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  • Jamie Crosbie

5 WAYS TO RUIN YOUR SALES TEAM


You have probably heard the famous quote, “Failure is not an option.” To which we reply, “Sure it is.” And a lot of companies are proving it every day. In fact, according to a study presented by none other than Bloomberg, 8 out of every 10 business will fail.


That’s right folks. 80% of all companies will not only hit the wall, it will fall over on them. Sobering isn’t it? And one of the biggest reasons cited in the study was that they did not create relevant market discussions.  They did not present their value propositions clearly enough.


Remember the old classic prison movie starring Paul Newman? What was it? Oh yeah, Cool Hand Luke. The warden has this one line that is quite powerful. He has Paul Newman (Luke) shot and says, “What we have here, is a failure to communicate…”


So, just like your mom always said, you need to learn to get along with the other kids. This was a nice way of saying that you have to communicate in a meaningful way. And not just with your customers either.

Poor communication and a lack of leadership can shred your company from within by undermining team morale.


Want to kill your sales? Damage your reputation? Destroy your profits and demoralize your troops?


It is easier than you think. And it is expensive too. Researchers at Fairleigh Dickenson University determined that stress and negative mood states lead to lower productivity. How much lower? Try an estimated financial loss of over $200 billion dollars per year.


Here is something else to chew on: a recent study published in the prestigious Statistics in Medicine magazine showed that moods are contagious and they have a direct and quantifiable impact on how well your sales people do in the field. Suffice to say that happy sales people sell more than unhappy ones.


Sure-fire Ways to Sink the Sales Ship


Create a culture of fear by focusing on mistakesMicromanage them to deathDon’t Keep Your Word- make empty promisesDemand immediate resultsDismiss ideas that do not conform ( kill originality)


It’s Not My Fault


First, you can easily create a system in which people scapegoat, point the finger and deny responsibility by ‘killing the messenger’. The idea of killing the messenger is actually based on real history. Some emperors did, in fact, behead those who brought bad tidings. All they accomplished was to create an atmosphere in which no one talked about problems because they did not want to put themselves at risk.


The solution is to be transparent. People have to be able to talk about what is wrong in order to make it right. Think of a genuine open door policy as GPS. You cannot move forward if you do not have a clear idea of where you really are.


Micromanagement Versus Empowerment


Next, if you really want to kill off productivity, micromanage everything. Don’t trust your people. Never give them the power to make decisions. Instead, make them jump through hoops and demand to know what they are doing every second. If you do this well enough, they will spend more time tracking their time that they never actually get any real work done.


The solution for this to set attainable goals and delegate. You have to trust your people and allow them to solve problems as a team. Good leaders know that people have a tendency to rise (or fall) to the level of our expectations.


Tell the Truth


Here is a great way to really handicap yourself. Promise them everything and then never deliver. Trust is a two way street and what you say matters. It is better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around. As Albert Einstein once said, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” People notice when you keep your word.


Demand, Demand, Demand


Heidi Grant Halvorson wrote a bestselling book entitled, “9 Things Successful People Do Differently.” The upshot of the message is that successful people don’t get there because of who they are, per se. They reach goals because of how they take action, what they do. Successful people, for instance, tend to set very specific goals. They also focus on what actions they can take, rather than what actions they need to avoid.


It is the same thing when setting sales goals for your team. Simply making demands without providing the tools is like telling someone to build a house without lumber and nails. It’s probably not going to end well. If you want to grow a tree, you do not just dump a seed into the ground and yell at it. You must plan, cultivate and create change by taking incremental steps.


If You Don’t Understand it, Kill it!


Lastly, if you are dead set on drilling holes in your boat while sailing on the high seas, make certain that you automatically reject any and every idea that does not fit the cookie cutter model already in place. Never think outside the box. In fact, try staying in a fetal position inside of it.


Research has shown that creativity and laughter can help people solve problems faster. For example, when teams were allowed to approach difficult problems in a creative manner, they fared better than those who were more limited. Humor and social bonding as well as a positive mindset, helped teams solve problems faster.  


For more information on reaching your sales goals and building a rock star sales team, subscribe to our blog.

Jamie Crosbie President ProActivate, Inc. jcrosbie@proactivate.net 214-720-9922