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 Sales Leadership Tip Minimize

Sales Leadership Tip – Close the loop with your team often
Here’s a simple observation.  In the 30-plus years that I have been involved in knowledge-based sales, I have heard 1,231,954 sales war stories (but who’s counting).  Every story splashed with sales brilliance.  Late in the evening, these epic tales of conquest, swashbuckling sagas of orders saved, and harrowing chronicles of perfect execution flow like the beer which fuels them.  So what’s the point, not a single story relates to a tragic sales blunder.  Sales folk don’t like to revisit their mistakes.

A good sales leader directs the study of great victories, staggering defeats and everything in between.  These sessions offer coaching opportunities and insight into the strengths and weaknesses of various team members.  Close the loop by scheduling a short one-on-one meeting with each of your sales team members as often as practicable (I like bi-weekly).  The meeting should be scheduled and “semi-formal”- passing in the hallway or at the coffee pot doesn’t work.

Here is a sample meeting agenda:

  • New prospective sales in the future (30-60-90-180 days out)
  • Activities scheduled for the coming week/month
  • Orders closed / lost in the past week/month
  • Service after the order
  • Issues hindering new growth
  • Coaching moment (where The Sales Leadership Subscription come into play)

It is important that you maintain detailed notes in order to track the flow of prospective sales from first visibility to order closure.  By tracking these activities you can gage the ability of the sales person to actively prospect and target.  One of our clients had a salesperson who was very good act identifying potential business, unfortunately a large percentage of that business was price driven and not profitable for his organization.  By providing continued coaching on the ideal customer type and targeting, his leader was able to refocus prospecting efforts and turn the situation around.

How to put The Sales Leadership Subscription into play
Each month’s disk from The Sales Leadership Subscription covers a critical element of the selling process.   The value of using this program is that each of these carefully crafted sessions comes with tools for building on the material.  It’s your reinforcement that makes the difference.  Otherwise, the key points covered stand a good chance of drifting off into nowhere.  Discussing the points brings the information back to front and center.  And, asking about how your team intends to use the points in the next week – makes them real.

Let’s look at an example from our presentation – The Right Guy.  In the presentation we talk about the dangers of being relegated to the Purchasing Department.  We make the strong point to say – rarely if ever are Purchasing Agents the “Right Guy”. 
Sample Leadership Discussion
Leader  Barry, remember that section on Purchasing Departments in last weeks discussion?  As you think of your accounts, do we deal with any Purchasing Department people (Buyer, PA, Procurement, or Crib Manager)?
Salesperson You know I think we deal with a Purchasing Agent at the Acme Cement Company.  But he seems to really appreciate our service.
Leader Have you ever made contact with other people at Acme?


Oh I see the truck drivers every time I go out there, they tell me we are really great about getting them back on the road before the cement starts to set up.
Leader Do you know the guy who is responsible for all the trucks?
Salesperson I think I saw him once or twice, but I haven’t really officially called on him.
Leader Hey why don’t you stop in and give him one of your business cards and a couple of our service magnets – the one with our phone number for emergency response.
Salesperson OK, I will try to do that next visit.
Leader Good, I am making a note to follow up with you in two weeks.  Do you think you will have a chance to do that by then?
Salesperson Yeah, for sure I am heading that way next Tuesday.

In this short conversation, we pulled this key factor from a presentation and reinforced it.  Then we set our expectations and got agreement with a time.  This is what I call a smart goal.  But that is a different time together.

If you aren’t using The River Heights Sales Leadership Subscription, drop us a line.  We’ll be happy to tell you how your team can benefit.  Companies with a sales process are 30% more successful in their sales efforts.

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