If you create an environment in your business where the employees actually like their company and what they’re doing, that manifests itself over to the customer. They will buy more, and more frequently, from people who enjoy what they are doing. Creating an environment like that is incumbent on every business leader.
One of the mistakes I have made as a leader – and trust me I have made many of them – is not surrounding my A-players with other A-players to help us grow collectively. Have you ever gotten so frustrated with one of your sales team members that you eventually end up micro-managing them until they quit?
We had that happen a few years ago with a young gentleman. Let’s call him Steve. He was our lead business development person for our organization. He would give you the shirt off his back. Prospects really enjoyed talking with him and eventually buying from him. It was the rest of the process that was a complete disaster for him. His downfall was that he would roll into work at different hours every day, his sales reports were always late and, most of the time, incorrect. He could bring the new business into the door, but the execution and follow through from there is what was missing. He had the tenacity to get in door but he was missing the details after the close to hand off and deliver to our operations team.
What I didn’t understand at the time was that no matter how much we wanted him to make sure the process was completed, it was going to be a struggle for it to happen on his own.
We were asking our No. 1 sales person to modify his naturally hardwired behavior at the cost of eventually having him quit and go work for our competitor. We all have a natural hardwire and it is mostly ingrained in us by the age of 12 years old. When we hire people and put them in roles that they are naturally hardwired to do, employee engagement and overall contentment for both employee and company goes up. We can teach the proper technique to a natural born sales person but we can’t teach tenacity. We can’t make them want to wake up every day and want go out there and crush the competition. You either have it or you don’t.
If I could have the chance to do it again, I would have given him an assistant that had high attention to detail. I would have made sure he had the administrative help to delegate all of the low-level minutia, too. His admin could take care of the tedious detailed work for him so that he could focus on what he was naturally born to do, which was create relationships with potential new clients and sell, not live in details. If you create an environment in your business where the employees actually like what they are doing and like working at the company they are in, that transfers to the customer, leading them to buy more. They’ll frequently do business with people that enjoy what they are doing. Creating an environment like that is incumbent on every business leader. We have the right people have them in the right seats, but we as leaders need to coach and maximize them.
Here are some things to consider with your sales team:
- Do you know your top performers’ goals? If not, you are missing a huge opportunity. It needs to be their own goals, not goals that you set for them. The right sales person is going to be tenacious enough to know where they want to be in the next 1-3 years. Agree on the plan and get out of their way. Give them the keys to the car and let them drive. As long as you both agree on where the destination is, look out and support their goals.
- Do you have the right people managing them? It can be difficult to retain these tenacious go-getters. The fastest way to chase them out the door is to micro-manage them. Give them space, as they are going to take it anyway. They can become restless in stagnate environments. Make sure that they have new goals (that they have come up with) and new solutions to keep them happy and focused.
- Who do you have supporting your sales team? My best sales people require detailed people around them. They usually don’t want to live in rules/policies and procedures, so when we can help them delegate lower level tasks and keep them focused on actually selling and building relationships, the ROI for everyone goes up.