Her name was Cindy, but around the office, she was better known as “Solitaire Cindy.” Whenever I walked by her desk, the Solitaire screen on her PC was running. Frankly, it bugged me. Why should Solitaire Cindy game her day away while I busted my hump in my job, along with my fellow employees? I asked her manager how she felt about that. She sighed, “For what we pay Cindy, she does a decent job, so she’s earned the right to futz around.”
I even talked with Cindy myself, hoping to encourage her. But, she shrugged as she flipped a card with a click of her mouse.
Cindy wasn’t motivated. But I blame management. They neither confronted her nor gave her any motivation. Like so many managers, they took the path of least resistance. People would prefer to put up with mediocrity than make waves with employees.
You Have Choices on How to Address Mediocrity in Your Sales and Marketing Organization.
For instance, would you:
• Disconnect Cindy’s Solitaire software to force her to step up to the plate?
• Confront her, running the risk of annoying her and losing her (and finding her replacement)?
• Ignore Cindy’s overall mediocre performance because of the things she does do well, risking a ripple effect on the other employees who work hard while Cindy follows her own path of least resistance?
• Initiate a meaningful dialogue with her to find out why she’d rather play computer Solitaire than be a proactive worker in your sales organization?
If you were like some of my large business-to-business sales organization clients, you probably think installing programs to monitor and restrict employees’ Internet access is the answer. But that only treats the symptom, not the disease.
If you were like most misguided managers then you feel it’s not your job to inspire excellence. You would choose to ignore Cindy’s overall mediocre performance. I’m sorry but chances are your sales team will not magically motivate themselves. You must address mediocrity issues ASAP so they don’t snowballs into a major problem.
An effective sales team leader would:
• Initiate a meaningful dialogue with their sales team
• Remember all members of their sale team are individuals with motivations as different as their work styles
• Respect and respond to those differences so their sales team performs above and beyond expectations
• Understand their employees like they understand their customers
• Find out what their sales team truly values
You risk losing your best workers if you don’t discover ways for them to feel successful and accomplished in their positions. And, the only way to understand what people value is to engage. That’s why I strongly suggest that you talk with your sales team. Really listen to what success means to them!
8 Questions You Must Ask Your Sales Team So You Can Take Them to the Next Level
Armed with the answers to these 8 questions, you can implement meaningful reward systems, programs, and promotions that’ll turn mediocre employees into happy and productive sales performers.
1. What do you feel is going well for you at our company?
2. What have you accomplished so far that you’re really proud of?
3. What else besides a bigger paycheck would make you feel more successful at work? In life?
4. What would you have to accomplish in order to feel successful five years from now in your sales career?
5. What do you enjoy most about your sales job?
6. What two things would you most like to achieve in the next six months?
7. In order to make your sales career more interesting, what would you like to do more of? Less of?”
8. How do you define success?
Get Your Sales Team Motivated
If you want your sales team to feel successful and triumphant in their jobs, you must make them feel valued. I can’t even begin to count the number of times clients have called asking to help them motivate their employees. Over and over, they tell me their business would improve if only Joe or Jenny Worker would “step up to the plate” or “put in that extra effort.” But all they have to do is ask their employees what motivates them, and how they want to be motivated!
Remember, motivated employees have the drive to succeed. So start asking questions and motivate your sales team today, so you can grow your business tomorrow!