If you’re like most sales managers, you’ve either just completed a round of quarterly reviews or have some just around the corner. Here are three questions you should ask each of your salespeople during your next one-on-one:
1. What are you getting from me that you like and find helpful?
2. What are you getting from me that limits your effectiveness?
3. What are you not getting from me that would help you produce more – and why do you need this at this time?
I recently read Samuel Culbert’s great book, Get Rid of the Performance Review. Culbert’s three questions really struck me as meaningful. So often, we managers tend to look for the negative in others. Culbert suggests that managers ought to accept some responsibility for their team’s performance. So if one of your reps has a bad quarter you should consider what responsibility you might have had in their poor performance.
During a 1-on-1 meeting, when we look for reasons and explanations as to why a rep may not have performed up to standard, we tend to look for what the rep needs to do to get better. I remember a cartoon I saw in Selling Power magazine: the manager recited all the rep’s outstanding accomplishments throughout his sales career, then concluded his remarks with, “But you know, Jones, your last 30 minutes have been pitiful.” Salespeople can find this kind of fault-picking intimidating, and that’s no way to build trust.
So next time around, what about considering what you need to do differently as a manager to help your team be more successful? By asking the three questions above you can re-set the tone of your performance review meetings.