September '15

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82 • RV PRO • SEPTEMBER 2015 rv-pro.com your C players, group time with B players, and praise and recognize your A players. Step 8: Cultivate a better "quality of life". What do I mean by cultivate a better "quality of life"? I mean have more fun. Insti- tute a series of contests that gets everyone focused on department goals. For example, if your department hits the goal, salespeople who achieved their individual standards earned a round of golf with the others. The result: Average sales-per-salesperson could double, and turnover could be reduced. Step 9: Know what each salesperson wants. You should know what each salesperson wants. Every person has his or her own personal motivators. Your job is to find out what they are and help the salesperson toward achievement. Sit down with each salesperson one-on-one. Try to learn something about each of them: What are their goals with your dealership and beyond? What is their past like? How can you help them be, have, and do more? For example, one salesperson wanted to buy a house, while another wanted to play the Top 10 golf courses in the world. Those are two very different goals, but both could be achieved faster by the salesperson exceeding quota. In every dealership one reality exists: There are going to be negative salespeople. If not carefully managed, these individuals drain the life force of productivity out of the entire dealership. Sales managers generally think twice about terminating negative salespeople – especially if they are good closers, are pro- ductive, or have the essential skills needed would take time and resources to replace. It may also be hard to accept that their indispensable nature comes at the expense and productivity of others. Yet, if the problems negative individ- uals create puts a drain on the overall sales department environment, ignoring them is one sure way to create in-house chaos and job dissatisfaction. It also requires time-consuming energy and valuable resources to remedy. What's a manager to do? First, closely examine the situation and the person absorbed in negativity. Ask yourself, "Exactly how much does this individual personally contribute to the overall success of the department?" Once a clear picture is determined, move to the opposing side of the equation. You should weigh your responses against these questions: • How much discord does this con- tribute to their overall productivity? • How much disharmony is this person creating? How much of an overall neg- ative impact is he having on others? • How many times have you had to intervene because of their negativity or cause and effected related issues? • How much time and energy is person- ally lost because of it? • How many others are they affecting? How does this negativity translate into lower quotas, or reduced enthusiasm and productivity? • Lastly, are there any legal ramifications I need to be aware of before terminating his employment or intervening in a way that can cause legality issues to surface? Taking Corrective Action Before assuming the ultimate recourse of termination, think about how the sit- uation can be rectified. Plan a course of action. If the decision is to salvage the sales- person, consider using the following ideas: • Have a one-on-one discussion with the person involved. Don't be sur- prised when he expresses ignorance of the situation, or blames others for his troubles. He may even become defiant. Still, your objective here is to get him to voice his own complaints, so addressing the problem is put onto the table. Often times, negativity arises as a symptom – not a cause. It is best to address the causes – not the symptoms. • Evaluate what it said by the employee without jumping to judgment. Look at things from the salesperson's per- spective first, as well as your own. Negative salespeople often can have legitimate complaints and reasons behind their attitudes and reactions. • Create a list of legitimate concerns that need to be addressed. Maintain a list of personal responses to your remarks or direct questions. It becomes easier to identify whether complaints are a smokescreen for general overall negative behavior or if the negative behaviors have a legitimate reason for occurring. Viable solutions are produced faster if these eval- uations are given thought and attention. • Focus on behaviors that need changing – not individual actions or attitudes. It is easy to confuse issues, especially if individuals are defiant or blaming. Be aware that it may be impossible to recreate this salesperson into an ideal employee, or one you and others can legitimately live with. All good sales managers can do is to plan and chart a course of action to improve, one small goal at a time, following up on it consis- tently. The rest is up to the salesperson. • Make sure all goals and actions for improvement are very specific and put in writing. Double-check to see if they are thoroughly understood by the employee. Follow-through on the progression of goals a minimum of once per week. • Set your managerial goal on observing one small noticeable change. Make a verbal compliment upon it. Do this as an ongoing intervention. Once there is con- tinual improvement, move to another area. Never fail to set limits on the total process. The salesperson should be given these limits in all fairness. If limits are not held as a top priority, there is no urgency for a salesperson to change. When written and verbal evaluations fail, and numerous written documenta- tion falls short of expectations and other attempts to change a negative salesperson's behavior have become unsuccessful, termi- nation becomes inevitable. Once this decision is made obvious, hes- itation or procrastination can become a real detriment to effective managing. Remember, all salespeople's eyes are on you and your managing style. If quick actions are not taken it will undermine your credibility in the minds of others, while instilling a loss of confidence in you and your management style.

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