Buzzing across the fax or downloaded from e-mail each Friday is a copy of the "Sales Managers Weekly Recap" form from Radio and television sales managers with whom I consult. Each week, these sales managers ask (and answer) a few questions in order to monitor their individual progress and that of their staff members, and that includes their ability to meet expectations. Remember, we have to "inspect what we expect" - yet who really "inspects" us as sales managers?
I assure you that, if you take this test at the end of the week for the next four weeks, you too will be more focused on your job - and you will begin to look for some the characteristics and tendencies suggested in these questions. Not only will this help you be a better leader/manager, but it also will help you hold yourself accountable to what really matters every day: developing your people and hitting your sales goals. This test should take you no longer than five minutes. Here goes!
1. Did you make an impact this week? Yes No
Specifically, what did you do? Are you spending your time in the field with your sales reps at least 50-60 percent of your time? Are you hitting the bullpen every night and asking your people whom they saw today and whom they sold? Just as important, are you asking them whom they will sell tomorrow?
2. Are your sales reps focused? Yes No
How do you know? The acid test is: Do your reps know your goals for the sales department? The next time you get a chance, ask the top people on your sales force to name the three most important things for the staff to accomplish. Those top three things should roll right off their lips. If they don't, then maybe you are not communicating the overall goals and focus of the department.
3. Is each member of your team meeting or exceeding your expectations? Yes No
If not, who is that person - and what are you doing to make sure that person will exceed your expectations? Do team members know your expectations? Do you have specific standards or performance for the sales department? Define them, and then hold your reps accountable.
4. Give one instance of when you led by example this week.
Are you the first one in and last one to leave the office? Some managers are late for their own sales meetings. You set the pace of the sales department not only in energy but also in productivity!
5. Give me one example of how you provided your team with a blast of energy and excitement this week.
At the end the day, you personally recognize someone for an outstanding order today. Play the music, beat the drums, and pump up your people. Remember, you control their energy by the energy you bring to the department.
6. Are you going to hit this month's numbers? Yes No
If not, why not? Remember, when you settle for second-best or mediocrity once, you tend to settle for it the rest of your life. Don't set a precedent by accepting excuses from your salespeople. If you're going to be fired, never let it happen because your salespeople didn't perform.
7. Give a brief description of your accomplishments this week as a sales team.
Did you have a phone blitz to set up new appointments? Was there a sales contest in which everybody participated and sold five new accounts? In other words, what are you doing to make your staff a cohesive selling machine 260 days a year? Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over with the expectation of different results. Take this test for the next four weeks, and monitor your behavior change. You will gain new insights into more than your leadership style; you will also gain a new focus and you will learn to celebrate not only the big wins but the small ones, too.