This article is going to be a little different than anything I have written before. It reminds me of a Dear Abby or Ann Landers column. The point I am going to make is very strong and I will admit incredibly opinionated. I am very passionate about my beliefs here, due to the fact that they have worked for me in my consulting practice for more than 30 years.
The letter written to me is word-for- word. I have known the person writing to me for more than 20 years and we trust each other. Therefore, we can be brutally honest with one another.
Q. I have spent some time going through your website like we discussed. We have implemented much of what you discuss, but I don’t believe it is happening. The salespeople are supposed to make a minimum of five calls per day. We wrote a program to get them the names and numbers from our customer database to make it easier for them and to eliminate an excuse. The managers are supposed to have two reviews with the salespeople per month. We have a goal system, with monitoring. We keep track of customers approached, opportunities and sales per customer. But no different than myself I don’t believe that the store managers are spending the time coaching, watching, training, recruiting that they should be, but are more comfortable sitting in their office dealing with problems. How do I change this?
A. OK, I will try to do the best I can here. Rule No. 1: The more frequent the one-on-ones, the more inspection. They really should be done weekly (meeting with your managers) looking at this week’s calls, next week’s appointments and the prospects off of the calls. Rule No. 2: Your manager’s job is to manage and control the numbers and their activity and sales performance. They must be held accountable and maybe look at a compensation package that ties in directly to their role as manager/coach. They must be doing their weekly one-on-ones as well. I have always been successful in my consulting with companies when they follow the basics and fundamentals. The salesperson is supposed to sell, not just stand around and wait for the next customer.
The bottom line is if a salesperson does not do their five calls per day (with proper inspection), you just hold on to their check until it is completed. You pay for everything; the representative should at least do his or her job, or go somewhere else to work. If you go from store to store on surprise visits, I promise you will find nonactivity. It is common among most salespeople. The manager is supposed to manage and be on the floor as a coach and not in their office doing paperwork.
As you can see from my response, my client was on the right page and trying to do the right things for his management team as well as his salespeople. The only problem is he strayed away from the fundamentals or my favorite word – consistency.
The more consistent we are in our actions and moving toward our goals, the more success we will notice. Stay true to your beliefs, have a game plan and stick with it, without changing the rules or the playbook.
Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of numerous business books including two national best sellers “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s newest book on sales is titled “Ultimate Sales Book.” He can be reached at Halbecker.com.