Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Success With People Formula: A + E = E

"I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among men
the greatest asset I possess. The way to develop the best
that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement."

-- Charles Schwab

Having so many years of managing sales teams, I've tried many different methods. None is even near as successful as it is stated in the quote above: to appreciate and encourage. It is by far the most successful approach to sales success that exists in my opinion.

In my first sales manager position back in 1975, I was 25 years old and the youngest person on my sales staff was 34 and the oldest was 64, and I had worked with all of them at the same dealership as a salesman. Talk about a tough crowd. . . there is no way I could be tough with them because they would just laugh in my face, so I had to find better ways of succeeding in dealing with them in my new position as their direct supervisor. I learned to appreciate their differences, their specific talents and their personalities. I learned how to encourage. It's interesting that someone will respond to encouragement where they would never respond to the slightest criticism when you've worked with them for a few years already. So, if it works in that situation, it will work in every situation.

It was years later at a different dealership, that I started getting cocky and perhaps even arrogant. I started trying typical auto business sales management techniques. It was mostly focused on what they were doing wrong or poorly and what they should be doing to change that. Over and over I gave those talks until one day in the middle of one, one of my friends in the room stood up and tore me apart. I knew better what I had lost my way in thinking that all these other dealerships were doing it better. Truth is they weren't. That last talk was the last of that "put down" strategy, and I returned to the "lift up" strategy that worked so well, and I've never gone back.

As a result of this mentality when it comes to sales management, I've heard several sales people that I had the pleasure of working with in the past say that they would work for me anytime, anywhere. That is a really good feeling. I know they don't mean that literally, but it certainly is a vote of confidence and respect that I appreciate very much.

If I could be so bold as to give advice to every business, it is to treat all of your team with appreciation and encouragement. It will bring out the best in people. Even when you have to change people out of your team because they do not perform well in what they were hired to do, the mutual respect and appreciation for the person remains and the change is accepted in that way most of the time. Of all of the things that I have learned in sales management, this is absolutely the most powerful and effective. It is team building. It is great team building.

Success with people formula: Appreciation + Encouragement = Enthusiasm

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