Ben Hawley is the Head of Sales and Business Development for a fast-growing, early-stage infrastructure services company where he leads a cross-functional team of thirty people. He has faced several challenges since switching from an established company, where he benefited from existing structures to support personal development and growth, to a business that lacked such structure and support. In his new role, he was responsible for growing a substantial portfolio of products and solutions with little independent advice and no access to a trusted sounding board. He was also extremely time-poor, working unsustainable hours and feeling like he was always running out of time, an experience shared by many salespeople. Despite the challenges and lack of structure and support, Ben managed to grow the company’s revenue ten-fold. This article explores how he achieved such an extraordinary outcome.
According to a recent study, sales reps spend an average of just 35.2% of their time selling. Like Ben Hawley, however, they commonly work long hours, which begs the question of how they utilise their time. Ben was consistently working long hours, wasting energy on worst-case scenarios that would never eventuate and not being able to focus on large and innovative deals that would accelerate the company’s growth. While being successful in his own right, the challenges he was facing, including time management, ultimately limited his effectiveness and held him back from reaching his full potential as a sales leader.
To address these issues, Ben evaluated several options. Option 1 was NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) based coaching. In Ben’s experience, his NLP coach only effectively supported him with short-term fixes or, in his words, “bandages”. But a long-term approach to shift effectiveness was missing. For option 2, Ben engaged multiple mentors who specialise in offering advice to professionals in his field of work. The advice they provided worked for business-specific challenges, but it lacked a personalised approach to developing the leadership qualities he needed to be effective and be the leader he knew he could be.
Option 3 was working with a leadership coach, which is where I came in. As a Being Profile Accredited Practitioner, I introduced Ben to the Being Profile® and Being FrameworkTM and supported him in delving deeper than those surface-level behaviours through one-on-one leadership, effectiveness and sales coaching. Leadership coaching based on the Being Framework adopts a personalised approach that enables sales and other leaders to transform their relationship with various qualities – known as Aspects of Being – within the scope of performance, leadership and effectiveness.
Gaining access to reality as a sales leader through awareness and authenticity
After completing a Being Profile assessment and debrief session with me, Ben learned about his relationships with thirty-one Aspects of Being that contribute to sales leadership, performance and effectiveness. This opened the door for him to see how those qualities played out in his life, not only in his role as a sales leader but also as a husband, father and son. This approach put Ben front and centre with a clear scoreboard to make the invisible visible. For example, Ben realised that the combination of being a high achiever and having unrealistically high expectations of himself caused him to feel inadequate.
As the creator of the Being Framework, Ashkan Tashvir, writes the following about authenticity in his latest book, Human Being: “Authenticity is paramount for you to carefully consider that your conception of reality – including your beliefs and opinions – is congruent with how things are.” Ben was not giving himself credit for his significant accomplishments; he wasn’t even present to them due to an unhealthy relationship with authenticity.
How transforming awareness and anxiety led to the biggest deal in company history
In the process of working with me for just over six months, Ben realised that the most pressing challenge in achieving his sales growth target was himself. By shifting his awareness away from areas that might not contribute directly to effectiveness (training, processes, structural challenges, etc.) to himself and his BEING, Ben was able to shift his effectiveness rapidly. Awareness is the state of being intentionally conscious of your consciousness and how you relate to what you know and understand as well as what you don’t know and don’t understand.
Another Aspect of Being Ben enquired into during the coaching sessions was his relationship with anxiety, one of four Moods in the Being Framework. Anxiety impacts the anticipation, uncertainty, perceived risk or lack of preparedness associated with future situations, circumstances or events. People with an unhealthy relationship with anxiety might have a propensity to frequently anticipate the worst possible outcomes, be overly sceptical and focus on what might go wrong. Ben discovered that questioning everything, including himself, by constantly wondering ‘what-if’ was impacting his time, confidence and ability to lead and present.
After applying the Being Framework and understanding the impact that his relationship with anxiety was having on him, Ben shifted his relationship with it. He can now be with anxiety, including all his concerns, and yet take his effectiveness to the next level. For example, by realising that he would constantly spend time analysing worst-case scenarios that would never eventuate, he started saving time and allocating more to what matters. Transforming his relationship with awareness and anxiety subsequently led Ben to win the single most significant deal in the company’s history.
A positive ripple effect was created when Ben transformed his relationship with anxiety: it significantly impacted his confidence. In the Being Framework, confidence is how you relate to certainties, uncertainties, doubts and hesitation. It is the belief or understanding that you can rely on or have faith in someone or something, including your own abilities and qualities. By responsibly turning questioning into actions, Ben transformed a dread of company presentations into enjoyment. He now leads presentations with joy and confidence, regarding them as opportunities to acknowledge the team’s wins and achievements as well as his own.
Conclusion and results
Over the course of working with me for just a little over one year, Ben transformed his relationship with various Aspects of Being, like awareness, authenticity, anxiety and confidence. As a result, he became 30% more effective with time management. This led to him winning the biggest deal in the company’s history resulting in 1000% business growth within twelve months and a 600% increase in his sales pipeline for the upcoming year. If you would like to explore how to become a better sales and business leader, I invite you to connect with me here to arrange a conversation.