Sales Force Evaluation – How to Deal with Push Back from your Employees

Push back is what your salespeople give you when they receive the results of their evaluation.  Push back is what you get from your sales managers when they get the results of the evaluation of their sales force.  I’ve written about push back before but I need to explain why you get push back.

In the case of the sales force evaluation, push back measures the gap between the ideal and where your salespeople and sales managers are today.  In other words, the further they are from where you need them to be, the more push back you’ll get.  They say they don’t agree with the findings or they tell you that the findings are inaccurate.  What they really mean is that they don’t want to make the change from where they are today – comfortable – to where you need them to be – highly competent.

Then comes your reaction to the push back.  There are several ways in which you could give in to the push back:

  1. by validating it
  2. by agreeing with it
  3. by joining in
  4. by getting defensive
  5. by assuring them
  6. by telling them not to worry
  7. by canceling your plan to continue the project
  8. by questioning your decision to start the project
  9. by avoiding confrontation
  10. by not following through on what you started

If you do any of these things you will undermine your authority and fail to accomplish the changes in culture, competency, growth and effectiveness that you set out to change.  Your ability to stand up to push back is the measure of how effective you are at leadership.

So what should you do when you get push back?

Expect it, don’t panic, understand where it’s coming from and say things like, “it’s not unusual to feel that way, but certainly there’s some truth to what you read.  Let’s focus on what you agree with.”  Make it clear that while they may not like what they read, it’s important to embrace it because we are moving forward and making changes.

Do you want your decision to start the process to be looked upon as a good decision?  Finish what you started!

(c) 2008 Dave Kurlan