Managing Through The Hard Times

posted: Friday, June 21, 2019

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Things are not going well; sales are down, customers have stopped coming in and your salespeople are beginning to doubt themselves. Just as it is the responsibility of any good sales manager to help his sales force when things are going well, it’s even more important for managers to support their staff when times are tough.

We all know that it’s easier to be a coach or manager when things are going well, but it’s not more important. It’s when times are tough that the great sales managers show why they are great. So how do you get things back on track? Some of the answers are the same things you do when things are going well but with a different twist:

  • Practice: Take the time with each of your salespeople and practice and/or discuss the areas where they are struggling. This is not about punishment or pointing out weaknesses, it’s about helping your staff get better. If Mark is struggling with his product knowledge, then sit down with him and go over the products. If Stacy is having trouble closing sales, then role play with her.

  • Develop a plan: Practice is great, but it means nothing without a plan for improvement. Come up with a plan with specific details of how you are going to help your team improve as a whole, as well as a plan for how you are going to help everyone improve. Make sure the plan is clear and everyone involved understands their role within the plan.

  • Stay positive: Your staff knows they are struggling; they don’t need constant reminding. Focus on what they do well as you work together to improve. Don’t let your opinion enter into the conversation. You have to manage people based on the statistics. When talking to a member of your sales staff, focus on the actions that are causing the result, not just the result itself.

  • Reach out to your customers: Don’t be shy, reach out to your customers and ask them what special events they may have coming up. Ask them how about birthdays, anniversaries, matching items to what they had previously purchased, etc.

No one wants to struggle but it’s going to happen. It’s the nature of the business but if you have a plan and are willing to stay the course, then you and your staff will be achieving your goals again in no time.

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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