February '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 17 of 120

2 0 1 8 F E B R U A R Y P R I N T W E A R || 15 1. A sense of achievement/making a difference 2. Money 3. An open, honest work atmosphere 4. Increased opportunity/empowerment 5. The challenge of the job itself 6. An increased sense of self-worth 7. Job security 8. A good boss 9. Formal recognition/awards 10. Team spirit/camaraderie/esprit-de-corps How many of these factors are present or available to your sales force? Not sure? Surprised that awards and recognition are so far down the list? I was. Could you introduce and capitalize on more of this list with your sales force? Probably. Here are some suggestions on how to bolster the morale of your sales effort easily: • Hold all-employee meetings and bring in your sales people to share a success story about how your products and services solved a problem for or delighted one of your customers. Don't try this without first approach- ing the salesperson well ahead of the meeting so they have time to prepare their thoughts. Have them present the case. There is a strong possibility the sales rep will use the opportunity to publicly thank other colleagues that made the achievement possible. • Share your financial statements— e.g., profit and loss statement, bal- ance sheet—with your salespeo- ple. Point out where you would like to see improvement in certain line items. Generate sales reports of profitability by customer account. Salespeople can be myopic when it comes to their day-to-day activities. Some business owners are reluctant to divulge the contents of the books. The smart owners use this valuable information to draw insight, educate salespeople, and inspire them to act entrepreneurially. • Annually, sit down with each sales representative and together set stretch goals using the acronym SMART— specific, measurable, actionable, reach- able, and time sensitive. Don't reduce the goals to only hitting the sales numbers. Some great areas for goal setting include profitability, expense control, number of re- ferrals or testimonials from clients, attrition control, and closing key target prospects. • Invest in training your salespeople in the soft skills of selling— listening, interpersonal relationship building, and promise-keep- ing, to name a few. In my experience, the hours dedicated to sales meetings are typically spent on product knowledge and ad- dressing or solving internal problems. Brainstorm with your sales folks to identify the specific, observable behaviors of good listen- ers, leaders, and high integrity individuals and discuss them. In- corporate role plays and case studies to stimulate the discussion. You may want to consider bringing in an outside subject matter expert to facilitate the short but powerful training. The potential return on your efforts to pump up your sales force is limitless. Don't be surprised if a brief intervention into this arena yields bountiful, immediate results. Good luck!

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