Team Building is Hard

Building a team is such a hard thing to do. It took me years to get good at this skill. When I did door to door sales, the only way to get out of the “field” (the actual pounding the pavement to knock on doors) was to develop a team of sales people to sell a significant amount of promotional coupons, consistently, for a set amount of time to prove your team wasn’t a fluke. 

I started February of 2004 in Malden Massachusetts and had zero people on my team. In July-ish of 2004 I helped Mike McGeown open his office right outside of Baltimore where I added the first person to my team in Mr. Theron Alexander. If you do the math, that’s almost 5 months of going into the office, knocking on doors for 8 hours, often times with an interviewee tagging along for each door (yes, for 8 hours), hoping to add that interviewee to my team, while selling coupon certificates, and failing at both adding to my team and selling.

Without getting into the weeds, just know that I consulted LOTS of people on how to build a team. I asked people who were where I wanted to be in regards to creating a door to door sales team. After months of life changing learning experiences that involved listening and observing I figured out what the top people did.

  1. First and foremost, they sold a ton of certificates while an interviewee tagged along from door to door for 8 hours. They showed them success.
  2. They listened more than they talked. It allowed them to learn as much about their future team member as possible. I mean you were walking around with the person for 8 hours.
  3. They had a compelling story as to why they were knocking on doors and how it would help them achieve their life goals. They were inspiring. 
  4. They were teaching experts. Everyone on the top teams were well taught. It was like they went to the Northeastern (the greatest college in America) of door to door sales. 
  5. They actually told people they WERE NOT good enough to earn the job. Craziness! That blew my mind because I was under the impression you wanted to add anyone and everyone in order to build a large team. Then I noticed the best teams weren’t the largest teams, they were the teams where everyone was focused on becoming great, like their team leader. 

When I added Theron to my team, it was the culmination of months of brutal team building education in the door to door sales trenches. Now, some 17 odd years later, I would consider myself to be a team building expert. And I owe it all to that experience.

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