IN THIS TRAINING YOU'LL LEARN:
AGENCY / CARRIER RELATIONSHIPS
Employees are your greatest expense, but they are also your most valuable asset. The loss of great or even just a "good" employee has a tremendous effect on the agency. How do you manage employees according to their style while giving them a sense of place and accomplishment? Follow these rules of management success.
If you employ salespeople (or will in the future), you've got sales management problems.
Although I can't even begin to provide a full analysis of the solutions to sales management problems in a single email, there are several fundamental, important things we can discuss that will help you have more productive relationships with your salespeople, your distributors, or your franchisees.
But first, remember that salespeople are people, so there are any number of problems that they can have at various times that will negatively affect their performance and productivity - fears, insecurities, laziness, depression, personal, and family problems, financial problem, health problems, automobile problems - all these things become factors affecting your business when you market through salespeople.
This is probably one of the reasons for the validity of the 80/20 principle in sales organizations. This principle says that 80% of the sales come from 20% of the reps and 80% of the problems come from 20 of the reps. As long as it's not the same 20%, you're in good shape (and it rarely is).
You'll actually be dealing with 3 distinctly different situations.
Most managers postpone cutting the inadequate performer much longer than they should.
Once an individual has demonstrated his unwillingness or inability to perform effectively in your business, you do no one any favors by letting him hang on.
In fact, firing this person is the best thing you can do for him. He'll probably be more relieved than anything else and will now be free to find an employment situation that is somehow better matched to his personality.
It's also the best thing you can do for your own sanity, as well as for the organization. A firing now and again in an organization is a vivid reminder that unsatisfactory performance will not be tolerated.
I have a poster hidden in one of my offices that says, “You should never try to teach a pig to sing - it only annoys the pig and you get covered with mud in the attempt.”
The point is that there are some people burdened with such a combination of negative attitudes and experiences that turning them into winners is much more trouble than it's worth.
Second - motivating the average salesperson.
Management's toughest and most important job is the collection of accurate information about what's actually going on out there on the sales battlefield.
So first, you need to obtain detailed, frequent reporting from your salespeople so that you can analyze and identify:
Some sales managers like to use special contests and incentive programs to motivate and reward their salespeople. I think the overall results of such programs are disappointing to management, more often than not, and I believe I've identified one common error in structuring these programs.
Many contests and incentives base the winning on end results, such as sales volume, number of accounts, et cetera. However, for a contest to serve multiple purposes - to motivate, to teach, to affect behavioral changes in the salespeople - it should focus more on the activities that produce desirable results than on the results themselves.
For example, contest points might better be based on the number of complete presentations made to qualified prospects than on the number of new accounts put on the books.
One of the best things management can do for most salespeople is to force the team’s analysis and accountability of their own time use. Most salespeople waste enormous amounts of time and are notoriously poor time managers.
I like to see salespeople log and account for the use of their time in 15 minute increments. The result is an honest representation of how much of their time is actually being used to sell, to produce results. Often even a small improvement in a salesperson's productive time use can result in significant sales increases.
The bottom line though is that the only real motivation is Self Motivation. You cannot take control of someone else's thinking, motivate them and keep them motivated purely through your external influence. The motivation that helps a sales professional achieve peak performance comes mostly from within.
Your fastest results come from coaching top performers to do even better.
And then there are the high performers producing about 80% of the positive results who are mostly ignored by management.
Most managers spend way too much time on the poor performer and too little time with their high performers. However, if you're looking for a prompt increase in sales, a good way to get it is to divert some attention from the mediocre group to the high performance group. It's much easier to coach a successful person to even better performance than to get a mediocre performer to begin succeeding.
As a manager or a business owner, you should concentrate on providing an environment and an opportunity where every person can develop that self motivation and a set of good business tools for the motivated performer’s use.
Now let's review the quick tips for improving the productivity of your sales organization:
Two Warnings for those with Sales Teams
Marketing through salespeople is necessary in certain businesses and desirable in many others, but it does require a great commitment to supervision and coaching.
Getting salespeople to effectively prospect for new business is often a big problem. Prospecting is hard work. It often involves a lot of refusal and rejection and can be very discouraging.
If you can develop a company managed Lead Development program to provide salespeople with pre-qualified prospective customer leads, that's the very best marketing strategy you could have. Consider space advertising, mail, telemarketing, exhibiting, or a combination of these methods to develop qualified leads for your sales force.
But a word of caution - If you do provide leads to salespeople, then insist on reporting results. Most companies would probably be shocked to learn how poor their follow-up on qualified leads actually is.
I kept count one year, and from both trade shows and mailed in reply cards, I inquired about products or services to over 300 companies. Surprisingly less than 30, less than 10% of these firms, ever followed up with an in-person or telephone contact.
The sad fact is that most companies do a better job of collecting prospects than they do of selling to them, so salespeople who are given prospects must be required to report back on the results obtained.
If you operate a lead collection and distribution program on a large scale, you need some method of randomly checking with the prospects directly to verify that your reps ever contacted them.
If you are dispensing leads to independent reps, distributors, or franchisees, and cannot legally require accountability, then I advise you to sell, not give, the leads to the marketing people.
I also caution against abdicating too much marketing responsibility to their sales force.
I do not believe that it is necessary or advisable to sacrifice direct contact between company and customer in order to market through Salesforce. The customer still needs some communication from the company and an opportunity to directly contact the company if they’re dissatisfied in any way by answers or information being provided by the salesperson.
You might want to consider such ideas as:
So, consider a company directed program of obtaining qualified prospects to furnish to your salespeople. And if you do distribute prequalified leads, demand reporting of results.
And if you choose the newsletter route, that can act as both a Lead Development tool as well as a direct Company-To-Customer line of communication.
Remember that the tone of your voice often conveys more accurately what is in your mind than do your words.
In a moment of conflict, a suggestion or compromise can salvage a threatened working relationship. A discouraged employee can be motivated again through a few carefully chosen words. In situations like these, a good manager is looking beyond an immediate situation and acting to preserve a future benefit. But if your voice betrays your own anger, fear, or despair, that emotion, not the wisdom you offer, will be what others remember. Those who rise to the top in any organization are those who have learned to control their emotions. When you have a leadership position, others will watch you closely for the signals you send. You must learn to manage yourself and all the ways in which you convey messages to others if you want to inspire them and demonstrate that you care about all the members of your team.
New Agency Owners Guides
New Agency Owners Guides