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  • Can This Sales Manager Be Saved?

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

     

    Last year, I was coaching a business owner who was constantly complaining about her sales manager. When asked, the owner explained that they initially let the new sales manager do as he wished because they didn’t want to hinder his ability to lead. Upon further questioning, the owner said that the manager was never given any expectations or a list of what success looks like for their job. It was really no wonder that the sales manager wasn’t doing everything the owner expected. It was never explained to him what she expected.

    Not every problem is ever solved too easily and this was no exception. At this point, the manager had been working at doing whatever he pleased for more than 6 months, and as the owner tried to work with him on what was expected of him, instead of agreement, they were butting heads. The owner was complaining to me about everything the manager was doing wrong, the things the manager seemed to be intentionally not doing, and how the manager kept messing up despite being told how to do things over and over.

    It was almost Christmas when the owner decided that she needed to fire the manager, but didn’t want to do it over the holidays, so decided she would do it the beginning of January. Yikes! The manager’s job was on the line if things didn’t change fast.

    At this point, we started working on Navigate, the book by my business partners Dustin Hillis and Steve Reiner. This involved figuring out the sales manager’s personality type so that the owner could lead him how he would like to be lead. In the discussion, we discovered that the sales manager was a Counselor personality type while the business owner was a Fighter. These are two completely different personality types. While Fighters do have very good traits, under stress, the Fighter tends to make demands and only focus on what people are doing wrong. The exact opposite is the Counselor, who under stress tends to clam up and become almost passive aggressive.

    It was a hard pill to swallow but our business owner decided to sit down with the manager and see the world through a Counselor’s eyes. Counselors tend to be all about making sure that everyone is happy. They have an opinion but they aren’t going to share it when they feel under attack. Counselor personality types can be some of the best team players as long as they feel that they are truly an integral part of the team.

    It was an “aha” moment for our business owner as she realized that when she was selling, she always “navigated” people’s personality styles, but when it came to running her company, she never felt that she needed to “work that hard.” In reality, once you make leading the way others like to lead a habit, it becomes second nature to you.

    Good news! Almost immediately the relationship between the business owner and her sales manager did a complete 180-degree turn. They started having Personal Conferences (one-on-one meetings) every week, and they were able to communicate well because the owner started leading the Counselor the way he wanted to be lead.

    In the last 7 months, the owner has expanded her business into other cities, and she says she couldn’t have done this without her sales manager doing a fabulous job and running the company at home.

    The moral of this story is that all leaders should keep in mind that ultimately you are responsible for the actions or inactions of those you lead. The next time you want to complain about anyone on your team, first look in the mirror to see where you can change to be a better leader for your people. The speed of the leader is truly the speed of the team.

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • You wouldn’t let your parents do it. Why do you do it?

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

     

    Karen is a successful sales manager with a problem. Her leaders never seem to step up in their leadership roles. She wants to trust that they are doing their job but then when their teams aren’t performing, she finds herself needing to step in and work with her leader’s sales team members.

    What? Hold on a minute? How do you think this story ends?

    Well, it wasn’t ending well and it was causing endless frustration for Karen as well as wasting hours and hours of her time.

    Unfortunately, Karen is only one of many clients who face this issue and does not understand why I suggest that she stop leading over her leaders. But think about it. Any parent will tell you that they don’t appreciate their own parents stepping in and trying to parent the grandkids. There isn’t a parent I know who won’t quickly stand up and matter-of-factly ask their parents to ‘butt out’. ‘These are my kids and I will parent them how I see fit!’

    parents grandparents

    Can you relate? Or maybe you are a leader of a team and your immediate leader continues to step over you and lead your team. How does that make you feel?

    There are 3 main issues with this.

    First, when you lead over your leaders, it demoralizes them on the inside. By leading over them, you are telling them that you don’t think that they can do their job. When people don’t think that you believe in them, then they aren’t going to try as hard. Why should they, after all, won’t you be stepping in and doing the heavy lifting for them.

