Salespeople need to be potty trained

If you’ve ever had the joy of potty training a toddler, you can appreciate how your emotions are strained to the extreme boundaries of patience.  I firmly believe potty training is God’s shout-out to your parents for all of the hell you put them through. Why does one child grasp the concept of potty training while another looks at you as if English is a 3rd language? As a father of 4, I have figured it out; some kids just get it quicker than others.  I’m going to jump out on a limb and predict that just because your kid is potty trained faster than mine does not guarantee him a future star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame; the same is true for salespeople. One salesperson may hit the floor looking like the next Joe Girard, while another new hire looks like….well let’s say the jury is still out on him.

We don’t give up on our kids when they are getting acquainted with the Porcelain Throne, nor should pass judgment too quickly on whether or not we got a winner. Children need 4 things when potty training: Instruction (by example), Consistency, Encouragement, and Discipline; sound familiar?  

·         Instruction: Regardless of tenure, salespeople need to be properly shown how to do their job effectively and efficiently; yes that means occasionally, a manager will have to demagnetize his rear from the big black chair and show your salespeople how it’s done. The greatest form of leadership is to lead by example. As a leader, uncork the vintage bottle of Vendeur de Voitures (car salesman in French), and pour a glass of your knowledge out to your students.

·         Consistency: Ah the kryptonite of every dealership, consistency. Consistency is the glue to your team’s success; they learn consistency by mirroring what you do or don’t do. Don’t like your team, go look in the mirror. When your team knows why they are doing something, the how is easier to manage. It’s easy to be consistent when times are good; erosion begins when instant gratification is chosen in lieu of long-term stability. Isn’t it ironic how consistency walks hand in hand with integrity?

·         Encouragement: As a parent, you celebrate the “almosts” as valiantly as you do a total victory. Catch your salespeople doing right, not just when they’re doing wrong. Salespeople are anemic to Attaboy’s; nothing will lift a salesperson’s spirit faster when you celebrate what they did right on a deal-even though they did not make a sale. You cannot give too many Attaboy’s out; a pass or fail mentality will demoralize your team.

·         Discipline: “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” says ancient script; though they will never admit it, your children salespeople need discipline. When they know there are consequences to their actions, it enforces accountability; accountability will invariably lead to the formation of good habits; bad habits are formed due to a lack of consistency and discipline.

Every kid will eventually learn how to make it to the porcelain playground-in the meantime there will be plenty of paper towels, carpet cleaner, and Fabulosa to clean up the mishaps; equally a leader must manage the mishaps through instruction, consistency, encouragement, and discipline in order for a salesperson to make it out on the black top…by the way put the lid down on your way out.

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