Unlike other performance athletes – salespeople are expected to compete 48 weeks or more every year. It’s no wonder most salespeople are bloody tired, if not utterly exhausted.
Nearly all performance sports are structured in a way so that the athlete actually competes at a small fraction of their time in comparison to the time spent developing strategy, refining skills and training and recovering. Sales managers for some bizarre reason believe their salespeople needn’t subscribe to the same approach. This false belief limits their sales people’s success and ultimately leads to fatigue and under-performance.
To be at their best, salespeople need to be fresh in mind, body and spirit. When we are tired and under mental stress, not only does our performance suffer, but the pleasures associated with what we do diminish, rapidly. I habitually ask salespeople with low motivation levels, if they were succeeding more would they be more motivated? The overwhelming response is always a resounding, “yes!”
In many cases, it’s not the company nor the role a salesperson is unsatisfied with, it’s the fact they are not receiving validation for effort. As a sales manager, be sure to understand what is truly motivating your team (and individuals within it) as this could mean the difference between a salesperson becoming your best asset as opposed to leaving and becoming your competitor’s advantage.
It’s common for a CFO, or sales manager that possesses little or no relevant sales experience, to be the person who sets the annual sales budget and target. These figures are pulled from the ether and usually based on leveraging costs and profit percentage increases. In this case, there is scant regard for what constitutes a realistic target that also factors in changes in the economy. As a result targets rarely go down from year-to-year, instead they usually track north. Meaning, salespeople are forced to run themselves into the ground chasing shadows without regular timeouts to reflect, refine, and rejuvenate.
The old cliché, “people don’t leave a company they leave a manager” is correct. So too, salespeople leave a sales manager, particularly those that set pie in the sky expectations that stifle validation.
Give your best people the support they need with habitual training, realistic goals, related incentives, guiding processes, and most of all inspirational leadership. Let them take some space to rest and refine their strategy when they need it. This will result in greater stamina, enhanced performance and ultimately, more sales.
Trent Leyshan is the founder and CEO of sales training company BOOM! As a sales expert and facilitator, he partners with some of the world’s most dynamic and demanding sales driven companies. Trent is also the founder of salesprocess.com.au and the author of THE NAKED SALESMAN: How to walk the talk and sell your way to success!