In a highly competitive marketplace, the roll of a sales manager can easily become blurred. Emphasis is often directed to the short-term “Now’ transactions where salespeople are pushed to achieve quick successes. Sales managers are often ‘under the gun’ to obtain these results for owners and senior management. As a result, sales managers may neglect their other vital area of responsibility, sales member development. This article showcases seven strategies to make it easier to build master superstars.
Encourage or Provide Outside Training. By virtue of the fact that you have risen to the rank of sales manager you have proven your competence. However, it doesn’t indicate that you possess all the knowledge that is available. The fact that you are taking the time to read this article attests to your understanding of this. As sales managers we do understand that we can’t pass on information that we don’t ourselves possess. When you encourage and support outside source training you add new knowledge to your sales floor and free up more time to devote to ‘now’ business.
Recognize Effort… Avoid Nagging. Salespeople who are dedicated to professionalism will be harder on themselves when they mess up than you could ever be. As long as you observe a genuine effort to improve, do your best to avoid excessive criticism and nagging. This will only serve to divert attention from the real effort needed to improve. The salesperson’s focus will shift to your criticism instead.
Avoid Public Criticism. Lavish Public Praise Instead. There are still plenty of sales managers who manage with fear and intimidation. It might be effective with those of little talent or self-motivation but it will drive away the best and most promising individuals within your organization. You can’t raise people up by beating them down. It is a far more effective strategy to publicly acknowledge positive results. Sales managers who criticize in public lose the respect of their entire staff.
Empower Through Responsibility. When the situation allows, empower your salespeople by giving them responsibility in non vital areas. Not only will this free up some valuable time for you but it will develop good self-esteem and morale within the sales team.
Avoid Showing Off. Everyone has an ego. As a sales manager, it’s important to have it under control. Coaching, training and closing the occasional deal for salespeople is wonderful, however, using the opportunity to ‘show off’ isn’t. Results are important. Gloating won’t be seen as an endearing quality by your salespeople.
Seek Professional Development Personally. By becoming a sales manager you have demonstrated an admirable level of leadership and competence. By continuing to have an open mind and a willingness to continue learning, you demonstrate that you are committed to being the best you can be and show that you are dedicated to your organization and to your salespeople. This is also an incredibly powerful way to set an example to your sales team to encourage each of them towards self-improvement.
Plan Regular Sales Meetings & Keep Them Fresh. The fastest way to build a master superstar sales force is through training. Sales meetings are one of the more efficient ways for you to impart new knowledge to your people. Keep them on point, fast-moving, interactive and fun. This will mean that participants will look forward to them as an opportunity to learn rather than a chance for a snooze. If you are learning yourself you will never run short of new material. Even when you have taught something before, teaching it again while quoting an outside source will lend credibility. For some reason, the ‘expert from afar’ carries more weight with many people.
The Benefits of Building Master Superstars. From my point of view, the effort needed to build master superstars is well worth it. These are just four of the great rewards you will experience.
1) Less Staff Turnover. Master superstars will reduce your sales floor turnover. This saves recruiting and training costs. Plus, new salespeople will lose many more selling opportunities as they get up to speed and efficiency.
2) More Time Available. Master superstars require less one on one time from their managers thus freeing up more time that can be spent on more pressing issues. They work well unsupervised in most situations.
3) Give Yourself a Pay Raise. Since most managers are paid on their team’s production, it’s a fact that a manager’s paycheck will benefit greatly by the higher closing ratios generated by master superstar salespeople.
4) Reap the Emotional Rewards As a sales manager and trainer, I have found that one of my greatest rewards has been in the knowledge that I have helped a great many individuals become leaders and successes in the selling field. The knowledge that these people have acquired lifelong skills that allow them to provide economic stability to themselves and their families is very gratifying indeed.
By Andrew Adamson