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GOT A HANDLING PROBLEM?
From time to time, certain team members can become difficult - even hostile - and resistant to your best efforts to get through to them.
If reasoning and counseling fails to break the ice or douse the fire, it's often effective to ask for their advice with one of your problems (that is not related to them, of course).
Even if you don't really need their input and/or don't want and/or don't intend to implement it, they are likely to respond favorably to your request for assistance.
Anyway, like chicken soup, it's worth a try and "it wouldn't hurt!"
GUIDELINES FOR E-MAIL SUPREMACY
REPLYING? Always include (copy or cut and paste) enough of the incoming message so the recipient can identify it. Replies like "Yep," "Nope," "I agree" and "Please explain" will do little more than puzzle the recipient...and may sometimes cost you in money and/or goodwill.
SENDING? Be sure to fill in the "Subject" line. Many computers these days dump incoming messages wherein the subject line is left blank. Try to be descriptive of the contents, rather than using "Hi!" or other generalities, which may be red flags to anti-spam systems.
FORWARDING? Don't include extraneous material, such as a roster of all previous recipients of the message. Make it easy for your recipient to get to the meat of the matter.
ALWAYS sign with your real name as well as your e-mail moniker. Recipients may not recognize your alias, especially if they correspond with a lot of people in addition to you.
WHO'S JUDGING WHOM?
When interviewing potential new associates, don't focus entirely on what you want to learn about them.
Be equally aware that there are things they want to know about you and your organization.
Chances are, they'll be looking for most, if not all, of the following attributes in the person(s) to whom they'll be reporting:
- LEADERSHIP SKILLS
- A GOOD TRACK RECORD
- WILLINGNESS TO HELP
Reassuring them in these areas will enhance their eagerness to join you and reduce their nervousness about doing so.
A NOTABLE QUOTABLE
"I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: try to please everybody." (Herbert Bayard Swope, editor, journalist.)
HIRE EXPERIENCED SALESPEOPLE?
- May be more immediately productive.
- May add prestige to your operation.
- May energize existing staff.
- May bring aboard fresh ideas.
- May require less supervision.
Some possible negatives:
- May cost more to acquire.
- May be more difficult to retain.
- May be harder to handle.
- May resist retraining.
- May come with bad selling habits.
TRAINING TIP: FEED 'EM NO MORE THAN THEY CAN DIGEST!
Intensive sales training programs (learning everything before doing anything) are labor-efficient from the standpoint of trainers, but counterproductive in terms of results...which is, after all, what training is all about!
An ideal program might consist of three morning sessions per week - Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
This would ensure a running start each week for the trainees, as well as an opportunity to debrief their weekend activities. It would also send them into the following weekend with a fresh burst of enthusiasm and confidence.
Morning instructions should include role-playing and be followed immediately by opportunities to apply new learning outside the training room on the firing line, with opportunities for feedback and remedial help at the next ensuing training session.
Too much learning with too little practical application may produce little more than "stunned acquiescence."
The training cycle is incomplete until each needed technique has been taught, demonstrated, practiced, critiqued AND field-tested - preferably one skill at a time and with spaced repetition.
It's a bit like the difference between force-feeding and intravenous nourishment.
IS MANAGEMENT AN ART OR A SCIENCE?
The answer: Management is a science when you do it reasonably well, but it becomes an art when you don't get caught doing it.
According to the classic Latin phrase "ars est celare artem," true art is the concealment of art, such as when you fail to notice the actual brush strokes in a painting, or the contrived technique of an accomplished actor.
Similarly, good management (i.e., leadership) is best displayed when it isn't observable. That is to say, when you can establish your status without flashing those star, bars and epaulets (as often occurs when one is practicing the science of management).
Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu put it this way in the sixth century B.C.:"To lead people, walk beside them. As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate. When the best leader's work is done the people say, 'We did it ourselves!'"
Paste the slogan "Ars est celare artem" in a place where you (and noone else) will see it several times a day, so you'll never confuse position with stature or power with leadership!
This bit of advice from subscriber and pal Bob Baker, Coldwell Banker South Florida (firstname.lastname@example.org):
When you make a mistake, make amends immediately. It's much easier to eat crow while it's still warm.