    The second issue is that you are sending a signal to the people of your leader that your leader isn’t really skilled enough to be your leader and then all respect flies out the window. The leadership power is washed away leaving your leader with a title but no one who really respects them. After all, if they aren’t getting their way, all they need to do is call you, right? You like how important you feel when you are able to step in and save the day, but instead of really helping, you are now hurting all 3 of you.

    I had one client who was learning how to be a better leader and went to apologize to one of their leaders for what they have been doing. The leader accepted their apology and explained that every time the leader went over his head to work with his team, he felt embarrassed. You can imagine the shock of my coaching client who had previously described that leader as an ‘arrogant know-it-all’. The guy wasn’t that bad but was simply reacting to the situation that my client caused.

    The third issue is that leading over your leaders is that it causes a ‘gossip triangle’. I have seen it become a time-consuming he-said-she-said that can waste hours, if not days, of everyone trying to solve disagreements and hurt feelings. Team members aren’t dumb. They quickly learn how to play the game that kids often learn to play ‘parent-vs-parent’. If the leaders aren’t showing a united front and letting the leaders lead only their direct reports, then they can be pitted against each other on a regular basis which will stagnate growth and cause division within the ranks.

    So what is the solution?

    First, if you find yourself guilty on all counts, then you need to have a private conversation with your leader. Begin with apologizing. Let them know that you didn’t realize what you have been doing and how you were inadvertently neutralizing them as a leader. When you start this conversation with an apology, I’ve never seen it end badly. It usually ends up as it did with my client Bob with the manager who he was leading also being vulnerable and admitting how embarrassed or helpless they have been feeling.

    Second, you make an agreement that all issues with their team members will be immediately directed to the leader and you will partner together, if needed, to solve the issue, but all leadership of that team member will come from the right person in the chain-of-command. This also means that you need to be willing to let go of some control. The leader might make some ‘bad’ decisions as they learn how to really be a leader. It’s okay. It’s their team. You’re going to be there to partner with them so help them avoid making too many bad leadership decisions but it’s going to happen and you need to be okay with it and trust your leader.

    The third thing that you do is meet with the leader on a weekly basis at a scheduled time to discuss their team members and help them to think through how to best resolve any issues. We do this by asking instead of telling. I find that most leaders (including myself) want to just tell people how to do things. This is fine if they are new to the company (or new to leadership) and learning the ropes. For an experienced leader, it is better to ask questions to help your leader think through how to solve the problems on their own. People who are convinced against their will are of the same opinion still. If, however, you ask questions and get them to come to the appropriate conclusions, then they are convincing themselves and internalizing the lessons.

    Tired of always thinking that you are the only one who knows how to do anything? Then that is a sign that you are leading over your leaders and it’s time to take a new approach.

    Try it and please let me know how it goes!

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • Finding Purpose In Your Company

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    At the end of 2008 our company was in the third year of its business. It was a very difficult year. We were running our company at a huge deficit and we almost closed the doors. In January of 2009, as a company of 10 people, 8 of us got together for this meeting and asked ourselves these questions:

    Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 2.19.35 PM

     “Who are we?”

    “What do we want?”

    “What do we believe in?”

    “What do we stand for?”

    We got clear as a company on our values. We came to the realization that purpose precedes performance.

    If you or your team are not performing like you want them to be, if you have renegades, if you have low performance and bad attitudes, it’s most often the lack of vision. It’s the lack of clarity around your values and what you stand for as a company.

    As a leader, you have to help your people get really clear on what they must believe to be part of your organization. You have to be clear on the company values and non-negotiable beliefs.

    Ask yourself, “What do I stand for?” “What do we stand for as a company?” Find out what is nonnegotiable.

    Figure out the ways of behaving, the things that you believe in, that no matter what, you will all need to rally around. If you get clear and promote this in a very consistent way, and repeat it so it’s owned, you’ll get people marching in the same direction.

