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Learning by Observing

This past week I had the opportunity to participate in what is called a "speakers showcase." Ten professional speakers had an opportunity to stand up in front of over 100 association managers and give a 15-minute program based upon their desired topic. My topic was "Gourmet Living: Building a Menu for Your Life!"

The real opportunity for me was being able to sit back and observe other speakers -- not only to hear their messages, but more importantly to see:

  • how they opened their presentations,
  • their energy levels,
  • their body language,
  • their vocal tones and
  • how they closed. 

I also asked several of the other speakers to provide feedback on my session. I know every year when I attend the National Speakers Association conference, I pick up so many great ideas to build my professionalism. 

So what does this have to do with sales leadership?

In many situations, the sales manager is the key coach, mentor and trainer of their sales teams, whether it's in the field or in sales training environments. It is the second-most important aspect of your job. (Hiring correctly is No. 1.) Too many times, when meeting with sales managers in peer groups or in one-on-one coaching, I have found that many sales managers have a challenge keeping their mouths closed during an onsite sales call with one of their team members.

Certainly, there are occasions when the manager should talk, and those should be defined during the pre-calling planning process. However, during any sales call, the manager must be acutely aware of the five items listed above when observing their salesperson.  Hint: You might keep that list and rank each one from 1 to 5 (with 5 being great) for each salesperson. Prepare a short report card after the call and then share it with the salesperson. Keep every scorecard on each salesperson and, during your twice yearly review, share all of them and hopefully you will see an improved performance. Remember: Inspect what you expect!

During the past few months, in this blog I have from time to time provided "free" sales management tools to improve your sales management structure. If you have not visited our Web site lately, you will find the Sales Management Tool Kit -- a resource that includes over 40 sales management guides, tools, best and practices. It is an online library where you can download a variety of tools, all for only $175.00. I do add to this toolbox from time to time, so it is a living value. For all orders in the second quarter, I am including three free books:

  • Developing a Business Plan
  • Building a Marketing Plan
  • Creating a Winning Sales Strategy

Have an awesome April! Let me hear about your success.

Posted by Ken Thoreson on April 08, 2013


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