Ever wonder why your sales team is not crazy about the word accountability? Well accountability usually sounds like this: “We’ve set your goals, we’ve bought a CRM (customer relationship management system) to track and measure your results. Please have your sales report filed by Friday morning at 8 a.m. and we will review first thing Monday morning at our weekly sales meeting.”
To a sales person this sounds a lot like Charlie Brown’s teacher. All we hear is “Blah, blah, I am going to micromanage everything you are doing, blah, blah, blah”. No wonder we don’t like accountability.
But to master sales in a Trust and Value Economy, you need to learn to hold yourself accountable. Accountability is one of the most misunderstood and misused terms in the sales process. Often it is used to catch people doing something wrong, rather than to help people do more things right.
Yes, you still establish goals, determine behaviors, and track and measure for results, but instead of being focused on the results, you focus on the information you learn from those results. There is gold in that information, and gold in what you learn from reviewing it.
Let me give you an example. When I was working as a Retail Banking Executive, we started an initiative to get our tellers involved in the sales process. (Think I just dated myself!) Anyhow, we provided incentives, gave the tellers sales training, and tracked and measured their results. One teller’s results came back less than impressive every week. She (Tina) was diligently making all of her required calls, sometimes even more, but could not seem to close a sale. She was frustrated to say the least and a little scared about keeping her job.
One Friday, when she once again turned in her lackluster results, her manager asked to speak with her. First, she complimented Tina on doing a such a great job of consistently making her calls, tracking her results and turning in her sales reports. Then she asked Tina what the problem seemed to be, and why she felt she was not able to close a sale. As they discussed the issue, Tina’s manager determined the problem had to be either who Tina was calling or what she was saying. Something she would not know if Tina was not tracking her results. So Tina’s manager offered to listen as Tina made a few calls. The second call Tina made, her manager knew instantly how to fix the problem. She offered to let Tina listen to her make a few calls. After two calls, Tina tried again, and wouldn’t you know it — she easily got a referral.
Tina went on to win the Exceptional Teller Award in our region that next year. Something that never would have happened if she had not been held accountable, made to track and measure her results, and asked to share her progress at team sales meetings.
Now Tina was lucky, she had a great manager who was also a terrific coach. However, you don’t need a great manager or a terrific coach to benefit from accountability.
Follow these four steps to learn to hold yourself accountable:
1. Establish Goals – Set both a number and behavior goal. While it is important to know the number of new clients you want and revenue you need to make, it is also important to clearly establish what types of behaviors you need to change to reach those goals. Behaviors such as number of prospects you need to touch, clients you need to follow up with, or referrals you need to ask for in order to reach those goals.
2. Track and Measure – Track and measure both the behaviors and the results. By tracking and measuring both, you will know if the behaviors you have established are leading to the results you want.
3. Review Progress – Set aside time once a month to review your progress. Quiet time when you can review the calls you made, clients you followed up with and actually reflect on what you are doing that is working and what is not.
4. Determine Next Steps – Then establish what you need to change, adjust or get help with in order to continue to improve your sales process and overall success rate.
By following these steps and holding yourself accountable you will expand your knowledge and sales skills, and continue to make sales fun, easy and incredibly productive!