Many years ago, one of my sales managers said something to me that sounded so simple, yet made so much sense. He was quoting master salesman, Arthur Motley, who coined the phrase, “Nothing happens until somebody sells something.”
This makes sense if you own a company or manage a sales team, doesn’t it? What does it mean to your business if somebody isn’t selling something? When the economy was cranking along at record rates, times were good, everyone in sales was making money, bottom lines were fat, and life was great. As a matter of fact, times were so good that many companies resorted to simply hiring warm bodies rather than experienced and trained sales professionals. It is estimated that over the past 10-15 years, millions of people were given the title “salesperson”, just for showing up. Many companies needed them just to answer the phones and take orders. So how are those warm, inexperienced bodies helping that bottom line now? From what I’ve seen the last year, not so well, and we can’t blame it all on the economy, folks.
So how do we clean up this mess we’ve created? Today, I will share with you five steps of an evaluation process that has worked for me in the past and also what I’m currently spending a lot of my time doing these days with and for my clients:
1. Face Reality: What a concept, huh? You had the best excuses in the world to hire warm bodies. Don’t sweat the past – just get moving, and clean up the mess.
2. Evaluate Results: Don’t just look at past results, look at how they are doing in these times as well. Look at trends versus overall growth. If you are the owner, don’t forget to evaluate your sales management team as well. If you don’t feel you can do it, get help!
3. Check Attitudes: If a salesperson is not committed daily to a positive attitude, chances are their sales are mediocre at best. Attitude is not just a thought process; it’s a way of life. We either have it, or we don’t. If we don’t, we should not be in sales!
4. Who Sets Their Goals: If you have to set goals for them, chances are they set very few if any goals for themselves. If you have to set goals for salespeople, what’s next? Printing out directions for all their appointments, too?
5. Personality Test: Is your sales team transaction-oriented or relationship-oriented? The revenue is in the relationships, folks, so you’ll want to make sure your salespeople are good at forming and maintaining healthy business relationships. Check your retention and customer service results.
While this advice isn’t going to turn your sales department into a seasoned sales team with no weaknesses, it is certainly a good place to start the process. Remember also that I’ve only given you five steps out of many. Every sales team has its top 20%, its middle 60%, and the bottom 20%. If you’re an owner or sales manager, your job is to evaluate where each one of your salespeople fit – not once in a while, but always! If you need assistance, I recommend you find someone with the experience and objectivity to assist you in making the best evaluation possible.
If you have a comment, please leave it below. I always appreciate any feedback or comments.
Thanks, and have a great week!