The paperclips didn't need a sales pitch. Neither do your clients.


Employee Motivation

by Admin 1. March 2012 18:11
I often get questions about motivating employees. My overall belief is, "you can’t motivate anyone to do anything, just give them an opportunity to motive themselves". That being said what do you do to give them an opportunity to motivate themselves?

As a business owner, you don't want employees who are only motivated to perform well so they can "win a prize". You want employees who are motivated to perform well every day, no matter what carrot you're dangling in front of them.

What you really need is a team of employees who are emotionally invested in your company. A feeling of ownership. To cultivate that, you need family support. No amount of job awards can out-influence the home front. You can offer praise and gifts left and right, but you won't see much improvement in your employees performance if she goes home to a partner who says, "How much longer are you going to work there if you’re not happy?"

Please don’t mis-understand, I'm not suggesting that your employees need to have a love affair at work. It's just that the men and women your employees go home to at night that have the power to motivate (or de-motivate) far better and faster than you could.

Here's the key to winning over an employee's family: Start from day one. The first thing your newly hired staff member will likely hear from a significant other when he gets home is, "How was your first day?" If he spent it mostly filling out a three-foot stack of forms, ordering his own business cards and eating lunch alone, he might rightfully answer: "Lousy." His better half will quickly get down on your company, too, and hardly encourage the top-notch performance you want to see.

There's a full-proof way to get employees, and their loved ones at home, excited about working for your company from day one. First, really make them feel welcome. We want to be liked and accepted. Start a new employee program at your company. Have all employees (depending on the size of your organization) make a point through out that first day to stop and say hello to the new employee and welcome them. I also really like the idea of a sign at the front door that says, “Welcome Jane Smith We are glad you are here”. Additionally a welcome cake at lunch for all to stop by and enjoy is a great idea as well.

So, what happens if your new recruit comes home with a great story about his amazing first day? His better half will realize the opportunity he has—she'll become the ultimate motivator, rather than detractor.

Keep in mind, there are many definitions of family. Your new employee may be single (or soon to be). It's your mission to find out who makes up his or her support system and give accordingly. Perhaps it's a gift card for a night out with pals or a matinee with mom.

When your employees hear daily words of encouragement from their closest confidantes like, "I can't believe how lucky you are to be working for that guy!" their motivation rises to levels you've never tapped before. It's worked for me in all of my companies. And even if you can't afford more than a home-baked cake or thank-you card, giving your new employees a best first day ever is the key to keeping them motivated for years to come.

There are so many statistics about how much better and more productive your employees are when they feel good about working for you. We spend lots of money to recruit, and hire a new team member. Lets not forget their value after they are hired.

Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business SELLutions in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of "To Sell is Not to Sell" and a columnist for business journals around the country. Greta does corporate training for Fortune 1000 companies and she has an on-line training course for entrepreneurs.

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A Great Salesperson is Not Your Best Manager

by Admin 6. February 2012 16:43

The most common questions I think I get, hands down, are: “Greta, where do I find a good sales manager?” or “Who on our team do you think would be a good manager?” Most of the time, they take their best salesperson and promote him, or they take somebody who has been in the field or sold before and hire her. What happens? Well, I’ll tell you: More often than not, it’s unsuccessful. To illustrate why, I’m going to tell you a story about Evan.

I work with a very prominent, high-end Web design company, one of the largest in the country. It has a wonderful reputation, and its salespeople are skilled, though they needed to learn some process. So the company hired me about a year and a half ago.

The sales manager they had was absolutely fabulous at sales – one of the best I’ve seen. And when I taught them my sales process, most of them – and certainly him – took to the process like a duck to water. The sales manager, named Don, took this process and made it his own. He totally got it, he understood it and he started selling like nobody’s business.

Well that’s great, but how were the others doing? They weren’t really hitting their potential. Why? Because they weren’t really being managed. Now, don’t get me wrong. Don was one of the best salesmen I’ve ever seen, but management and sales are two completely different things. So the owner and I sat down and talked. I said: “You know, I think you are holding Don back by making him a sales manager. He could be not only your top salesperson, but he could make a heck of a lot more money, and I don’t think he enjoys what he’s doing.” He said: “Well, what do you think we should do?”

Now, before I talk to you about Evan, I want to tell you a little bit about how the organization works. They have salespeople who will go out, cultivate the business, gather it, get it to a point where they have some technical conversation ready to happen, and then they have what they call “business consultants” come in to talk more on the technical side. That being said, their salespeople and their business consultants were both involved in my training and both learned the process.

But Evan, who was a business consultant, learned the process inside and out. Why? In my opinion, it’s because he’s a real process-oriented guy. Most salespeople believe whatever they want to believe, but Evan believes one plus one equals two.

