Are You Having Productive One on Ones With Your Sales Team Members?
A Brief Guide to Conducting Meaningful Sales Rep One on Ones
I have always had the practice of meeting salespeople one-on-one every week, even if it was over the phone. My experience is that even the most experienced and seasoned salespeople need and want one-on-one interaction, whether it be for encouragement, help with problem-solving, support with strategic thinking, assistance with call planning or reviews, or internal help, like guidance on collaborating to receive support from other departments.
Even if they know what they need to do, having someone to bounce ideas off is extremely helpful. The essential thing is that the manager needs to be able to add value to the sales representative—they need to be able to help in some way. If the manager doesn’t add or offer any value, the one-on-ones won’t be of any value and won’t be welcomed. In fact, the reps will do whatever they can to avoid the manager, as they will be viewed as a waste of reps’ time.
In my one-on-ones I would always have a specific agenda but also always left time open for free dialogue. The agenda typically included:
actions review from previous meeting
results (or the lack thereof)
funnel review and discussion
what needed to be done to move business forward
strategic account planning
current or immediate known challenges or issues
potential challenges or risks
any coaching opportunities that may have arisen and not yet been covered
personal/career development discussion, if needed or requested
any actions requiring follow-up
open discussion that may surface items
You want to ensure that these meetings aren’t viewed as simply the manager’s way to get caught up and keep an eye on things so that they are seen as being on top of things for their boss. While it is certainly important to catch up, the focus should be on the actual coaching and value-add of the manager–sales representative discussion. It’s not about you the manager, its about the rep and how you can help him or her be the best they can possibly be.
During the writing of my book The Street Savvy Sales Leader, I went through the process of becoming a professionally certified business coach by the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (Conducted by Shift Coaching, shiftcoaching.ca). It was an extensive process that included several interactive training clinics, a substantial reading list, role-playing, observing practice-coaching sessions and putting in actual real-time, practical coaching hours. In all, the certification entailed well in excess of 70 hours[LC1] of effort.
I wish I had gone through a coaching process like this earlier in my sales management career, as I would have been a more effective leader and coach if I had. I would recommend becoming a certified coach (from a reputable organization) to any dedicated Sales manager. It will make you a more seasoned, thoughtful and respected Sales leader.
Again, actual coaching means that you need to develop consistent and regular conversations that serve to help the sales process and sales rep development. These conversations need to be planned and must link to what you are trying to achieve as an organization and the culture you are creating.
Any additional thoughts and ideas on one on ones?, Would love to hear them, it is so important and needs to be a priority in all Sales Managers schedule.
For more information and insights into sales organization imperatives see my website, www.streetsavvysalesleadership.com , or to pre order my upcoming book, The Street Savvy Sales Leader, A Guide to Building Teams that Consistently Win New Business.
Street Savvy Sales Leadership offers individual sales or sales leadership coaching, workshops, contract work, advising, and speaking engagements.
If you have any questions or comments, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Street Savvy Sales Leadership