Lack of Sales? The Solution May Be Right Under Your Nose

Sales. What company doesn’t want more sales? Is the solution to finding them an external or internal thing? Is it the economy (an easy thing to blame), the sales staff, or something else?

Within a week I had conversations with two different groups of people about how to increase sales. One was a company I’m doing some consulting for, and the other a group of business owners with whom I get together with (not often enough!) to share thoughts and ideas.

In looking at how to increase sales, both groups were focused on how to find and hire good sales people. We talked about all sorts of ways of identifying people who would be great sales people. We talked about using various personality instruments and tests to determine the traits that make a great sales person. We talked about recruiting techniques, about interviewing, about resumes. But in the end, both groups seemed to be resigned to not being able to find and/or choose the exact right person who will be a sales superstar. The conclusion was that it’s practically impossible to identify someone who will be a high-performing sales person.

I heard comments like, “You just can’t find a good sales person. They just don’t seem to want to work hard enough. It’s like I have to do it all.”

After much discussion I wondered out loud, “Is it a matter of finding the right person, or a matter of managing the people you have to make them successful?” In both cases, the people I was talking to were open-minded enough to consider that as being a big factor, one that could make a big difference.

To quote Sheryl Crow in the song, Soak Up The Sun, “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.”

Could it be that the solution to finding the right sales superstar is right under your nose? Could it be that you already have the right sales person? Could it be that you need to manage that employee for success, for performance?

In a separate conversation, I asked a manager, “What motivates your sales people?” She looked at me with a blank stare. She had no idea. I asked, “What do you know about your people – and I mean, personally?” Another blank stare. This manager had little to no knowledge about her staff, about what could possibly motivate them to become high-performers.

A theme for many of my blog posts is centered around personal accountability and if you’ve read more than a few of my posts, I suspect you believe in that. If you didn’t take personal responsibility for what goes on around you, it’s likely I would have offended you by now and you wouldn’t be reading this! So, when I suggest that the lack of sales – or anything else for that matter, as I’m using sales as an example right now – is something that you need solve yourself, I suspect you’re already onside with me.

Is it a matter of finding that one-in-million superstar that does everything and more with absolutely no management whatsoever, or is it a matter of looking at yourself – and your company/team as a whole – and figure out how to make that individual or group successful?

Ahh, but one qualifier: I do believe that the person or people you’re managing has to want to be successful, has to want to managed for success. But that’s a topic for another day.

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