5 Sales Management Tips from my 5 Year Old

We spent the past two weeks with our five-year old son and during that time, as usual, he said and did some things that have a much greater meaning:

On Controlling Emotions: After hearing me repeat this a thousand times since he learned the language, last week I heard him say “it is what it is” rather than arguing or protesting as usual.  Your salespeople must be able to take that approach when things go wrong instead of getting emotionally involved.

On Confidence: After opening a gift (gum making machine) from Santa that he didn’t ask for he said, “Wow, how did Santa know I loved gum? Now I know he’s real.  For a while I was wondering if he was fake but now I’m sure.”  Your salespeople must sell on faith.  They must have faith that your strategy and coaching are right on and they must have faith that they’ll get their desired outcome as they begin the call.  When they encounter an obstacle they must have faith that it will be overcome.

On Sales Manager as Safety Net: His grandma gave him a PlayStation2 and he’s been spending a lot of time playing the Power Rangers game, intended for kids 10 years and older.  He didn’t have any trouble with the fighting segments of the game and mastered the kicks, punches, shots and moves without any trouble.  When it came to some of the tricky jumping he needed to do he called me, thinking that I was an expert.  Little did he know that I was only one step ahead of him.  After doing the jumps for him, he came to rely on me to continue doing them whenever he encountered trouble.  Finally, I said, “You can do this.  Just run backwards to the previous point and start again.”  After repeating that several times, he started to do it himself.  You can’t let your salespeople rely on you to do it for them.  They must be able to move opportunities forward and close them on their own or you run the risk of not developing them and having them rely on you as their safety net.

On Incentives: He realized that if his play improved the game rewarded him with more powers, a choice of Rangers, new music, and even a different scene.  He responded very well to these incentives and his abilities grew more quickly.  You must be certain that your salespeople are properly motivated at all times.  You can’t allow them to become complacent – ever!

On Goals:  He said there were some things he would like for his birthday this spring.  We discussed these gift ideas and he learned what it would take for him to get them.  You must have your salespeople go through the goal setting process each year to identify those things they would like – a lot.  Then have them determine what kind of business effort will be required to reach those goals.  You can read an abbreviated goal setting exercise here.