If you are effective enough in the sales venue; it is likely that you will get your opportunity to manage other sales people, (if you are not already). This BEAM is to help you in the task of helping reps. In a rut.
If you have been in the sales game long enough; you know that sales growth comes is spurts and cycles. The point of this post is how do you help the rep. in a down turn. How do you keep a good sales person from letting a slip turn into a slide?
First of all in the corporate domain; it is necessary to involve all the relevant team members. To help a rep. push the direction away from the negative pattern. It is best approached with a coordinated approach from Human Resources, executives and sales management leaders.
Secondly, the microscope is not the best way to re-spark a sales employee that has talent and potential. Yet, while it is not usually necessary to encourage a positive turn-a-round with micro-management. You can help a good sale person back on the high road with direct interaction.
Talk to the sales person directly, with candor; but without harshness. Encourage the sales person to communicate with you openly. Give them a private setting to do so; it helps them to open up. You can avoid anxiety and frustration in your employees by encouraging open dialogue with them.
Thirdly, do not forget that the fear factor can stop normally great producing performers not to take the steps they need to; to re-climb the success ladder. This places an incumbent responsibility on you; the sales manager. As a Leader, work on being more approachable. Do this not only in the context of informing the employee of information from the top but encourage new strategies from them.
Often a struggling sales producer knows their own way out of a slump and just needs the empowerment to make it happen. Let them know that you are on their side and that you want them to succeed. Help the representative get past the fear stigma that could be hindering their sales.
Fourth, remember that the producer may have a problem with you or another administrative staff member. This is difficult to get an employee to disclose. You as a sales manager have got to have the thick skin of wanting your own improvement in the process. Having open meetings where you fish for the candid opinions of your subordinates can bring things out in the open. Things which could be preventing your sales growth.
Fifth, when you uncover negative aspects of performance that are limiting the representatives performance. Deal with these directly, clearly but in the positive format of believing in them and their continued growth.
Sixth, Try to ask the employee themselves what they think may solve the problem. If you tell them the answer and they do not internalize it; they may resist it anyway. There is nothing wrong with telling them what to do succinctly. Just make sure that you have their buy-in to the plan, before you start barking out orders.
Seventh & lastly but certainly not least. Remember that if you beat a donkey; he will resist you and neither of you will get what you want. Dangling a carrot of promise in front of the sales person can be the new vigor that they need to turn things around.
Make sure to Praise improvement in positive behavior, if you want these behaviors to increase. I know (myself included) sales people typically love “Atta-Boys.” I left a message on an executives desk that I worked for once “Will work for Atta-Boys.” Sounds funny but wow: How much more energetically people will produce, when you praise the good things that they do.
Remember that sales comes in cycles. Be prepared for blips in the economic selling cycle. Be prepared for blips in your star producer’s performance. Follow some of these tips, to help them turn their slip, into a rocket launch!