By Colin Wilson
Director, Key Business Advisors
March, being the end of the third quarter of the financial year, is a time when business owners might question their managers’ skills, especially if the managers have not yet met or come close to achieving the company’s sales targets. Small business owners, in particular, focus on financial growth year on year – they want to improve no matter what the market does at any given period.
When targets are not being achieved, business owners then start to question their managers, who in turn start to question their sales staff who need to bring home the bacon month in and month out, every quarter and every year. The sales staff then look for someone or something else to blame – the marketing department, the products, or the pricing. This can become a vicious cycle, and the business’s focus eventually moves from customers and profits to internal issues.
What should a business owner do to turn the focus around from internal issues back to customer satisfaction and financial growth (or to keep the focus on them at all times)?
Motivation is essential to everyone in business, and I recommend the following to make sure everyone stays motivated and focused on the big picture:
1. Make sure it is clear what your company is aiming for – and that everyone is on board.
Does everyone in your company know what the business’s goals are, and is everyone – leaders, managers and staff – on the same train with you heading in the same direction and supports you 100 per cent? If not, then you need to get your team together to set and agree on goals which are the reason and purpose you are in business. Have a team-building session and open conversations. Keep everyone, including yourself, motivated. Set the benchmark, don’t look back in the rear vision mirror, instead focus on the NOW and reward your team for achieving milestones.
2. Paint the picture of what “The Ultimate Manager” looks like.
Set high standards for your managers, as high standards usually results in great achievements not only for managers, but also for staff members. “The Ultimate Manager” ensures each staff member who reports to them always performs well; when staff members are not at their best, “The Ultimate Manager” readily offers coaching and mentoring, or even the extra push to get them back on track. As I always say, if business owners make their managers successful, which then makes their staff successful, then everyone wins.
3. Give your sales staff ownership of their performance, and their belief to achieve their goals.
Sales staff need to believe in order to achieve. Business owners and managers need to make sure that sales staff are focused on customers, building relationships, what they can do to increase productivity and profits, and not blame marketing, pricing, or the products. If necessary, conduct a workshop for sales staff on the rationale behind the pricing, what they can do to overcome objections, and most importantly, increasing their product knowledge and confidence. Continue training on closing skills, and discuss case studies of wins, especially new business wins. Empower your team to bring on the winning feeling, as the best sales staff need to win all the time – help them get back on top of the big wave, surfing the sales successes.
Download our posters of “The Ultimate Manager” and “The Ultimate Sales Professional”, which you can put up in your business as a reminder for your managers and staff. If you would like the posters printed in A3 size with your own logo for only $22 each (no frame or postage included; please add $10 for postage and handling), or if you need further help in getting your managers or sales staff to the next level, contact Key Business Advisors on 1300 4 ADVICE or firstname.lastname@example.org.