About Diane Helbig

Diane Helbig is an international business and leadership change agent, author, award-winning speaker, radio show host and web TV channel host. As president of Seize This Day (http://www.seizethisday.co) based in Cleveland, she helps businesses and organizations operate more constructively and profitably. She can be reached via email at diane@seizethisday.co.

Your Organization Works Best When the Right People Are in the Right Positions

Have you ever watched a football game and thought about your business? I did that the other day. It struck me that there is great value in considering your business as if it were a football team. The basic structure is set. What matters is who occupies each position — and that includes the staff.

When we look at a football organization, we see specific positions that require certain skills. It’s pretty clear. There can be crossover where a player has skills that fit more than one position. This makes the team more flexible.

We can use the football org chart for a company as a whole, or for a department within a company. The hierarchy works just as well in either. While the structure is important, the behavior of the people in the various positions has tremendous value.

What does it take to become a Super Bowl-worthy football team? The right people have to be in each position. The leadership has to be skilled at coaching the players. Everyone has to appreciate their role as part of the whole and contribute consistently. 

The degree to which the leadership directs the team is directly related to how seasoned the team is. A young team — one that hasn’t worked together before — requires more direction and management. The more seasoned, experienced team can work with less direction and more autonomy. 

Let’s use the New England Patriots as our example. We can easily argue that the right people are in the right positions from the head coach to the assistants to the entire player roster. There is a respect throughout the organization — everyone respects everyone else’s ability to do their jobs. This respect is translated into expectations. There is consistent conversation about what is going on during a game. Ideas are discussed, plays are attempted, and adjustments are made as needed.

Sometimes the quarterback calls an audible, changing the play in the moment. Members of the defense are often communicating with their teammates about what they see on the other side of the line. Players change positions prior to the snap. 

Why does this matter to business leaders? How we successfully lead determines whether we have a Super Bowl team or not. And that is directly related to how successful our company continues to be.

There are four things that we can take from a Super Bowl football team to lead our businesses more effectively. They are referred to by the acronym PECK:

  • People
  • Empowerment
  • Communication
  • Kudos

People

Every organization works best when the right people are in the right positions. It’s about skillset and attitude. Each role has specific functions that must be completed accurately, effectively, and in a quality fashion. It’s critical for the leadership to look first at someone’s attitude, second their skill set, and third, their accomplishments. Too often, leaders promote people beyond their ability. Or they put someone in a job because they need the position filled. Those are inadequate reasons and lead to failure. 

Start from the job description. What skills does the person need to possess in order to do the job well? Match them and you are far ahead. The attitude you are looking for is one of team player, commitment, can-do; the person should be able to work independently and with little direction. To ensure you are hiring someone who really is suited to the position, consider their past performance in a similar position.

Remember — a good salesperson won’t necessarily be a good sales manager. The positions require different skills.

Empowerment

Want to get a lot out of your staff? Empower them to take ownership of their job. Many leaders think they have to micromanage every action of every employee. The truth is this — micromanaging signals a lack of trust. When you don’t trust that your employees know what to do, or will go ahead and do their jobs, you hover, monitor, and micromanage. It’s disrespectful and only causes low morale. You don’t get what you are hoping for; quite the opposite.

When you have the right people in the right positions, it’s easy to empower them to perform at their best. The right people have the right skills and know what to do. They are able to analyze a situation and adjust if necessary. They are able to work together toward a common goal. And they understand how their participation impacts the organization as a whole. 

Empowerment is a show of respect. It makes everyone’s job easier.

Communication

Communication is the key to success in any organization. The more we share information, and solicit input/feedback, the more cohesive our team will be. Everyone on the team should know and understand the goals of the organization as well as the reasons behind any initiatives. Things can change, and those changes can have an impact on how the employees do their jobs and live their lives. Sharing the “why” behind all decisions mitigates any concerns or challenges moving forward.

Along with sharing these details, seeking information, ideas, and feedback is one of the best ways to involve staff members in the actual operation of the business. It may be limited to their role in the company. The point is that open, honest, and reciprocal communication builds camaraderie and increases buy-in.

The opposite is also true and deserves mentioning. Withholding information and failing to seek input tells your people you don’t value them. After all, if you respect and care about people you communicate with them. 

