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Tips on evaluating salespeople

June 28, 2004
Filed under Archives

Salespeople like to know where they stand and what they can do to improve their situation. Both of these goals can be accomplished by an effective two-way evaluation process.
You can prevent many potential problems from getting out of hand if you offer your salespeople a chance to express their frustrations and concerns. You can also gain valuable insight into those things they perceive as problems. Then, you can either correct the problems or go about changing those perceptions.

Monthly Evaluations
Formal evaluations can include regular monthly goal setting sessions. Monthly evaluations allow problems to be corrected early, while they are still manageable. This review gives your salespeople time to correct their shortcomings before their major semi-annual evaluation. A monthly goal setting and evaluation session should last at least 20 minutes.
Review the following at the end of each month:

  • Goals achieved and not achieved

  • The causes of each
  • Special training requirements
  • Poor performance caused by non-training
    reasons

  • Next month’s income goals<
  • 1. Goals achieved and not achieved.
    Review the difference between the monthly objective and the results that were actually accomplished.
    2. The causes of each.
    Seek to find the “why” behind a salesperson’s performance, particularly if they exceeded the monthly objective. This will help you identify reasons for the success that you want to see repeated in subsequent months.
    3. Special training requirements.
    All salespeople can benefit from additional training in product knowledge or selling skills. Analyze each salesperson’s selling technique. Find their weakest part and offer training in that area. Duplicate customer situations through role-playing exercises.
    4. Poor performance caused by non-training reasons.
    Sometimes a good salesperson will go sour on you. Training doesn’t help because this person already has the knowledge and skill to perform well. If you can rule out the usual causes such as health, marital, alcohol and drug problems, then this is a non-training performance problem. Often, the problem arises because good work was not being recognized or rewarded.
    If you don’t recognize and reward good work, it may soon stop all on its own. A good Sales Manager doesn’t take good performance for granted. Seek out good performance and emphasize it during evaluation sessions.
    5. Next month’s income goals.
    Some salespeople are only interested in how much money they can earn. When you evaluate, ask them how much money they want to earn next month. Then, based on their average commissions over three months, help them figure how many units they’ll need to sell to achieve their income goals.

    The Semi-Annual Evaluation
    You should prepare a written evaluation of each of your salespeople every six months.
    Distribute a copy of your Evaluation Worksheet to all salespeople and ask them to honestly evaluate their own performance. Be sure you fill one out, too. Select a quiet place for the evaluation meeting. Go over each point of the review sheet with the salesperson. Make sure you review the salesperson’s strengths, before dealing with their weaknesses to help prevent them from becoming defensive.
    When you do identify a shortcoming, work with them to develop a specific plan for improvement.

    How To Handle Resistance
    To An Evaluation
    It is common to encounter resistance to regular evaluation sessions until your salespeople begin to understand their value. When you hear comments, listen carefully. They may point up areas in your own management style that might stand improvement. However, if you have a positive attitude, are fair and consistently help your salespeople sell more, they will quickly come to understand the importance of the evaluation as a part of making them successful. psb

    Step Four of the Four Step Management Process continues with Discipline – Using the Counsel Warn & Act System.

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