Going straight to picking up where we left off yesterday…
6. Lead Top Down – Construct Bottom Up: In the book, Turn The Ship Around, L. David Marquet, Captain, U.S. Navy (retired) puts forth the thought process that the reason that many organizations fail is that they operate on a Leader-Follower model; the leader decides what must be done and then dictates how it should be done by the follower. He suggests that all organizations would be more effective on a Leader-Leader model. In the case of a Leader-Leader model, the leader decides what must be done, but then equips the followers to determine the best way to accomplish the goal. This goes contrary to what most sales leaders do. Most sales leaders honestly believe they know the best way to get the job done. They fail to realize that there is more than one way to get the job done in most cases. And their lack of listening to those actually charged with doing the job can do more harm than good. At best, the organization becomes stagnant. At worse, the organization slips backwards.
7. Serve Your Customers: Every business is totally dependent on their customers. The more customers we serve the greater incomes we have. The more value we provide and the better we equip our customers to meet their business needs – the greater the longevity of our mutual relationship. Most sales leaders act as if the members of their sales team are their employees – and in many cases they are. However, I challenge you to turn your thinking upside down. Think of your sales team members as your customers. Your income is directly related to how well you equip them to have successful businesses. The greater value you bring in helping them succeed, the longer the relationship lasts. You would never say to a customer, “You will increase the revenue you generate for me by 10% this year or I am going to have to let you go.” Instead you would focus on the ways you could serve that customer that would return value to them and a 10% increase for you. Treat commission only sales people in the same manner.
8. Sell Your Customers: Leading a commission sales team to achieve consistent success requires you to have a well-defined vision of where you want to go. Then you must be the best sales person on the team and sell them on that vision. The best way to do that is to take them on a discovery process – exactly like you would any customer – and then help them to come to uncover the solutions with you.
9. Praise in Public: Find your sales people doing things right and point it out to the entire group. Use technology to do so as well as in person communications. Nothing is better than a pat on the back in front of your peers. However, a text message or tweet to the group celebrating someone’s success goes a very long way to gaining cooperation in your “cat herding”.
10. Have Difficult Conversations in Private: Nothing destroys buy-in from your commission sales team than public remarks of a corrective nature. If you care about your sales team and someone is not producing, you must have difficult conversations at times. But when you do so, take the conversation to a private area. Then coach and have your conversation from the mindset of a brother or sister that is truly trying to help; not a boss who is trying to reprimand. And in cases where you really need to let a sales person go – do so in such a way that allows them to keep their dignity.
Focus on the helping the cats get better and make more money – and you will find them more cooperative in the herding process… at least a little more cooperative. But they are still cats 🙂
What was your favorite thing a sales leader ever said to you (or about you) in front of your peers?