“Trust but Verify.” It’s great advice from Ronald Reagan for CEOs and Sales Managers having trouble with meeting their sales goals.
Sales management is ultimately about three things.
- Making sure the right customers are being called on.
- Making sure the right things are being discussed on sales calls.
- Making sure the right people are making the sales calls.
Let’s apply “Trust but Verify” to these items. First, trust that your sales people are doing one and two. But, verify that they are being done. How you verify:
- Weekly sales meetings to debrief on the previous week’s calls, to plan next week’s calls, and to practice (yes, that means role playing) how to make calls correctly.
- Daily review of the best and worst sales calls made that day. Get the details. No details, it hasn’t been done.
- Coaching calls and team calls–to watch and teach how to make calls correctly.
- In the hiring process, get evidence (the facts) about how candidates made calls and compare to how you know calls need to be made at your company. Get references from someone who can verify the facts on how they sold. Get the candidate to set up the reference call. No facts and no references mean they haven’t made calls.
I don’t say all of this because I want to be a hard case about sales people or think they are liars or lazy. Being good at sales requires practice and coaching. It’s one of the few jobs where the sales person is usually totally on their own. They get tons of “no’s” and get worn out. It’s easy to get into bad habits and ruts. They need their leaders to “trust” that they are doing the job well, and “verify” that they actually are so they can be coached to better performance.