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Taking Care of the Messenger

(September 2007) posted on Fri Sep 14, 2007

Working with your sales reps.

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By Marty McGhie

As you constantly make efforts to build sales in your organization, it’s often easy to focus too much on the customer and not enough on the people who make the sales happen: your sales representatives.

Your sales reps, keep in mind, are the conduit to your customers. They represent the face of your company. So rather than focus only on the message you may be trying to deliver, let’s concentrate on the messenger.

The dividends of communication

My first suggestion is to lend your sales team what I would characterize as emotional support. Think about your sales reps for a minute. If they fit the typical mold, they are very driven, goal-oriented, and ambitious; and they perform at a higher level when given consistent feedback from their managers. Frankly, it requires a unique personality to begin each month knowing that in order to get paid, you need to get out there and hustle up some business.

Your sales team needs communication and feedback on a regular basis in order to measure their strengths and weaknesses. This is a must for anyone managing a sales team, whether it’s a team of one or 20. Stay involved with your sales personnel. Hold regular interviews with each of them to discover what’s happening out there. Discuss their sales goals-will they achieve them this month? Is there anything you can do to help them reach their goals?

You should also make them feel like they can talk to you about anything that might be happening in their world. All too often, I’ve found, sales reps may think their managers know what is going on out in the marketplace and therefore don’t bother sharing what may be crucial information about the market-unless, of course, you ask them. Establishing excellent lines of communication with your team will pay off.

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