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Rule #16: Follow the four Goldie Locks steps.
Use middle ground management as your strategy. We have two different types of managers if we go to extremes. We’ve got those who are detail oriented, and they’re looking over your shoulders, and they’re micro-managers. Micro-managers create an environment where people are afraid to act on their own, where they’re afraid to take that next step. That’s not a good place to live. You don’t want to create learned helplessness within your team. As a matter of fact, you want to create what I’m going to call, self-sufficiency, where people feel empowered to do what they think is the best within the guardrails that you provided as a leader. So, that’s micro-managers right. We’re looking over our shoulders all the time. We’re wondering if we did the right thing, kind of even worried whether I’m going to get fired or not.
The exact opposite spectrum are the hands-off people. Those are the big picture managers. Those are the managers who say, “I hired you. You’re professional. Get your job done. Tell me if there’s a problem and by the way, if you don’t tell me there’s a problem that’s even better news. I trust you. I expect you to get your job done.” Now, those people are the exact opposite. You don’t know whether you’re doing something right or wrong. You don’t even know whether they’re paying attention to all of your hard work.
See, sales people, we want to be paid attention to. Sales people want your strokes as their sales leader. They want your attention as a sales leader because they work for you. So, there’s a fine line between too hot or too cold, which is micro-management or no management at all. I’m going to give you four quick things that you should do to get this middle-level management style. Of course, you could go a little too detailed and a little too big picture depending on the situation, but that’s a conscious decision. That’s not a style by default.
So, number one, identify clear team goals. You want to make sure everybody understands what they’re supposed to do and when they’re supposed to do it. Number two, make it personal. So, a corporate goal and a personal goal, those are two separate things. Just having a corporate goal and a departmental goal and saying, you’re going to make $100,000 if you hit your goal is not good enough. You’ve got to make sure that they understand what their role is in the departmental goal and second, you’ve got to make sure that they understood what would they do with the $100,000 if they hit that corporate goal. Are they going to go on vacation? Are they going to invest in their new home? What are they going to do?
Number three, make your priorities. Set priorities. Tell them which goals are more important. It’s even better if they tell you, and we’re on the same page because when they tell you, it’s true. When you tell them, it’s an opinion. That’s how it works. People don’t argue with their own data. So, make sure that you have analyzed, and you’ve organized, and you put in their goals into priorities.
And finally, number four, collaborate and an action plan. That’s very important. Why? Because in the action plan of the goals is where the meat is; that’s where the rubber hits the road. You want to make sure that you have an action plan that you’ve bought in on as a sales leader and you agree with for that individual to hit personal goals, departmental goals, and corporate goals.
Here’s the other thing, when you collaborate then it’s their plan. When you give somebody a plan, if it doesn’t go well it’s your fault, it’s your plan. But, if it’s my plan that I collaborated on, that I co-created, I will do everything in my power to make sure that it happens. So, ask yourself, is it too cold or is it too hot? That decision is yours as a sales leader. I suggest that you take the middle ground. Good selling.
THE SANDLER RULES FOR SALES LEADERS details a sales management process that works. It offers 49 timeless, proven principles for effective sales leadership, based on the Sandler Selling System. The book is the sequel to the Wall Street Journal bestseller THE SANDLER RULES, also authored by David Mattson.