Principles of Sales Management, Part 2

This month I detail the second half of the 16 principles of sales management. Remember, the sales manager’s job is to give his or her people the help they need to be successful. A strong sales staff equals a successful store.

  • Catch them doing something right. The main reason salespeople leave positions is that they don’t feel successful. Let your people know what they’re doing right. Positive feedback should be 10 times the amount of negative feedback. Providing positive feedback on a regular basis makes it easier to deliver negative feedback when necessary.

  • Don’t settle for the status quo. An effective sales manager is never completely satisfied with the performance of his or her sales staff. Unless they’re maintaining a closing ratio average of over 50 percent and regularly exceeding your goals, there’s room for improvement. If they’re just maintaining their performance levels, then they are, in effect, getting worse. Have the mind-set that your people can always make both higher-quality sales and more of them.

  • Know your people well enough to motivate them individually. People are inspired by different factors. Some are motivated by money, others by praise or status. Make it your business to know what will inspire each staffer to reach for higher levels of performance, and then go ahead and inspire them.

  • Be firm but fair. Sales management by exception doesn’t work with the vast majority of people. You must treat people equally and fairly. If one person is written up for an offense, then anyone else who commits the same offense must be treated the same.

  • Give them quality time. Some sales managers are too busy performing the other functions of their jobs to pay attention to their salespeople. To be effective, delegate some duties and responsibilities and manage your time well enough to allow for quality time with your people. I suggest you schedule individual weekly meetings that last 10 to 15 minutes, in addition to your regular sales meetings.

  • Business is business. To maintain a professional business relationship with your sales staff, avoid personal relationships. If you do have a personal relationship with someone, keep it separate during business hours. Otherwise the rest of the staff will feel as though they’re being treated differently or not receiving the same attention your friend is getting.

  • Let them know what’s expected. People want to know exactly what’s required of them. Tell them your expectations for all areas of their position, including sales goals, operational tasks, customer service standards, and policies and procedures. Be as specific as possible.

  • Make it fun. Make your store an enjoyable place to work. You want your people to get up in the morning wanting to come to work and reach their performance targets and goals. Through positive feedback, training, coaching, contests, games, and knowing each of your people individually, you can make it fun for them.

Remember A successful sales staff is completely trained, working toward objectives, held accountable for performance, and rewarded based on results.