The challenge facing many organisations today is finding the right salespeople. Finding competent and reliable sales staff. This is nothing new, this struggle has been around for decades. Now put in finding the right Sales Manager to lead these teams and its almost an impossible task to fulfill. Why you might ask? The answer is very simple.
Sales according to the experts is one of the most challenging, stressful and ever-changing careers to choose. It stretches every conceivable way of thinking and operating. You need to constantly be on your toes, be abreast with industry standards, and what the clients want and need. This changes almost daily and as a Salesperson you need to stay up to date. As a Sales Manager your mammoth task is to lead, educate, envision the blueprints and then assist with this execution, and once you have achieved this one month you need to start all over again. The goal posts are continually moving, and the stretching is ever constant.
This career started way back when, when those that could not study further for whatever reason fell into this career. The wasn’t any formal training, if you were lucky you got some product training and company insight and then you were expected to fly. The sad thing is that this hasn’t really changed much. I have worked with many organisations in a variety of industries and the formula is the same. The new salesperson starts, they are put on the standard company induction, given product training, meet and greet the departments and off you go, fly birdie fly! Sound familiar?
The onus is often put on the Sales Manager to get the person up and running, however the raw truth here is that the Sales Manager grew through the ranks in the same environment, they who were promoted because of their ability to sell and meet targets and NOT for their leadership strengths is now expected to teach, lead, coach and groom the team to fly and then keep flying month after month. When you as a Sales Manager were never groomed or coached yourself this becomes a case of blind leading the blind doesn’t it?
I started like this, I became a very bad Manager because I never had the example nor the tools and during this 8-week course I hope to help you over some very common hurdles. To empower you as the Sales Manager to grow in confidence because you will have a set of tools to fall back on, you will have a tried and tested methodology that I have lived over the last 27 years and now coach it to see the transformations in a list of organisations. You can become with self-actualisation and practice a Sales Manager that truly leads with a plan, understand where the pitfalls are and know how to overcome them when they arise, and they will.
I want to be real with you and share real stories and experiences with you in my blogs and in my e-course the “The Faces of a Sales Manager”. In my course I will share some victories and many many failures, and I will do the same inmy video sessions. I believe that we learn best when we see how others have overcome their challenges, experience their victories, this will encourage you to step into that for yourself.
So, when I say I know that Sales is tough and Sales Management is tougher, let’s go back many years. I ended up in Sales because what I studied just wasn’t making ends meet. Although I could brag and say I worked for myself this was just not sustainable long term. I then decided to try my luck at Sales. Afterall you could write your own cheque, couldn’t you? Well my first taste of sales was in recruitment, and OMW was it a tough industry, I was a glorified Telesales person headset and all. I failed and failed and failed. I went home crying each and every night feeling like a complete failure, after every no and slammed down phone in my ear I decided that I just couldn’t do it, I was not cut out for sales it was just too hard.
I was one of the few that was blessed with a caring good Manager at the time. She sat with me day in and day out and eventually when I was at my darkest asked me what I needed most.
At the time I was 7 months pregnant with my second child, but we didn’t have a washing machine. My nightly duty when I got home over and above the usual mommy/wife stuff was to dump the washing in the bath and stomp it with my feet till it was clean. Then wring it out and walk the heavy, waterlogged washing to the wash line to hang. This was a mission, so to answer the question, I needed a washing machine desperately. I was asked what make and model, colour etc My answer was anyone would do, do you know how heavy waterlogged washing is? That was not the point, I needed to choose, I needed to dream, and I needed to make a decision. I was given the task to go shopping and choose, and I did. When I informed her the very next day the exact washing machine, I chose was standing in my office with a bright red bow on it. I would be mine if I made a stretch target. Well to end the story, I made it, never mind my normal target, I exceeded the stretch target. What happened there was a few things:
The power of uncovering the why is powerful, it breaks barriers and it transforms people into what they were intended to do. This however takes time, it takes perseverance, it takes a Manager to see potential and then unlock it. You see my Manager at the time believed I could sell, she believed that I could beat records and she just unlocked that in me because I couldn’t. That is what differentiates a Sales Manager from a Great Leader. Anybody can be a Sales Manager and carry the title, but a Great Leader reads their team, understands what they need, knows what drives them and helps them realise this for themselves. Its more than just sitting with them to hear about their week, unpacking the numbers or going on calls with them. It is knowing how to uncover their why and then holding them accountable to it.
The crazy thing here is that you need to know your why first, if you are not able to uncover yours and live yours how on earth are you going to help your team do it. You will notice that I always start with introspection, self-evaluation, looking at yourself first. If you cannot be honest with yourself how are you going to do it with anyone else. So, before you can begin to use the power of the why with your team this needs to be unlocked, realised and lived with you first. The why is a golden thread that runs through every aspect of life and once you have come to realise how it drives everything around you, you will begin to notice its power at work. Let’s look at our clients
Why do they buy what they buy?
Why do they choose a specific service provider?
Because their why question has been solved. We often talk in sales lingo about uncovering the need, well the need is the why!
You see by uncovering and understanding the WHY for yourself, for your team and your clients you begin to impact your world and the world around you. You become an atmosphere changer, you become a Leader that impacts other. You become a leader that gives those that you are leading a reason, a destiny and an identity.
Work becomes more that a job it becomes a vehicle to change people’s circumstances, the way they think and alter their mindsets to positive instead of negative.
By unlocking this your team will see you as a Leader that’s invested in them as a person instead of a tool that meets the bottom-line. People want to be seen, they want to be appreciated, to be treated as individuals and by helping them see who they are first you begin the domino effect in building your teams identity and changing their future for the better.
If there is one thing you take from my blog, it’s this. Uncovering the why for yourself first, then your team and lastly for your clients you will set a foundation of success that breeds success in every area of your life and those that you lead and work with. People are tired of being a number, they are also not sure of their identities nor of the reasons they do what they do. This you can bring to life with them and change the way people view themselves.
Be a positive influence in a very negative world.
Be a leader that invests in the team they were trusted to lead
Begin changing an entire organisation one team member at a time and I guarantee you the other departments will begin to question what you have done differently and follow suite.