Struggling over the last half mile of my morning jog, I was thinking about a theme to blog about regarding sales managers.Simultaneously I was searching through Pandora for an inspirational song, hopefully some snappy tune to help me and pull me to the finish line.
Surprise, one of my all- time favorites popped up, John Fogerty singing, “Put me in Coach”. The lyrics are compelling, the boys of summer are alive and well!
“Put me in coach, I’m ready to play today, look at me I can play Centerfield, just hit the ball and touch em all, a moment in the sun!”
It brings nostalgic a tear to your eyes just thinking about the field of dreams. Isn’t that what we all want? A chance to get in the game, a moment in the sun, to touch em all and show our stuff?
Isn’t the job of the sales manager (coach) exactly that? Get the team ready for their moment in the sun, so they can touch em all and close the deal?
How many sales managers truly revel in the sheer joy of teaching and preparing others to hit the home run?
Finding a sales manager who has the skill, passion, and knack for coaching is a critical component in developing a world class sales organization, don’t underestimate their contribution.
Put NABC in the game, we can help you get the job done!
Recently I was giving a presentation for business owners on how to optimize their sales organizations.We had covered leadership, strategic sales planning, the sales process, tracking key metrics, consistent sales training, and accountability.
During the Q & A session an owner asked the following question: “I have two sales people who are under performing, I don’t want to micro-manage them, what should I do”?
I asked if she had told them she wasn’t pleased with their performance and pointed out necessary improvement areas, she said, “No I haven’t, I wanted to treat them as adults, they should know what’s expected, I hired them because they supposedly knew what they were doing and by the way, I pay them very well”!
….she quickly added, “I don’t feel comfortable being big brother, yet they are simply not performing”!
I explained by having a sales plan, a sales process, tracking mechanism, training and coaching sessions she could enhance the probability of salvaging the sales people.
With that aside, I said if they continue to underperform then fire them. She appeared as though I slapped her in the face she said, “But they have families and I feel responsible for them”.
The discussion with the group ensued regarding how far you go with sales people who are not hitting their goals and objectives. The consensus was she needed to overcome her personal guilt with their lack of productivity and deal straight forward with their responsibility to perform as they were hired to do. And if “micromanaging” was necessary to get the point across then she better get on with it!
A final thought, owners often get caught up in the personal lives of their employees which is not a bad thing , however when taken too far, this paternalistic tendency can be a mask for not dealing with the tough issues of poor performance.
I recently interviewed a potential vendor for our business at a local restaurant. The sales rep was very polite and focused when discussing her product and the application for our company.However when it was appropriate for me to respond, she seemed to lose interest, her eyes fluttered about the restaurant like a camera searching for a subject. She was indeed distracted by anything around us.
Her body language and eye contact were simply disengaged. As a result, she fumbled some basic objections I lodged, and completely missed an opportunity to impress.
When she did reengage she relied on reciting a litany of features and advantages rather than connecting with the specific needs I was trying to articulate. The upshot of the meeting was she lost the deal!
We interviewed another vendor who was super focused on us and our specific needs. There was connection on a business as well as a personal level. Eye contact, body language, enthusiasm and interest were all in sync.
We felt this was the right person to build a relationship with and a deal was consummated.
The lesson to be learn is you have one chance to impress, discipline yourself to give a prospect your entire focus.
People still buy from people they like and trust!
Are your sales professionals exhibiting best practice communication methods?
Obviously there are innumerable answers to the question “What makes a great sales professional?”, however after nearly 40 years in the sales business, I have discovered three components that are always present in the best sales professional’s DNA. Belief in Self
The best seem to have an overabundance of an optimistic self- confidence that drives them day in and day out. They simply believe if they work hard and apply themselves great things will happen. This belief is predicated on self- reliance and being masters of their own destiny. You don’t have to kick these people out of bed in the morning.
There are many skills debated as the end all for sales professionals, however the two that are by far consistently present; the ability to truly listen, followed by asking well placed questions. The interesting point is often these two appear to be so obvious, yet they are frequently overlooked, when it comes to selection of the right sales professional, much less ongoing training for a sales team. These people are ease to talk with and are often defined as great conservationists.
What sales professionals actually do (behavior) is a function of their belief system and integrating their accumulated skills. The highly successful sales professional exhibits behaviors that revolve around a tenacity of purpose. They are manifested in; enthusiasm, energy, persistence, getting up early and not quitting until the job is done. Customers comment that these sales people are tireless and will never let them down.
If you’re looking for great sales people assess their belief system, past demonstrated skills, and their historic work behavioral patterns. These three are very highly correlated with predicting future success.
NABC has a very effective five step sales selection process that takes these into account, give us a call if you would like more details.
In the last couple of weeks I attended a soccer game and a music recital for my grandchildren.The initial impression was how enthusiastic the kids were about what they were doing and secondarily their desire to improve.
The children seemed to revel in both the events and the direction their respective teachers and coaches were giving them.
In both cases they had made considerable improvement since the last time I was present.
This made me think that many adults become jaded and think they know it all. They seem to believe there is no room for improvement, they are a finished product, and unfortunately stop learning.
Study after study indicates that those companies that routinely provide training and inculcate the expectation for continuous improvement for all employees are statistically near the top of high performing organizations.
Training and learning never go out of style and it is a critical investment. Embracing it with the enthusiasm and openness of youth is infectious and indeed leads to a competitive advantage.
Our Blogs are Authored by various members of the NEALABC team.