There is a common problem I see brewing in sports ticket sales organizations across the nation. It started about 18 months ago, and has been spreading like a virus, bleeding organizations dry. I’m not sure where it started, but I know how it can be stopped.
Here’s the problem: We’re allowing the economy to lull our leadership into expecting less from the salespeople who are paid to make things happen. Our managers are taking the “economy” excuse and letting our sales reps use it as a crutch, and it’s weakening everyone in the process.
If you’re an account rep, I have a few telling questions for you:
Did you achieve your monthly goals for either January or February? If not, what happened?
How about the number of sales calls that are expected of you each month? Did you reach the mark that was set for your performance, or did you fall short?
Can you say that you truly did all you could to achieve those goals? Or did you decide that you need to hang it up early on several of those days to get a break from the constant negativity of being turned down? Perhaps more importantly, what were the repercussions of you missing one or more of those marks?
This is a B-I-G problem, and it’s not the fault of just one person. It’s the responsibility of everyone involved to motivate a sales team to work as a well-oiled machine.
If you’re missing your sales targets by a wide margin your supervisor is now being forced to consider drastic measures to improve. Nobody in management wants to do anything rash, but they would probably let go an entire staff if they knew it would benefit the organization. They would fire everyone in a heartbeat and start over with a new team of hungry reps, eager to show their new boss how grateful they are to work on your former team.
Why? Here are just a few of the reasons:
- There are a slew of qualified, available salespeople out of work right now. From real estate and banking to the insurance, retail, and automotive industries, some of the very best sales reps in your area have been let go, and are highly motivated to excel in their work. Most are starving for someone to take them in, even if it means a pay cut.
- It can be mentally easier for your manager to bring in a new staff than to re-train those who aren’t producing. By starting with a clean slate, a manager can be a hero with their bosses by showing that something’s being done to improve their current situation.
- It’s a fresh start for your manager. The situation is partly his/her fault, too. If a supervisor hasn’t developed a standard practice of regularly monitoring, coaching, and developing expected levels of minimum performance for their current underperforming staff, it’s their chance to start over.
How can you insulate yourself? Start today:
- Maintain an open dialogue with your manager. Don’t just seek your manager out when there’s a problem. Discuss your questions, your successes, and your challenges with him or her regularly. Make sure you know how you’re being evaluated in your position, and where you stand on his or her scorecard.
- Decide that no one else but you is in charge of your own success. It’s not the list, the phone system, the computer, the team, or anyone’s fault but your own if you don’t learn your craft, read about selling on your own time, practice on your own, and make the calls.
- Become the best in your organization at what management values most. Every organization is different, and values certain kinds of activities, sales, and benchmarks differently. Make sure you know what your manager is measuring, and be the #1 person in your office to deliver that.
Ownership has millions of dollars riding on the success or failure of the sales effort. That’s you. They’ve trusted the team’s leadership to get the job done — through you. Even in this economy, there are plenty of salespeople just like you in every corner of the nation that are meeting and exceeding their targets, so there’s no saying it can’t be done.
There is no such thing as job security. Unless, of course, you take the time to secure it yourself.