I am the Sales Manager of a seven person team. Four of my guys are doing okay, but not great. Three are not closing anything at all. Typically they’ll say they’re really close to getting the contract, but they need my help to seal the deal. I’ll fly somewhere and discover we’re nowhere near a signature. Should I just fire these three time-wasters?
Manager of the Close-less
Someone definitely needs to be fired and that someone might just be you. You heard right. One of the most critical roles you play as a Manager is that of coach. How are you helping your team become A players? First consider what scenarios you might role-play with them to ensure they can move a Prospect through your pipeline successfully. As painful as it sounds, you should role-play every conversation at each and every inflection point of your pipeline to ensure they can handle the critical conversations. Second, what questions might they ask to uncover objections, concerns and reasons for hesitation (prior to your flight)? How about: “Are there any additional objections, concerns or hesitations about moving forward?” Here’s another: “Would you tell me if there are any additional concerns or hesitations we haven’t discussed already?” This question discerns the status of honesty you have in the relationship, and whether or not there are any real concerns or hesitations looming. Again, before you head to the airport.
Lastly, what is your Sequence of Events and why would you fly anywhere before ensuring that your Prospect is near the end of it and truly ready to sign? In other words, what mini-must-wins must you ascertain along the way to ensure the Prospect is successfully moving through your pipeline and getting close to closing the deal? Examples: signed NDA; a demo with specific solution feedback from them; a formal presentation with specific value stated by them; conference call with all decision makers; etcetera.
Before you fire these guys, ask yourself: Do I have the team I deserve? Ouch. Start coaching, Mr. Manager, and you might just discover the frequent flier miles are actually worth it.
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