Consider the following questions:
- On what basis – or standards – are you evaluating the ability of your advisors to execute?
- How have you communicated that to your advisors?
- On what are you holding them accountable? Just sales results? If so, how are you helping them reach those sales results?
If you can answer these questions and are adhering to and consistently applying the answers, you are likely in very good shape. If not, you probably cannot answer the next question …
Do you know what “good” looks like?
This is one of the first questions we ask our clients when discussing the skills necessary for effective sales delivery and coaching. If your answer is yes, then you probably had good answers to the opening questions. Unfortunately, the response is most-often met with a blank stare or “uuuhh, that is a good question.” Even if answered yes, it is rare that “good” can be clearly and consistently articulated throughout the team, must less demonstrated.
What do we mean by “good”?
You may have seen David Greene’s April 2013 video titled, “What Is A Competency.” If not, find it here. In this video, David speaks about “tightly defining your competencies to ensure consistent, dependable execution of the right competencies … that will lead to increases in revenue and profitability, as execution improves.”
Once you properly define these competencies, then how do you ensure they are consistently applied? By ensuring that everyone involved in driving sales revenue – sales people AND sales leaders alike – knows what “good” looks like for each competency.
Why does it matter?
Without this clear definition, you can be confident that you are not effectively coaching your advisors, holding them accountable to expectations, and maximizing your sales potential. Without clear standards and skill expectations, your sales people are likely doing it their own way or doing their best to replicate whatever training you have given them, hoping that it works to the satisfaction of the Sales Leader (IF they are paying attention), or that they are at least producing enough to keep him or her out of their office. Similarly, your Sales Leaders are left to their own definition of skill effectiveness within each competency, thereby coaching advisors based on their own style or how THEY used to do it. And most importantly, your prospects and clients are encountering an inconsistent sales experience and likely one you do not intend to deliver.
So how do you ensure consistent execution of “good”?
What do you mean by “good”?
“Good” is the clear standard by which you define your client engagement competency. It includes both the understanding of the competency as well and the skill to deliver it. David speaks to this in his video by using a golf example – the combination of knowing how to swing the various shots needed in your game and the ability to effectively execute it consistently throughout all 18 holes.
The same holds true in defining your competencies. For each competency, you establish the clear standards. Take, for example, the client discovery/initial engagement phase of the sales process. Your standards might include effectively articulating your purpose/role, understanding the prospect’s priorities, and asking effective questions to uncover needs to help the client to recognize his or her needs and the importance of addressing them. Then, you must be able to incorporate that understanding of the process into a good conversation.
It is critical that everyone – particularly your sales leaders – knows these standards and how to effectively deliver on them. If everyone is aligned to those clear standards, you are on your way to providing a consistent and compelling sales experience throughout your organization.
Three Steps to Consistently Delivering “Good”
While there are certainly many facets to performance management and skill development, there are three simple (though not necessarily easy) steps that will take you a long way toward solving for these “misses.”
- Defining the experience you want to deliver to your clients through the sales process.
- Defining clear and concrete competencies that you expect in the sales role to (1) ensure effective execution of that sales process, and (2) deliver on your client promise. (See, “So What is a Competency?”)
- Defining clear and concrete standards for each competency. In other words, define what “good” looks like for each competency.
- Ensure, via training and practice repetitions, that all sales leaders can articulate, demonstrate, and coach to what “good” looks like.
By knowing what “good” looks like and holding to it throughout the organization, you will gain:
- Clarity as to expectations (and the peace that comes with that for Advisors)
- Heightened accountability
- Consistency in execution of your intended sales experience
At Greene Consulting, we work with clients in the financial services on these and similar issues to ensure they are maximizing their potential in driving revenue growth. For more information, visit our website at www.greeneconsults.com or call us directly at 404-324-4600.