Expectations and Sales Performance

Where can you go and experience tremendous heat, lots of walking and extremely long lines? Where can you go to overhear husbands and wives snapping at each other over their kids’ behavior while their kids are generally too tired to misbehave? Where can you go to experience all of this yet still have these same people return home to talk enthusiastically about their trip?

My wife and I just returned from our fourth annual pilgrimage to Disney for our son’s fourth birthday. As magical as Disney can be, it’s brutal when it’s in the mid 90’s, humid and packed with people. Saturday, at Animal Kingdom, we rode one 2-minute ride, enjoyed one 30-minute show, and accomplished all this in just under 7 hours which included 90 minutes waiting for and riding buses between the hotel and the park. And Michael was thrilled!

So how can you get so little for so much and be happy about it? Expectations. You just know it’s going to be like this. And wait times are posted. And there’s plenty of distractions on which to spend your money in the mean time.

It’s a lot like sales performance. How can management be so accepting of performance that fails to go over budget or quota? Expectations. They just know it’s going to be like that. With few exceptions, it’s always been like that. And it will continue to be like that until management changes their expectations and holds their salespeople accountable to those higher expectations.

You get what you expect. Nothing more. I’ve written about urgency before – the urgency that salespeople need to create – in Baseline Selling. The urgency that salespeople need to possess. How about urgency on the part of sales management? If you want urgency you need to show some urgency.

Tell your underachieving salespeople how disappointed you are. Tell them it can’t continue. Tell them they need to get on track to overachieve in the next 30 days. Tell them what you need them to do this week. Tell them what you want to see from them this week. Set the right expectations!

(c) Copyright 2006 Objective Management Group, Inc.