Observe and Listen To Your People

posted: Friday, May 3, 2013

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Too many Sales Managers were great salespeople who think they should be behind a desk. Great Sales Managers spent at least 80% of their time on the sales floor, listening to presentations, directing traffic, taking turn-overs, doing take-overs, etc. Too often the sales manager gets caught up in the demands of a management position. Before you know it, you have lost touch with your salespeople and the things that made you a great salesperson. The most important job of a sales manager is making sure that the salespeople they supervise are as successful as they can be. But how do you know how they are doing? A Sales Manager has to react to facts, and not opinions. The only way to know the facts is through statistics and listening in on presentations.

If a sales manager is going to effectively help their salespeople, then they have to know what’s going on, and the best way to do that is to be involved. It’s hard to see the sales floor from the back room. There’s nothing wrong with listening in on the presentations of your sales staff, it is not spying. On the contrary, it is an effective tool for both the manager and the salespeople. As a matter of fact, I believe it should be mandatory that a sales manager listen in on a minimum of three presentations per week.

Just by listening to three presentations a week, you will be able to offer small pieces of advice that will make all the difference to that salesperson. Additionally, the manager will be able to give the salesperson the positive feedback that they deserve and expect. Everyone wants to know when they do a great job; through listening in you will be able to praise them based on actual situations. You may see or hear something that a salesperson is doing that would be beneficial to the rest of your staff. The only way to offer tips and learn those types of things is to get out on the floor.

In addition to the obvious benefits of being visible, being out on the floor is also good for morale. If your staff sees you on the floor, working with the staff, then they are going to work harder for you. They are going to want to succeed for a manager that has shown that they care about his/her salespeople. If a sales staff never sees a sales manager and only gets instructions on paper, then apathy is eventually going to set in. It’s the old attitude: if the boss doesn’t care, then why should I.

Sales managers are in that position because presumably they have something to offer, but you can’t offer that from the office in the back of the store. Get out on the floor and be a resource for your staff, it will benefit everyone.

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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