So, when I suggested to the owner, Jeff, that he should make Evan the sales director, he almost fell over. He looked at me like I had three heads, and told me that Evan had never been in sales before. I said that’s precisely it. What I meant was that most of us think incorrectly about what we need in a sales manager.

A sales manager does not need to be the best salesperson because, unless you can teach someone through osmosis how to sell, that particular skill is not transferrable unless it is taught and accounted for. Even if they could articulate it, it really doesn’t make any difference because it can’t be repeatable and made accountable for unless it has steps to follow. Here is why Evan is a good sales leader:

  • Strong coaching. He could coach because he didn’t have his ego all tied up in “when I was a salesperson, this is what I would do.” He was a coach because he understood that coaching through a particular process allows for repeatable, accountable success and a clear understanding of what went wrong if a sale isn’t made.
  • It takes leadership. A leader is somebody who doesn’t tell someone what to do, but asks questions and gets them to realize what they should do. Evan was very skilled at this because the most intelligent people are the ones who ask, not tell. When someone self-discovers an answer to a question, it becomes theirs. When it is theirs, they learn.
  • Keeping people accountable. This is the one that most sales managers miss on. Because they will allow a salesperson to say everything looks good when nothing is happening. So, the proper way to manage a sales group is by keeping them accountable by the activities they do. Coach them through each step of the sales process to get closer to the next step in the process, which is closer to the close.

After pondering this for a month or two, Geoff decided to make Evan a sales director for about 90 days to see how it went on both sides. It’s almost a year later, and it had to be the best decision they ever made. In one year, they went from $3.5 million in revenue to more than $5 million. I think I can take some credit for that, but Evan can take much more of the credit for keeping them accountable, coaching and leading them to success.

So, how are you going to find your next sales manager?

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A Few of Greta Schulz's Favorite Questions to Ask Prospects

by GSchulz 5. April 2011 17:59
My favorite questions*;

"What do you find as your biggest challenges when it comes to______?

"If you could create a new way of doing ______ with no restrictions what would you do and why?"

"Today is April 6, 2011, if it was April 6 2012 and you said it has been a great your, what would have to have happened for you to say that?

*Depending upon what you sell and to whom are;

**Remember the best questions are the ones that create thought in the other person and are about what it is that they think about, not about how they might use your product or service. Click here to share this post.

Ask Questions, Don't Read Minds

by GSchulz 5. April 2011 15:56
Well James, you certainly have an interesting product,” the prospect said after an hour long meeting. James was confused. He wasn’t sure if this guy was trying to give him the cold shoulder or if he really was interested in the product.

“I’m sorry. When you say ‘interesting,’ what exactly do you mean?” James asked innocently. “I mean just that. It’s very well designed and planned out. I see so many places in our company where we could really benefit from putting it into play.

”James was still slightly confused. “Oh, okay. Where exactly do you have in mind?”  "At first glance, we could definitely use it on the front end,” the prospect replied.

“What made you think of that?” James continued, still trying to catch on to his prospects’ train of thought. “I’m just remembering the difficult time we normally have collecting on outstanding accounts. Your product could easily cut our overdue accounts from 120 days to 90 days at least. That would lift a huge load off of our cash flow.”

“So you think just one would be necessary then, for your front office?” James asked. “Just one!? No way! We would need at least two right away. Our field specialists could cut the time they spend on paperwork in half if they had something like this to use,” the prospect answered excitedly.

Quick question for you – who exactly sold the product between James and his prospect above? All James did was ask questions, and what came of his efforts? Every salesperson’s dream prospect – a self-qualifier.

James could’ve very easily pushed this prospect away by doing what every other salesperson does: agree and hope the prospect keeps talking. Unfortunately, this commonly results in the salesperson keeping the conversation alive by filling in with meaningless “salesy” statements, ultimately loosing their opportunity with the prospect.

So what did James do to keep the sale alive? He asked questions! When James didn’t fully understand where the prospect was going with a statement, he asked him to explain.

I know what you’re thinking. It sounds too good to be true. But think about it. If someone cares enough about you to ask questions to make sure they fully understand your needs, won’t that make you feel more confident in the products/services they’re offering? Of course!

So here’s what you do. The next time you’re with a prospect and he compliments your product, instead of answering with the typical “thank you,” ask why he is offering the compliment. His answer will help you learn why this prospect is interested in your product. And when he explains why he likes your product, he’ll be fortifying his reasons to buy. He’ll self-realize that he needs what you have to offer.

Remember, no one believes what you tell them…they believe what you ask them. If you could turn a prospect on the edge into a self-qualifier by just asking a few simple questions, is that something you’d be interested in doing? Click here to share this post.

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