Sam Manfer asked:
Since more sales would make your management life a lot better, take action with your sales force now.
Do not wait another minute hoping something will happen.Â Donâ€™t depend on conditions to get better.
They may get better, but they could also get worse.Â Focus your attention on your selling team, and
selling productivity vs. selling expenses. Sales may not be your expertise, but sales is your life blood
so get involved and start applying pressure.Â Here are some tips that can help.
1.Â Do not do sales training.Â Not that youâ€™d spend the money now anyhow, but because it wonâ€™t work
for what you need right now.Â Youâ€™ve heard all the good arguments about investing when the market is
down so you can be tougher against competition and in position when conditions improve.Â But this is
not real estate.Â You need results now.Â Besides youâ€™re sales people donâ€™t believe they need training
and you canâ€™t afford time out of the field.
What you need now is performers – sales people with relationships who can get to the top people, who
are motivated, who can beat the competition.
More importantly you need sales managers who can train, coach, mentor, motivate, recruit and hold
their sales people accountable.Â You do not need sales managers that can sell, yet this is what most
sales mangers default to during sales downturns.
Therefore youâ€™ve got to slash the weak, burn a hole in your sales managersâ€™ bottoms, and bring in the
Special Forces.Â This is no time for a pump you up event.Â Itâ€™s time for results or a ticket to the front
2.Â Fire sales people and hire sales people.Â You know youâ€™ll keep your top producers but youâ€™ll have
to get rid of the poor and mediocre.Â Now here is what will make you sales team leaner, but delivering
more sales.Â Eliminate more sales people and managers than you have to so that you can hire some
really good ones that your competitors have already let go. However, donâ€™t pick who goes on your gut
feel or hunches and donâ€™t hire using the same.
a.Â Evaluate your selling team analytically (sales people and managers), using a tool designed for
sales people and sales managers – not personalities or behaviors.Â Even the Boston Red Sox manage
the team analytically and thatâ€™s how they won 2 World Series after 80 years.
see this websiteâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.
b.Â Hire new sales people and managers using screening tools designed for sales that will predict
someoneâ€™sâ€™ selling and managing success in your company.Â The one I recommend is highly validated,
EEOC compliant and 96% accurate over 19 years.Â It provides a recommendation, the candidateâ€™s
critical strengths and major weaknesses for selling success.
These evaluations will cost a few hundred dollars per person and the screens can cost tens of dollars,
but they will be extremely valuable and guarantee selling success.Â Besides they cost less than a sales
call, a customer dinner, or a flight to anywhere.Â They are worth it so cut some other expenditure to fit
3.Â Get help for your sales managers.Â Face it; your managers are as good as they will be.Â Iâ€™m sure
they are giving it their all are not holding back.Â Bottom line they wonâ€™t get better without help and if they
stay the same, todayâ€™s sales level is all youâ€™ll get unless condition get worse.Â You sales / market share
will not move ahead until the economy gets better.Â Can your company handle this?Â Are your bosses,
directors and shareholders will to wait?
You sales managers are the drivers who have to provide the coaching and motivation to their sales
people to get them to the next skill level.Â You know your competitors are throwing everything they have
at stealing your customer or capturing anything out there.Â Your sales people must be better than theirs
and the only way that will happen is if the sales manager shows the sales people how to sell in tough
times and holds them accountable to do it.Â Again, if the managers knew how to do it, theyâ€™d be doing
So buy some coaching for your managers.Â It can be inexpensive and can happen remotely or on-site.
This will pay-off quickly and be the trigger to move you beyond your competitors.
4.Â Bring in people outsider – consultants, directors, customers to help.Â As with your sales managers,
all your internal resources and ideas have been tapped.Â You need fresh eyes.Â I know it is tough to
spend overhead, but it has to be done.Â Times are different and while youâ€™ve been focused on running
the business new perspectives have developed and taken hold.Â You need to hear about them, and
then determine if and how they might fit into your go to market strategies.
If youâ€™re really worried about cash flow, cut performance deals with the outsiders.Â Consultants that
know they can deliver will be open to this idea.Â However, if you do offer performance incentives in lieu
of fees, donâ€™t be stingy on the upside or you wonâ€™t get anyone worthwhile to participate.
5.Â Get involved.Â Iâ€™m not recommending micro management, but you need to be asking tough
questions and getting honest answers.Â The more youâ€™re people tell you â€œI donâ€™t know?â€ the more youâ€™ll
know they are in control.Â Hereâ€™s why.Â If one knows s/he doesnâ€™t know, that person can now dig-in to
find answers.Â If you hear a lot of good news or â€œEverything is OK boss,â€ you will know that person is
out of control.Â S/he doesnâ€™t know what s/he doesnâ€™t know and thatâ€™s when the unexpected (usually bad)
Encourage â€œDonâ€™t Knowâ€™s,â€ but be sure to follow them up with â€œWhat are you going to do about it, and
by when?â€Â Then check-up and hold them accountable.Â The more you follow-up and present
consequences for not getting what they said theyâ€™d give you, the more youâ€™ll get them to perform at
higher levels.Â Be careful however, manage their game plans and schedules, not their activities.Â Itâ€™s a
lot easier and less frustrating for you to let them manage their time and to-doâ€™s and far more productive
And now I invite you to learn more.