If you invested approximately 1,820 hours over five years to earn a black belt just to break into sales management, would you have been a better sales manager when you took over your first sales department? Most probably we all would have. Thats what it took me to achieve one black belt in martial arts. This short black belt course will give you some techniques as a sales manager for you to strive to achieve your business black belt.
1. White Belt: This is where everyone starts in martial arts -- plain and simple. Do you have a vision, that combination of self-knowledge, knowledge of your company, and your short- and long- term goals? If you dont, then maybe youll still stumble to some success, but dont fool yourself. Ask your top three sales reps what your department's vision, and what your sales department's standards, are. If they dont know, its time they do. More importantly, as their leader, do you have a vision and do you know where you want to take your sales department?
2. Hire: Its human nature to root for the underdog. Going into Super Bowl week, its easy to root for the Baltimore Ravens. However, underdogs usually get their tails kicked. The surest way to win every time is to hire people better than yourself who will out-perform your competitors.
3. Create Balance and Harmony: Do you use antiquated daily call reports (DCRs) or weekly planners? Seventy-six percent of DCRs are fictitious. If you do use daily call reports, make sure you look at them and provide feedback -- especially positive feedback where you see your reps succeed. On the other hand, weekly planners allow you to monitor productivity before it happens versus legislate it. If executed properly, a good account management system gives you a screening system to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. True balance and harmony in the sales department comes from an effective intelligence network that you execute as opposed to just paying lip service to it.
4. Building a Winning Team: TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More! I have never had one sales budget achieved by one single individual who billed what the total sales goal was for the entire sales department for the month -- or year for that matter. Whether its a sales contest, a phone blitz to set up appointments, or carrying the weight of the sales department, it ultimately comes down to a team effort. Listen, everyone is dispensable. I have used the analogy of pulling your finger out of a cup of water to see what kind of a hole it leaves. I have tried it; there is no hole left. Keeping up morale and attitude is vital to building and keeping a winning team on top of their game!
5. Empower Your Employees with Weapons: What kind of weapons (tools) are we giving our reps in the field? With technology getting better and better, are you giving your reps the most cutting-edge tools? We have a property that has each sales rep with their own one page on their website that shows testimonials and creative from their successful clients. There is nothing more powerful than other clients telling your prospective prospects the success they will have by using your media company to sell their products. Its also a great way to promote your reps and it also gets prospective new reps in the market wanting to work for you because they know you care about your people.
6. Rewards and Recognition: Twenty-five percent of good sales people leave organizations every year because of a lack of recognition! Your first priority is to take care of your employees, which in effect will keep your customers coming back. Put your customers second? Absolutely. Its never the other way around.
7. Follow Your Bushido. The Japanese refer to it as Kaizen, the basic foundations on which all business in Japan is built. At the end of your next sales meeting, have everyone stand up, hold hands and repeat, In every day, in every way, never ceasing, never ending, always getting better one day at a time. It may seem weird to do this, but its a great way to build team unity.
Sean Luce is the Head International Instructor for the Luce Performance Group and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.