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Getting employees to understand. Welcome to this web site .
*Yo*u* *have an employee whose performance is really good in alot of areas.
That is a good start. Tell us more about your business. How long has she been working for you??
How long have you been in business?? How many employees do you have??
You are paying her 40 hours a week + bonuses for productivity.
How would it effect your bottom line if you let go??
"Her mindset is not where I need it to be right now". Has it been in the past and do you know why??
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I am in the staffing business, my company has been running for 6 yrs. in May 2008. She has been with me 6 months. Sales was not so important when our economy was better 3-4 months ago and now I am concerned. Yes, it would hurt my bottom line if I was to let her go, she has a rapport with quite a few of our clients now.
From what you've written, it sounds as though your employee lacks either the competence or the commitment to perform the task you've assigned. Competence is the knowledge, skill, and experience necessary to do the job successfully. Commitment is the confidence and motivation to do the job to the best of her ability.
The analogy I use in one of my seminars is the movie The Karate Kid. Mr. Miyagi didn't just send Daniel to the karate tournament and hope for the best. He coached him to be successful. In this case, you're Miyagi and your employee is Daniel.
Start by finding out what your employee knows about the job you've assigned (selling in the field). If she doesn't know enough, teach her -- starting with the basics, if necessary ("Wax on, wax off.").
If you're certain she knows what to do, assess her skill at actually doing it ("Stand on bow, make boat rock back-forth, keep balance"). In your case, this may mean walking her through various selling scenarios and exercises to see if she really does have the skills needed. If she doesn't, you'll explain the principle, demonstrate the process, have her try it, and then allow her to practice with your guidance and feedback until she is ready to do it for real.
If she has the knowledge and skill, consider her experience. Selling is like driving a car. A lot of people who are great drivers in nice weather are lousy drivers on snow and ice -- simply because they don't have much experience with slick roads and limited visibility. (A lot of experienced salespeople are running into "bad weather" now for the first time in their careers -- they may be highly experienced, but not in this climate!) So just as Miyagi helped Daniel work past the obstacles he encountered during the tournament (including "fixing" his injured leg so he could compete in the championship), you have to touch base with your employee after each sales call to see what problems arose. Praise her for the things she handles well, and offer your help and encouragement on the things she doesn't -- until she has experienced all the problems for herself, and can easily solve them on her own.
Carefully guiding a person through each of these steps gives the employee self-confidence. If Daniel got overconfident ("I want to learn to punch!"), Miyagi kept him on track ("First learn balance -- walk, then fly.") If Daniel got discouraged or just started "going through the motions" during his training, Miyagi offered praise, support, and inspiration -- as well as evidence that allowed Daniel to see his own progress toward what he wanted -- all of which motivated the kid to continue.
It is time-consuming to coach and develop an employee -- and for that reason, a lot of managers don't do it very well. Ultimately, it saves you time in the long run, however. Plus if you invest the time -- if you turn your problem employee into a high performing winner, and the employee knows you were the "sensei" who made her successful in her job and in life -- well, it doesn't get much better than that!
Hope this helps. Best wishes.
One of the hardest lessons I had to learn was that not everyone is capable of doing the same job. This seems obvious on the surfact but it is especially difficult if I am trying to teach something that comes easy to me personally.
Also keep in mind that not everyone is 'hungry' for business. Some are content to do the job at hand. They'll do more if you give it to them but they won't actively pursue it.
I have a wonderful assistant. She is fabulous with customers and she is very good at closing sales with potential customers - both large and small. I have to always remember that she is what I think of as a responder. She responds well to inquiries. She responds well to leads I give her. However, she is not an iniator. She can follow up on leads I give her but on a day to day basis she will not find those leads herself.
It could be a training issue or it could be a matter of natural inclination. The challenge is to find a solution that is workable both for you, her and the overall business.
I think Faerie hit the nail on the head. Not everyone is as motivated as we are about our business.
Doing sales calls is very intimidating for some folks. I wish I didn't have to do it. And lets not even mention talking about money with people.
This is a hard one.
My idea is that it sounds like you are expecting her to go out on her own schedule.