Kudos

Celebrate successes, no matter how small. Acknowledge individual accomplishments. Positive feedback and reinforcement work wonders for continued commitment to the team. Considering our Super Bowl team, there’s a variety of celebration activity, from end zone celebrating to coaches patting players on the head or the back. Accomplishments are celebrated. When people feel appreciated, they excel.

Take a look at your company and ask yourself, “Is this a Super Bowl team?” If you’re not sure, it’s worth a deeper dive. Consider whether you have a PECK system in place. The good news is you can make adjustments and institute changes at any time. You can turn things around and create an environment where everyone performs at their best.

About the author: Diane Helbig is a leadership and business development advisor helping business owners around the world. She is the author of Lemonade Stand Sellingand Expert Insights,as well as the host of the “Accelerate Your Business Growth” podcast. For more information, visit www.seizethisday.co.

How Sales Management Can Hurt Sales

There’s a sales management philosophy in too many companies that is actually working against sales growth. And the salespeople know it. The philosophy goes like this:

  • Walk in 40 doors a day.
  • Make 40 calls a day.
  • Hand your business card to everyone.
  • Gather as many business cards as you can.
  • Sell, sell, sell.

While this is a lot of activity and can look good on a sales report, it isn’t usually productive. And it shifts the goal from getting business to participating in a specific behavior.

This usually happens because the owner or sales manager found great success using these methods. That’s great for them! But it doesn’t mean everyone is going to be successful doing it that way.

sIn addition, today’s business environment doesn’t really offer a welcoming landscape for this kind of behavior. The consumers are very well educated and are really looking for someone they trust. The salesperson is better off working on relationship building rather than tallying the number of doors knocked.

Many companies with this philosophy have a lot of turnover in the sales department. And do you know why? Because people join the company with the best of intentions and in many cases a great method for gaining sales. When they discover that they can’t implement their method, but rather have to engage in behavior that doesn’t work for them, they don’t hit their sales goals. So, they leave — either voluntarily or by request.

Either way, it’s not good for the company. The cost alone of bringing on a new employee is significant. Think about it. You’ve got to run ads, sift through resumes, interview, hire, onboard, train, and then exit. Go ahead and put dollar values on each of those items, then add them up. Now include the lack of sales into the cost. All the business you didn’t do! It’s an expensive proposition.

Building Confidence

Another key concern is the image that develops of the company in the community. Think about things from the prospect or client’s point of view. If, every time they turn around there’s a new salesperson introducing themselves, you’re telegraphing instability within your company. Is that really the message you are trying to send? Customers want confidence that the salesperson they’ve grown to trust will be there for more than a hot minute. If they keep seeing new salespeople, their trust goes down. That’s never good.

So, I ask you, which is more important?

  1. Engaging in a specific activity
  2. Gaining new clients

I’d say No. 2. And if that really is more important, then it doesn’t matter how it is done — as long as it is moral, legal, and ethical.

Sales managers would be better off sharing the vision and the goals of the company with their sales staff while leaving the sales strategy to each salesperson. Empower the sales team to develop their own process and then monitor their results. Give them the resources they need to be successful. Be there for them when they need advice, or training. And communicate with them on a regular basis about their results. As long as the results are there, the process shouldn’t matter.

Think about why you hire someone. Is it because you believe they have the skills and personality necessary to succeed at sales? Probably. And if so, don’t you owe it to them to trust them to do the job? Whenever we tell someone how to do something, we’re really saying that we don’t trust them to do it right. There’s a confidence killer!

It’s like hiring someone for their great attitude and then squashing that attitude. Makes no sense. Respecting the sales staff means talking with them, not at them. It means listening to what they have to say, respecting their ability, and expecting them to deliver. Period. The best way to disrespect the sales staff is to tell them to do things your way. Then you are telling them that you don’t trust them to do it right, or well, or successfully. Believe me when I tell you, you won’t get what you are wanting if you engage in this sort of “management.” Instead, lead your team. Help them be the best they can be.

After all, sales is about relationships, not dialing for dollars. Let your salespeople network and develop relationships with referral partners, prospects, and clients. Their time will be better spent, the results will be there, and everyone will be happier. If one of the salespeople decides to make 40 calls a day, great! That is their preferred method. It should be more important to make sure your salespeople have a strategy that makes sense to them than to have a strategy that only makes sense to the sales manager.

