Thursday, August 31, 2006

Becoming A Super Sales Coach

Moving from selling to coaching requires developing a whole new set of skills. Organizations know that the quickest way to improve their salespeople is to improve their sales coaches because the coaches have the most leverage—when a sales coach improves, the salespeople improve. The challenge is that for most, coaching is a vague, intangible, and nebulous concept. So like other challenging topics, there are a lot of theories out there, but few proven-effective best practices. The following are six tips for becoming a super sales coach and a truly valuable employer. The tips are provided by Steve Johnson, author of “If You’re Not Out Selling, You’re Being Out Sold.” 1. Understand the difference between a boss and a coach. In which category does your management style put you?
* A boss drives his people; a coach leads them.
* A boss depends on authority; a coach depends on goodwill.
* A boss inspires fear; a coach inspires enthusiasm.
2. Make sure you're creating good habits in your salespeople—not just measuring the numbers.
3. Demonstrate to establish “street cred.” Step two in the five-step training process (Explain, Demonstrate, Practice, Observe, Feedback) is critical.
4. Regularly follow-up with these three magic words: “How’s it going?”
5. Coach top performers, too.
6. Keep a public scoreboard.
A scoreboard that keeps track of your sales team’s performance, updated weekly during your sales meeting, can be very motivating.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Six Fixes For Stressed-Out Workplace

Lately, you feel a palpable sense of stress when you walk into your office. People are tense and not smiling. Nerves are stretched to the breaking point. Everyone operates in marathon mode, getting into the office early, working through lunch, and putting in one late night after another. And yet, despite the jackrabbit pace, important tasks aren’t getting done. That’s not surprising. There is a strong link between stress and lack of productivity—and the problem is more widespread than you might think.
Joanne G. Sujansky is a certified speaking professional, holds a Ph.D. and is founder of the consulting firm, KEYGroup. For more than 25 years she has been helping leaders to increase business growth and profitability by creating and sustaining what she calls a Vibrant Entrepreneurial Organization. She offers these tips for diffusing office stress and ratcheting up productivity:
1. Give people specific, challenging, yet attainable outcomes they are expected to meet.
2. Put systems in place for measuring productivity.
3. Make the workday meaningful. When employees are fully engaged in their work, they’re less likely to perceive intensity as “stress.” They will be motivated and rewarded by their task list rather than feeling oppressed by it. Therefore, make sure to give your employees challenging and meaningful assignments that stimulate and inspire them.
4. Reward employees after they meet a challenge. A positive attitude goes a long way toward managing stress. It helps you maintain a sense of perspective and view problems as challenges, perhaps even motivators.
5. Make employees take lunch breaks, vacations and even mental health days. Do your employees wolf down burgers at their desks while replying to a volley of emails? Do they take work home every night? Do they rack up unused vacation days like interest on a high-yield CD? What’s more, do you commit such stress sins? If you’re rubbing your hands in glee over your employees’ work ethic, you’re contributing to the problem. Insist that they take lunch breaks and vacations. After an all-nighter, give people a spontaneous day off to recharge. And practice what you preach: When people see you working like a Trojan, they feel a not-so-subtle pressure to follow your lead.