What has worked for me is to sit down with my people and specifically schedule certain days that they are going to be doing specific activities.
This way both you and your employee have an agreement about what will be done and when.
I do my planning meeting on Thursday for the next week. That way they still have Friday to make any changes with me before the week starts.
Couple of thoughts.
1) This person will NEVER be a sales person. You can put lipstick on the pig, but it's still a pig. The reason for this is being successful at sales is a "talent" people have. They either have it or they don't. My wife is excellent at art, I never will be. I'm excellent at numbers, my wife isn't. We ALWAYS will be. That's part of our talents. Sales is the same thing. A-Player salespeople are not built, they are born (I'm not going to get into the nature vs. nurture discussion, but you get the point.) Don't believ me, read "Discover Your Sales Strengths" Don't put lipstick on the pig. At the first opportunity, get a REAL salesperson in the door. When you want to do that, post a question somewhere and I'll find you and tell you how.
2) Assuming you have to keep them temporarily, know that they are complacent right now. She is happy with her current situation so nothing will change, unless somthign changes. Her goal, right now, is set on what she is getting. I recommend doing a little life planning with her. Talk to her about her personal goals. Where is she going? If she made more money, what would she do with it? Does she think it is possible to make those figures? Does she think it is "OK" to make that much? How would it feel when you do make that much? etc. Get her buy in on making more and help her EXPERIENCE what it will be like to be there.
3) Give her some structured training. Dale Carnegie Training does some great training classes. Also, you can can pick up The Sales Advantage, which lays out a sales process. This may help her to feel more comfortable selling.
Maybe you've figured out the answer by now or given up in frustration. Most of us hire employees for one position, possibly an inside sales cordinator, then never talk about selling, cold calling, knocking on doors in person that someone has to do in the staffing business. Rejection is the problem or fear some folks can not deal with in the sales arena. Same goes for making a presentation or public speaking. Inside sales is not a problem because the client initiates the call. Introvert vs extrovert is a factor, however, you could just have an employee that's lazy and getting away with it.
How do you justify paying her for 40 hours? If her volume of business does not validate her salary then we need to talk about job performance and expectations. Many of us run our business from the "heart" rather than return on investment... I'm guilty.... but hindsight says that's a bad business decision for an owner.
The first place I would start is to sit down and talk to her.
As business has changed it sounds like your expectations have too
She may have no idea what your expectations are...
I agree with Puzzleman, sit down and write out a schedule.
Let her know when you expect her to be out in advance.
Be honest and frank with her.
Great insight from Faerie and Puzzleman! One other observation: In addition to weekly sales planning, it may be a good idea to also put a long-term performance plan together (for a span of, say, one year). Think of it as employee review with an action plan. This will take a little bit of work on your part, but the benefits are often tremendous! I've found that employees crave direction, clarity, follow-up and recognition from their manager. They want to be productive. Hope this helps.
You brought up some interesting ideas. Reading this thread has opened my eyes to a few different angles I hadn't considered when dealing with my employees needs. Thanks I'm looking forward to participating in the exchange of ideas through this forum in the future.
You have received some great advice in this thread! I can only add one other suggestion. Go on a few sales calls with your employee. This is really just a continuation of the training process. Role playing is great and training in the office is great, but I have found that actually taking the trainee out on sales calls with you so that they can see real world examples is extremely beneficial! Show her how it is done and this way you can take a lot of the fear out of the process!
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I have an employee whose performance is really good in alot of areas. The problem is she has been told how important it is that she helps me market and sell out in the field. I feel like she should take the iniative without me constantly reminding her or telling her she needs to go out in the field today or tommorow. I feel like I am a broken record and that with the economy in Florida right now, I can't afford to hire another employee, I would rather the employees I have now be productive. It costs me too much to retrain and takes too long, I have 1 office that is about to close and her office is dropping in reveunue. I can't sell for both, I need her help but more than 4-6 hours a week. I am paying her 40 hours a week + bonuses for productivity, it seems like she feels I need her so much that she can sell when she feels like it. Her mindset is not where I need it to be right now.
Does anyone have any feedback or suggestions??
Does anyone have any feedback or suggestions??