We were in the locker at half-time, down by two points. Kenny, our center, felt like he was playing a terrible game. He already had two fouls, and the guy he was guarding seemed like he was scoring at will.
Coach then pulled out the stat sheet, and what Kenny found is that he had 12 points, and his opponent was only up to 14 points. He was having a good game and hit 66% of his shots. The guy he was guarding had 14 points but was only scoring on 40% of his shots. Kenny was playing a great game, but he didn’t realize it.
A preacher once told me, “your feelings are valid, just not reliable.” The concept applies here, too. When you are coaching a producer, you can count on the fact that they are subjective in how they feel about their progress.
So, what do stats have to do with coaching producers? Perhaps everything.
Ironically, we criticize prospects for turning to the last page of the proposal to look at the price before looking at anything else. As sales leaders, we do the same thing. We only look up how much they sold. But the problem happens because that’s where the effort generally stops.
If our producer hit their numbers, we pat them on the back and tell them they did a good job. If our producer doesn’t hit their numbers, we encourage them to “try” harder. In reality, the producer hitting their numbers might be the one that needs to try harder and the one struggling needs to keep up the work ethic, but needs help driving the right behaviors.
But you’d never know that unless you have the stats.
Human nature drives most of us to pat ourselves on the back when we are doing well and punish ourselves emotionally when we aren’t performing. Neither is a sustainable practice if you want to improve, which is where the stats come to play.
Most producers and their leaders don’t grasp how much work went into creating the desired outcome. How many dials did it take to produce a conversation? How many of those dials converted to a set appointment?
The No. 1 reason why most producers don’t achieve their sales goal is that they didn’t set enough appointments. Which means they didn’t make enough phone calls. It’s that simple.
The majority of sales leaders don’t care about how a producer writes new business — they only care about getting the revenue. It works well if you have a team of dedicated and reliable producers.
Do you have a team of producers that get the job done year after year? If so, you should have stopped reading when you saw the headline.
For the rest of you, there is a good chance that 20% of your producers are high-performers, and the rest of them drive you completely nuts.
Do you have a system to understand which producers are contributing the top 20% of your business, and which ones aren’t? If not, there’s a strong chance that you are managing your producers with your feelings, and not with stats.
If you were in court and had to prove your producers’ activity or else you’d go to jail, most of us would probably end up in the slammer.
Here’s the insane part: the fact that you can’t validate your underperformer’s activity is what is keeping you in a jail of your own making.
Let me describe your prison. While driving on the way to work, you start thinking about your producers. “What the hell is wrong with John, he hasn’t written poop this year?”
Then you enter a never-ending cycle in your mind. Should I fire him? Should I keep him? Should I leave him alone? He’s a good guy, but he’s not working out. He’s not costing us money, but he’s not making us any money. You finally say to yourself, “Let’s give him some time and see what happens.”
The problem: it’s the same thing you say to yourself about him every week. Your prison walls are fortified with loads of false information and ignorance.
Here are some of the things you don’t know about John. What would John’s new business goal be this year if you didn’t make him put some arbitrary number on a piece of paper?
Would it be $0, $50,000, $75,000, $100,000? What impact does that have on his lifestyle, or his ability to fund his kids’ education and weddings? What effect does that have on his ability to max out his 401(k) or fund his retirement?
You’re his sales leader, and you don’t know, do you?
How many prospects does Johnny have in his database that have profitable revenue? What is John’s close-ratio on new business? How many appointments does he need every month to make his goal? What is John’s daily “dial” goal to lead to his appointment goal? How many conversations does he need to have to set an appointment?
As the sales leader, you don’t know, and you probably don’t care. You just want John to produce. But he isn’t producing, just like most of your other producers.
You have two honest choices. Put your head in the sand, look the other way, and hope the problem goes away. Or you can attack the problem with the truth that stats will provide you.
Granted, it doesn’t mean the problem will automatically get better. But it does mean you can identify and now focus on the real problem:
- Is it that he’s not making enough dials?
- Is it that he can’t convince a prospect to set an appointment?
- Is it when he gets on the sales call, he can’t find pain or a reason the buyer would want to buy from him over the incumbent?
Which problem is it: inactivity or ineffectiveness? Until you find out, you don’t have a prayer to fix it.
Imagine you had all those stats on John and your other under-performers to pinpoint the real problem. Then, imagine you knew what to do to coach and train them to improve.
What would that do for your business? What would that do to get you out of prison?
Escaping your sales prison starts with knowing the truth, and stats are a big part of that equation.
If you want to learn more about how to fine tune your agency’s growth, download your free digital copy of Agency Growth Machine here: www.thewedge.net/free-book/.
Or don’t and rely on your gut feelings instead.
Which reality do you choose for your business?
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