Managers should not be buried in paperwork; they should be buried in people work. Those who stay in their office to “manage” the operations lose touch with the reality of their business and more important, with their people, and ultimately lose sales and control.
Today a manager’s ability to answer the question “What stopped the sale?” relies on their skill in identifying, assessing and responding to situations as they happen. Equally important is their commitment to coaching, educating and training their salespeople and to changing processes to prevent similar situations from recurring in the future. In management, this is often called Quick Response Management (QRM).
Yet developing the QRM skill is often one of the biggest challenges managers have. At APB we find that the challenge in developing a QRM management style typically stems from three factors:
1. I’m Too Busy Managing!
Once promoted to management, many individuals tend to stay in their offices like their predecessors whom they learned from. They no longer interact with customers like they used to do before being promoted. There’s always a reason…inventory management, marketing plans, dealer and manufacturer reports, financial matters and more. Managers should not be buried in paperwork; they should be buried in people work. Those who stay in their office to “manage” the operations lose touch with the reality of their business and more important, with their people, and ultimately lose sales and control.
2. Micromanagement vs. Management
A common problem is that many managers don’t understand the difference between micromanagement, management and abdication. To avoid the trap of micromanaging (a style where a manager closely observes or controls the work of their employees) many managers go to the opposite extreme, abdication (giving up or evading responsibility). Managers who go to this extreme simply hire salespeople and put them to work with no input, training, coaching or feedback; it’s basically a sink or swim mentality. Management (the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively) is a finely honed skill that requires understanding the fine line between micromanagement and abdication and how it applies to each individual person.
3. In Theory, It Works
When managers grasp the importance of continuing education for themselves and their salespeople, they work diligently to provide education and training, classes and tools that will help drive success. Yet, gathering knowledge without ever putting theory into practice, evaluating progress, providing constructive feedback and resetting goals is not enough. Even the best educated in sales won’t be effective if their education remains theoretical.
While each of these is important, focusing on the third factor, “In Theory It Works,” often has the greatest impact. Do you have a process? Do you have the tools needed to make the process work? Do your salespeople know about the process and understand how to apply it? With educational opportunities, tools and a clear sales process in place, managers are equipped to identify, assess and respond to what’s going on in their dealerships instantly.
While a quick response is helpful in putting out “fires,” an overall plan is required to change behavior and attitude and to improve long-term, consistent results. Managers must continually think about the type of education and training needed, how and when to observe, assess and provide feedback, and how to gauge and improve results. Training should never be looked at as an expense, but as a vehicle to improve the bottom line. Just think, what does it cost not to train and educate?
About the author
Richard F. Libin
Richard F. Libin has written two acclaimed books that help people of all walks…