Do you know what you look like when you are stressed? We think we do, but other people can see stress on us better than we can see it on ourselves. In fact, for salespeople, we are doing our best to hide our stress, but our body language gives us away. Our jaws stay clenched. Our brow outlines the hint of a scowl. You look like you are ready to fall asleep or collapse under the weight of exhaustion. No fun. You want and need something to change. Wouldn’t it be nice to get one of those makeovers that you see on TV? I admit that I am not one to consult when it comes to your physical appearance, but you know what else looks stressed? Your sales culture.
It is hard to hide the symptoms of a stressed sales culture. New sales people last for 12 to 18 months at best. Few, if any, salespeople are reaching their goals. Phones get more attention than the agenda at the sales meetings. There is no sense of sales process. You’re losing customers. You’re not finding new customers. Your sales culture looks like it will collapse under the weight of its own exhaustion. Now, here is a makeover I can help you with. Things need to get better, and they can, but you will need a process to do this. You need to get CHOPPED for change.
- Communication – You need to start talking more with your salespeople and their customers. You want feedback that is honest and conversations that happen frequently. Be ready to listen and you will hear what you team and the culture needs.
- Habits – Small habits compounded over time make big results. What small and achievable changes can you make with your team today that will start to turn things around? Celebrate victories? Run a better sales meeting? There is much to pick from.
- Outcomes – What is it that you really want? It could be sales, higher employee retention, better processes or just better engagement. Stay focused on that goal and, if possible, focus on one or two goals at a time.
- Process – Change, as a concept, is easy but the work is hard. You need to create a simple roadmap that you can follow toward your desired outcome in case you get lost along the way.
- Patience – Good things take time. Stay the course. Change is not a pass/fail test and some days it is an endurance challenge.
- Engagement – Be with your team during the change. Cultural changes are scary for sales people; even when they are good changes (they are a suspicious bunch). Don’t become an absentee leader during this critical time.
- Desire – Make sure the change is something that create a mutual benefit and everyone will want. No one ever likes working in a negative sales environment, but if you tap into their desire, you have plenty of people helping you with this change.