    People will start changing their behaviors because they have gotten clear on their beliefs! And if they don’t, they will eject themselves from the culture.  You’ll have a culture that is very much stronger with the performance and results that you want. 

    It is so important to find your purpose to perform your best. Has this been something you recently discovered, or even need help unfolding? I want to know! 

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • Control What You Can: Attitude and Effort

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    attitudeOften we get frustrated in life when we try to control things that we actually have no control over.

    We get frustrated when the traffic is bad and we are late to work.

    We get frustrated when somebody doesn’t buy from us, or they don’t show up for an appointment.

    We get frustrated all day long with little things that are happening, that we forget that we cannot actually control some of those things.

    What can we do to keep from feeling this way?

    There are only two things each day that you actually can control. Only two things!

    They are your attitude and your effort. That’s it!

    When something bad happens you control how you react to that something. You can control what attitude you choose to put on. Choose to put on a good one!

    You can also control how hard you work. How many hours you put in. You control how hard you work during those hours, how many phone calls you make, if you pick up the phone and dial again and again and again.

    There are things that you can influence, like how well you have a conversation. You can influence if somebody buys or not, but you can’t really control the outcome at all.

    You can control a lot of what you do in terms of how many appointments you set, etc. You can have a great amount of control over that. Two things we can work on controlling is how hard we work and our attitude.

    If you focus on controlling the “controllables,” controlling what you actually can control, and just surrender the rest, you will have a lot less frustration and a whole lot more peace!

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • The Two Types of Motivation to Know About

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    Most of us are motivated by contests and incentives or earning recognition. We like to work towards goals. This type of motivation is called “Toward Motivation.” There’s another very powerful type of motivation that often gets overlooked. “Away Motivation.”

    Let’s say it’s 3 o’clock in the morning, on a very cold night in early spring, you’re laying in bed and your phone rings. Your buddy down the street is calling you to say, “There’s a big sale happening at the end of the street. They’re selling patio furniture and grills for really cheap. I know you really wanted to buy those. Come down here now!” And you’re thinking, “It’s 3 o’clock in the morning why would I get out of bed?”

    Let’s look at another example. In this scenario, you’re laying in bed at 3 o’clock in the morning. It’s freezing cold, and you get a phone call from the same buddy who says, “Hey, there’s someone on your back porch stealing your patio furniture and your brand-new grill!” Would you get out of bed? Most people say they would pop out of bed and chase the thieves out of their yard right away! “Away Motivation.”

    Everybody is motivated a little bit differently, but typically the fear of loss is an even more powerful motivator than excitement for gain. We overlook the type of motivation called “Away Motivation.” We are away motivated when we are trying to avoid consequences.

    Here is an example in your business realm. One of our clients was having a really hard time asking for referrals. He would either just forget to ask, or often times would not ask because he was afraid to. We really needed to get him to ask for those referrals. Now we have the “Toward Motivation.” The opportunity to earn more business, the opportunity to get more results and get mores prize. But this really wasn’t motivating him. We needed to put that “Away Motivation” in place. What we did for him was ask him who was someone that he really did not like. Unfortunately, he really didn’t like his assistant. This person wasn’t his assistant by choice, this was a company chosen assistant that was decades older than him, didn’t report to him, and didn’t respect him in his eyes. So, what we decided to do was every time he forgot to ask a referral he had to write her a check for $50. He had to tell her he was giving her that because he didn’t do what he said he was going to do. That was embarrassing enough to him that it only took one time of forgetting to ask for referrals, and he never wanted to experience that again.

    Think about this for yourself. What are some consequences that you can put in place that will help you to be more motivated and hit your goals? Would it motivate you to have to donate money to the political party you are not a fan of? Would it motivate you to have to cancel a trip if you don’t do what you say you will do? Would it motivate you to give sales to your competitor? Think about those consequences, put them in place, and watch how things will change for you.

    We need to have consequences in place, not just rewards in order to sufficiently motivate ourselves. Make sure you have “Toward Motivation” and “Away Motivation” in your plan to achieve your goals!

