Each of Your People is a Unique Individual
Do you know each of your people? The individual they really are, not just the person who works for you? Do you know their spouse's name? What about the kids? As much as we are individual we also have common desires that motivate us.
In his theory “The Hierarchy of Needs” Abraham Maslow defines those common desires as:
- Physiological- The desire for food, shelter, warmth and comfort
- Safety- The desire to survive without threat
- Belonging- The desire to be a part of something with common interest
- Esteem- The desire for recognition of the mastery of tasks
- Self-Actualization-The desire to maximize potential
These desires are the fuel of your salespeople. Some are further along than others. When they are new they are still looking for food, shelter and warmth. Your top people are striving for self-actualization. They want maximum results. Everyone else is somewhere between.
You cannot make all of them superstars. You can however find some common threads among your top producers. Help the others find them and you will be on your way to building a great team.
Look for these traits in your top people:
They are realistically oriented.
They know when they are getting the job done and when they are not. You do not need to remind them, you need to help them. Beware of the individual who isn’t performing up to par and it doesn’t seem to bother them.
They accept themselves.
They are aware of their individual shortcomings, whether they have shared them with you or not. If you will find out what they perceive those areas to be and can suggest how to improve them you will develop a loyal employee.
They are spontaneous.
The ability to “think on your feet” is paramount to this individual. Being flexible is a trait that successful people are proud of. Allow your salespeople to be spontaneous and think “outside the box”. You will learn and hear things that will astound you if you will give them the chance.
They are problem centered.
Successful people identify the problem and then take the necessary steps to rectify, correct and improve. As part of the development of each individual ask your people who have this area of strength to share with you and other members of the team how they handle problem situations.
They have an air of detachment and a need for privacy.
Part of the psyche of successful people is they consider themselves to be “a cut above” and not like the rest. Don’t we always remark that the successful salesperson doesn’t have time to join the “pity party” or wait for customers? It isn’t always that they are busy, oftentimes it is simply due to the fact they do not want to be considered as just another member of the team. Assign them a task to assist you that they consider to be of vital importance to the mission and they will shine.
They are independent and autonomous.
This individual is the one who recognizes what needs to be done and sets in motion the forces to accomplish the task. They make great team leaders and mentors. This salesperson is the one who doesn’t look busy but always has deals working, is using the phone effectively and seems to get the most referral and repeat business.
They have an appreciation for people and events.
This salesperson is the one who is aware of his surroundings. He is a reader, learner and student of human nature. You will recognize him immediately because he is the salesperson who will make you aware there is a situation that needs to be addressed. Your other salespeople will turn to this person for advice or to share a grievance.
Most have had a life-changing experience.
A profound change in circumstance will make people aware of what is important and teach them to overcome adversity. (Ask your salespeople who served during wartime in the military or have experienced the death of one of their children how crystal clear your focus can become). By applying the mental toughness learned during their experience they succeed in spite of the circumstance.
They value intimate relationships.
Successful people may know many, but have real individual relationships with only a few. They value these above all. If your salesperson considers you to be one of those chosen few guard it carefully. If for any reason they feel you have violated that intimacy you will lose them.
They do not confuse the means with the ends.
They recognize what is good and what needs improvement in all areas of their work. They examine what steps, procedures and plans need to be in play in order to achieve the result. They recognize that success is the by product of effort guided by a plan.
Their humor is philosophical as opposed to hostile.
Successful people can laugh at themselves and their humor is often self deprecating. Recognize this individual learns from humor and it is one of the forces that keep them grounded. Let them express their humor; successful people use it as a means to relieve stress, bring themselves back to focus and move on.
They resist conformity.
Successful salespeople are always looking for a better way to accomplish the job. They know that just because it’s always been done a certain way doesn’t make it right or the best way. This is also the reason they have that air of detachment about them. They want to be viewed as different.
They transcend the environment.
Successful people do not get caught up in office politics, nor do they want to. Their focus is on accomplishing the goal. They are the individual who doesn’t fall victim to circumstance. This person is the one who says “I don’t care how many salespeople you hire, I will still be able to succeed and come out on top”. This person is a valuable commodity in helping others see the big picture.
The secret to finding these qualities in your salespeople is to get to know them. Learn about them as an individual. If you are like most managers your time is limited. Time is all you have; it is what you allot your time to that differentiates us.
The reason you are consistently out of time is you haven’t taken the time to develop your people, both their skills and their person. The result is your staff is constantly turning over and you spend a great deal of time looking for their replacements. They are not prepared to do the job so you spend your time doing it for them. (And resenting them for it) Teach them to be problem solvers so you solve the problem for them. Learn to develop them and your job will be easier.
Individual skills for leadership.
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