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You know that what works is usually the hard way, with planning and discipline and sacrifice, maybe some pain and suffering. The only way to make things work right is to get under the hood, find out what’s not working and why, and then fix it up so it will work.


“Lose 10 pounds in 10 days, without diet or exercise!”

“Get out of debt fast and cut your bills by 60%!”

“You have inherited $260,000 (US). Forward bank information at once!”

Sure, many people fall victim to these often outrageous advertising claims. But not you. You’re too smart for that. You’ve been around the block a time or two. You didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. You know there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

You’re smart, tough and resourceful. That’s how you survived the greatest financial crisis since The Great Depression.  

You know that what works is usually the hard way, with planning and discipline and sacrifice, maybe some pain and suffering. The only way to make things work right is to get under the hood, find out what’s not working and why, and then fix it up so it will work.

Except when it comes to managing salespeople. There just has to be an easy way – a book, a course, a webinar, an 800-number, a consultant, that tells you how to do it in 10 minutes, without diet or exercise? Can’t you just cut a check and install some software and let someone else do it? You know the answer in 10 words: If it is to be, it is up to me.

It is up to you…

…to hire right. Don’t hire a sales dud. Find a rep to fit your needs, who has the mental ability to learn; the attitude, interest and motivation to perform; who has problem-solving, planning/organizing and interpersonal skills.

…to ensure your salesperson is properly trained in basic selling skills and in solution selling; in your industry, product and marketing services. Sending a new hire out to “sell” without providing him with training to do the job is akin to sending a recruit into war without the benefit of bootcamp. Expect him to come back shellshocked, bruised and bloodied, full of holes and not excited about going back out for more.

…to lead the sales effort. You set the direction and the focus. You set expectations and decide on how to attain them. You set the tone for the sales effort. Your attitudes, actions and communication contribute to the way your salesperson performs. You don’t get to decide whether to be the leader, only whether you’ll be an effective or an ineffective leader.

…to evaluate the performance of your salesperson(s). Management is ensuring that people do the right things, right. You and your seller must know what you want and what you don’t want. And you both must know what he/she is doing and what you’re getting, as a result. What gets measured, gets done.

… to help them get better at doing what they must do to be successful. Help them identify their strengths, skills and abilities and to improve on them. Provide the resources – books, audio programs, videos, seminars, selling tools and support that enable them to be more effective. That benefits the salesperson and you.

…to inspire your salesperson(s), which creates motivation. What motivates a person? Fear of loss or promise of gain? Money or recognition, or both? Cash or time off? All of the above. The way to know is to ask what’s important to your people, and provide the incentive to perform. 

Leading a successful sales team is not easy. Reading a book won’t do it. Attending a seminar won’t do it. Installing a software program won’t do it.

If it is to be, it is up to you to decide to do it.

About the author

Mark Johns

Mark Johns

Mark Johns writes and speaks on two of the most critical skills in business:…

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