    What are some things that have helped you? Share here, tweet me @emmie__brown

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • SUPER COMPETENT

    by Laura Stack

    #1 in amazon / business skills

    Top #50 best seller overall

    Super Competent is a compilation of what top performers, in any field, do to be more efficient and effective at their job.

    Overall summary:

    Know what you need to work on. Make time for it each day. Focus on one task at a time. Organize necessary information to complete that task. Be responsible for your results. Never give up.

    Laura’s 6 keys to perform at your productive best

    1.      Activity                                               

    You have to make the time to spend your energy in the areas where it will produce you income. Always do what drives revenue first. Decide on activities based on the income produced from that activity. It’s not about time worked or hours worked it’s about what you accomplish that drives income and revenue during that time period. Do those activities first and foremost every day.

    2.      Availability

    At the end of today look at tomorrow. Act as if you only worked a 2 hour work day. Ask yourself, if I only had 2 hrs to work tomorrow what would I do? The more time we think we have each day the less urgent and less productive we become. Block time in your schedule to complete those ‘2-hr tasks’.

                    -group appts geographically

                    -set back to back meetings

                    -group like activities during the same time period

    We value other peoples time more than our own. Be creative and disciplined about being available to others.

    3.      Attention                           

    Power is focus and focus is power. Do not multi task. Focus on one task at a time. Shut down technology. Create a bubble around yourself with no emails, no phone calls and no interruptions. Eliminate distractions. The #1 thing that distracts us is ourselves. Shut all other tasks down and complete one task at a time. Be a single task worker not a multi task worker.

    Keep a pad of paper and every time you think of something you need to do, write it down, and do it later. It does not need to be done now. Finish the task at hand.

    4.      Accessibility

    How accessible are the tools you need to complete your tasks? Organize your information. Have systems in place to be able to find what you need when you  need it. You should be able to find any document or information necessary to do your work in 30 seconds or less! So many of us waste hours every week just looking for the things we need to get our work done. Put a centralized system in place for your information.

    5.      Accountability

    Take responsibility for what you do and do not complete each day. Look for ways to continually grown and improve your systems, processes and overall business. Keep up with new trends to be more efficient. Take a self assessment of where you hold up the line in getting things done. Find ways to improve and hold yourself accountable.

    6.      Attitude

    The one who has the better attitude always ends up on top. Be the person that people love to be around. A better attitude not only makes you happier and more productive but it has an overall effect on your colleagues, your company and the overall value that people perceive you have.

    Laura’s #1 tip:

    Having centralized systems in place. Investing in new technology that provides the ability to work easier, faster and more efficiently.

    Take a free self assessment and download the ebook for free!  www.supercompetentbook.com

    Super Competent is available on Amazon.com and at all major bookstores!

    If you buy the book, you can forward your receipt to book@theproductivitypro.com and receive a bonus link for over 7 additional free products!

    In the Spirit of Success,

    Amanda Johns
    Corporate Partner and Program Director
    ajohns@southwesternconsulting.com
    Corporate website: http://www.southwesternconsulting.com
    Join my professional network on LinkedIn


  • FREE May Teleseminar Recording Available NOW!

    Keys to Unlocking Your Potential:  Finding Ways to Produce When No One is Buying -Teleseminar May 2010

    The Southwestern ConsultingTM Team really brings the heat with exceptional, usable value for all our listeners during the Monthly Teleseminars.  This month was no exception.  A few topics included:

    • Keys to unlocking your true potential
    • Improving individual and team performance.
    • Getting better results, improved teamwork, and clarity
    • Maximizing your time
    • Keys to creating maximum results
    • Motivating yourself and your team to produce in tough times
    • And much more!

    For more information on the Sales Experts, Click Here.  

    If you missed the call, here’s the link for the audio recording:  Keys_to_Unlocking_Your_Potential_Teleseminar_May_2010

    Don’t miss next month’s FREE Teleseminar – the topic will include PROSPECTING & APPROACH.  Thursday June 10 3pm CT.