In my experience as a sales performance expert, I have learned that mistakes are better teachers than successes. With that in mind, it is my hope that there will be some valuable lessons for you as we review some of the most common mistakes to building a successful sales force:
Mistake #3: Salespeople are not held accountable.
Like most people, salespeople work best when goals are established and they are expected to meet them. For some reason many companies are negligent about holding their salespeople accountable. Maybe it is due to the first two mistakes we have discussed—hiring the wrong people without support from strong management. Perhaps you are afraid you will drive the producers away. Even the best salespeople want to be held accountable. Frankly, the best ones will respect you more if you do. The best salespeople typically want to know what the expectations are, and want to know how they will be evaluated. Then, they are happy to go do the work and let the numbers speak for themselves. You can do yourself a favor by taking the time to determine what the right quantity and type of activity are to enable success. Then have agreement from your salespeople that these are the right activities and quantity of activities to produce the required business. Once agreed upon it is an easy weekly conversation to have to check progress. Better still, is the process of understanding a salesperson’s motivations, hopes, dreams and aspirations, and fully understanding how achievement of his/her sales goals will enable those hopes and dreams. Once you know that, the accountability part is much easier. Simply meet weekly, one-on-one, to review whether or not he/she met the established activity requirements. If not, find out why., Remind him/her of the direct correlation between those activities and attaining his/her financial goals to support his/her larger goals and dreams. Then ask, “What are you going to do differently?” Having the direct tie of his/her weekly and daily activities to his/her dreams will be far more powerful than you pestering him/her to do the activity. And, the consistency of weekly inquiries will help him/her create the correct habits. And, finally, constantly challenging him/her to take ownership of his/her behaviors and the necessary adjustments to those behaviors, will help him/her grow in his/her ownership of the goals.
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