create a Competitive Mindset,” a great book by clinical performance psychologist, Bhrett McCabe, the author states that “a fully engaged life always begins in the mind, which directs thoughts, feelings and actions to create the pathways and habits that are ultimately responsible for success.” This takes more than a single mentor or influencer; it takes a village for sales professionals to move to the highest levels.

McCabe states that if a person “only wants positive reinforcement in their lives, they are trying to avoid success.  There is a time and place for praise, rewards and public displays of encouragement. The problem arises when this is the only form of coaching that’s deemed effective.” In other words, for sales professionals to grow they need to hear the critical comments that can improve performance. None of us do the right things all the time. That is where a close circle of advisors can keep us on track and help us change and grow.

McCabe outlines three types of advisors that sales professionals should look for if they want to hit their performance goals:

  • Challengers: These are advisors who can openly challenge a person’s beliefs, training and mindset. In essence, these types of advisors hold someone accountable for results. Challengers are hard on individuals and demand more from people than they thought they were capable of. They also provide solutions in areas that need improvement. As McCabe states “it is hard to have challengers in your life, but without them, it’s easy to fall back into poor habits and the safety of mediocrity.”
  • Critiquers: These advisors look at how an individual does things and provide a detailed review of the person’s approach or strategy. In competitive sports, a critiquer might offer feedback after evaluating a video replay on specific techniques that could be tweaked for better performance. In origination, recording phone calls or video sales presentations and assessing sales tactics can serve a similar function. Pinpointing actions that can be changed for the better is always the first step in moving forward.
  • Confidence Builders: Improving isn’t always about being challenged and critiqued. Originators must also surround themselves with supportive people who are willing to give them a high five on a job well done. This is a role that relatives and family members can play. Confidence builders should not be giving corrective feedback because they do not have the selling expertise required. Those roles are better filled by challengers and critiquers.

With these three types of advisors behind them, originators have access to a personal board of directors who can help them elevate their sales performance. Like any corporate board, finding the right combination of advisors takes time, effort and networking. It might also mean that an originator has to pay for that expertise. But having the right advisors in place can be an invaluable asset that pays for itself many times over in terms of sales volume and long-term success.