With the 3rd quarter recently completed, the time to sit down with your team members and review their performance is likely at hand. 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” and Culbert’s three questions above really struck me as meaningful. So often, we sales managers tend to look for the negative in others. Culbert suggests that managers ought to accept some responsibility for their sales 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.
Our instinct as sales managers is, typically, to look for reasons why our salespeople did not produce more. That’s judgmental. I remember a cartoon I saw in Selling Power magazine. The manager recited to the rep 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.”
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. Salespeople can find this intimidating, and that’s no way to build trust. What about considering what you need to do differently as a sales 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.