Social Media Marketing Requires Strategy

Social media Social media is one of the most effective avenues for marketing your business, no matter what industry you are in. It is low to no cost and provides a business with connection to a wide range of prospects, referral partners, and clients.

One thing to embrace about social media marketing is that the best campaigns are informational; sharing information and knowledge works really well with social media. You are positioning your company as the experts in the field. That’s how you build trust. So, when you are thinking about creating a strategy, think about what you know that you can share.

Start with what you are hoping to accomplish. All marketing should have a goal. What do you want people to do? Social media does not respond well to “buy now” types of marketing campaigns. However, you have a great opportunity to create awareness and action that connects you to your buyer.

So, what do you want people to do? Call or visit your business? Clip a coupon? Watch a video? Attend an event? Be very clear and specific about what you want this particular campaign to accomplish. You will have a chance to implement other campaigns in the future. It’s important to realize that marketing is the kind of thing that changes over time. As your goals change, your marketing will change with it. So, don’t get caught up thinking that you have to have one sensational marketing campaign. Sensational would be great! However, you will want to create and implement marketing campaigns over time. So, focus on the goal at hand.

Now that you know what you want people to do, ask yourself this key question: which people? What does your target audience look like? And please don’t think it’s everyone, or everyone with a roof! It isn’t. Your best clients have things in common. Create the outline of that great client so you know who you are speaking to. Knowing who you are targeting is instrumental in creating your marketing strategy. You probably have a couple of target audiences. You aren’t going to message to all of them in the same way or the same places. For example, if one of your target audiences is over 80 years old, social media marketing may not be the way to go. Traditional marketing is probably more effective with them. If a target market is women in their 40s or 50s, Facebook is ideal.

When your message is broad because you trying to hit everyone, you hit no one. Your message should be specific and should be directed at a clear target audience. This is how they will hear it. Remember that you can implement other marketing campaigns to reach out to other audiences. Stay away from trying to hit all of them at once. That’s a message that will be so big no one will hear it and you won’t accomplish your goal.

Once you know what you want to say, and who you want to say it to, you have to decide where you should be communicating. This is a critical part of social media marketing success.

There is a danger of getting caught up in trying to do what the business next door is doing. Or what someone tells you to do. However, that’s not necessarily the best thing for your business! You want to be where your target audience is going to hear your message.

For example, if you are selling to consumers you probably want to have a Facebook business page. That’s a great place to connect with consumers who need your product or service. It isn’t necessarily so great if you sell business to business.

There are a lot of places online that you can post. Ask yourself where your target is. And how do they consume information?

Let’s explore some options that you might not be thinking about but have impact:

Video. Using video in your social media marketing can have an incredible impact. Video gives you the chance to demonstrate your product, or a how-to on the job site. It also gives your audience a chance to see you. Don’t underestimate how powerful this can be.

People buy from people they trust. One of the best ways to build trust is to talk to people directly. Video gives you this opportunity.

You can post your videos on YouTube and/or Vimeo. Then you can share them on other platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. You can also use video in blog posts and email marketing.

Guest Blogging. If there are blogs out there that you follow, start commenting on the posts. Once you’ve developed a relationship with the blog owner, ask if you can provide a guest article. That can get you in front of their audience, which can elevate your credibility and exposure.

Podcasts. There are a lot of podcasts that seek guests to share expertise. Do some research to find the ones that make sense for your business. Then reach out to the host. Remember that this is not a commercial for your business. You share your expertise around some aspect of your industry. You then have a link you can share through your social media platforms. Being a guest on a podcast can increase your credibility.

Email marketing. Often overlooked, email marketing is one of the most effective marketing methods available today. Not only does it allow you to stay connected to your audience, but you can now connect your marketing email to your social profiles. This expands the reach of the email.

If you are new to social media marketing pick ONE avenue and get used to it. Consistency is critical to social media marketing success, so don’t overdo it right out of the gate. Give yourself the chance to get used to the process and to build steam. You can always add to your strategy as you move forward.

Think about where your target audience is going to hear your message, determine what you want them to know and do, and then decide how you want to connect with them. Social media marketing is really about connecting and building trust. That’s why it’s social marketing. As you build awareness around your company you will find that your marketing momentum will build. Your company will become a household name and people will share your information with their networks. The spider web of the Internet will expand your efforts and you will realize a significant impact to your business growth.