Salespeople are not lazy. They’re poorly led.
Sales isn’t very much like a lot of other roles. It comes with much more independence than other jobs, like a role in operations where your work simply shows up. The work of selling doesn’t come to you, you have to take action without reacting to some external stimulus. To succeed, you need the self-discipline to manage yourself. Without it, you fail.
The role of salesperson also comes with a great deal of responsibility. In a lot of cases, the growth of the business depends upon salespeople. It’s also the tip of the spear when it comes to executing the businesses strategy. It comes with more pressure than many other roles in business.
When Goals Are Missing
When goals are missing, salespeople—like other people—tend to drift. Without a target, there is nothing to aim for. Without a goal, there isn’t any measurement of success or failure. If you can’t succeed, you also can’t fail.
Goals and target are how we keep score. They keep you focused on taking the actions that produce results.
When Accountability Is Missing
Many managers are afraid to ask salespeople to report their results. They’re petrified to ask for reports on the activity their salespeople generated during the week. Fearful of being accused of being a micromanager, they opt instead to be guilty of neglect.
If you won’t hold your people accountable for results, you are teaching them that results are not important. You’re also informing them that you aren’t engaged in your work and that you are simply drifting, too.
You are accountable for creating accountability.
When Leadership Is Missing
When leadership is missing, most people don’t turn in their very best performance. Leadership provides purpose, meaning, and direction. It provides vision and goals and accountability. It spurs activity and action. When a person demonstrates their own personal leadership, it’s often a sign that they can be counted on to lead others.
Salespeople aren’t lazy. Well, some salespeople must be lazy, but no lazier than any other group of people or profession. And like any other group, leadership is the cure for drifting.
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Filed under: Leadership