There is an important question that owners and sales manager’s in a successful contracting business ask themselves before engaging in training, coaching or accountability activities.
Here is that question…
“Do I have the right person?”
The difference between mediocre and champion caliber sales managers lies in their willingness to ask this question of every employee, themselves included at any time. The mediocre manager falls in love with the personality of the people they manage and assumes things will turn around eventually.
The winning manager never assumes that the person who they manage hasn’t changed to the point where they might not be a fit with the team any longer. In essence they are asking if the employee is capable of performing the skills and techniques that make up their sales system. Furthermore, if they do have those skills are they willing to take action by using them with a potential buyer?
In this day and age of hundreds of TV channels to watch as well as internet videos, I have found a particular show that I run across every now and then. I must say that this television series really fascinates my wife Julie and I. The show that I am talking about is called the “Dog Whisperer” and it features a gentleman whose name is Cesar Millan. This man who has a such a “magic touch” with our canine friends came, from humble beginnings growing up in Mexico before he eventually transformed into the mega-star he is today. He counts people like Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith as some of his closest friends.
Each week Cesar faces a seemingly out of control dog whose owners have given up on trying to train their pet and cannot cope any longer with this “toxic” behavior. These dogs are driving every one crazy, except one person. An that person is Cesar.
Ah my first day at a new job. You breathe in and inhale all of the possibilities. Everyone in your family is excited about your prospects at your new place of employment. Even your Mom said how proud she was about you landing work so you could provide as everyone should for your spouse and kids. You think to yourself, “I wonder what the company is like? Will they go over the company system of paperwork? Maybe show me how they want me to sell their services. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even throw a “Welcome to the Company” party for me. The excitement is so great you can hardly sleep the night before your first day…
Just heard today from a contractor who had the dubious experience of hiring a new service tech. The above was probably what the newly hired person was dreaming BEFORE he came to work. After all, do we ever start a new job thinking, “This place will probably suck!” Not at all. Every company is envisioned as a great place to work be fore we begin to work there and then REALITY happens… OUCH!
Each week I get several calls from contracting business owners asking for some advice on how to handle a “tough situations” with the employees or customers in their business. Each time I hear about one of these supposedly insurmountable scenarios, I am immediately reminded about a chapter I read awhile ago in a book by author Seth Godin titled, “Small Is the New Big.” In this chapter he simply asks, “Do you want to face the guillotine? Or do you want to be tortured on the rack?”
I know I may be dating myself but I remember an old Randy Newman song called “My Life” in which Randy in the song, speaking in the voice of Bruce Springsteen utters these words that still ring in my ears. He sang, “Randy, I’m tired of being the boss. Can you be the boss for awhile?”
Being the boss is difficult and especially so regarding managing sales people or front-line employees who have been given the chore of listening to customer problems that clients have and then selling the solutions. Of course in the service world, problems are just opportunities to serve.
Over the years I have observed a few characteristics of the mediocre sales manager. These people are definitely “tired” of being the boss and it shows through their ineffective styles of management which leads to poor results by their people. Here we begin to explore why these managers are so tired.
Watch this funny video about a sales manager who is trying to describe the most important aspects of selling his service. Although it is hilarious. I think many sales managers can find some of themselves here.
One of the first questions I always ask new clients who are struggling to get control of their salespeople and increase their results is a very easy one to answer. Here is the question…
“Of the last 10 salespeople to leave, how many of them quit and how many were dismissed or as I like to say “de-hired?”
When I listen to sales managers answer that question, I don’t only listen for the words they tell me but also watch how hard it is for them to access this information. If a sales manager takes a long time to answer because they can’t remember the last time a sales person left the company, I know they have a turn-over problem. Not enough, turn-over that is.
I remember the not so distant “good old days” when I made sure that I was home every Sunday night to watch one of my favorite shows. You would have to be from Mars to not know of or remember the HBO hit show The Sopranos which featured an inside look at some of the “alleged” New Jersey mob figures.
I know it seems like this is a product of the twisted mind of a sales consultant who has been on the road for a few weeks too long. But one evening while watching a re-run of the show, I began to think hmmm…