What's the best way for reps to improve their work in the field?
The first thing about setting some kind of a goal is that ultimately we set goals to change, and something may have happened. You’re not making your quota, your dealer network is shrinking, your calls are going unanswered, you name it, there’s a million reasons why.
Now you need to take that next step and say “Well aspirationally, what do I hope to get out of that change?”. When you equate enough pain to make you change and you see a better aspiration, you know you see a better goal. But if you don’t get those two right, you’re going to be like a lot of those people who make a New Year’s resolution (“Yeah, I’m going to try better” and then a week later they’re having a bagel and a frappuccino and saying “to hell with the diet’). And I don’t want that for you. So, when you make that association of “what am I going to get out of it?”, and you see that well enough, then it changes. Your goal has to be clear.
Why do goals have to be specific?
An example I always heard when I was going through Zig Ziglar and Tom Hopkins and a lot of those guys in the ‘80s that is think of it as two ways: your buddy says “Let’s go on a cruise” and you’re like “Ok, great. Where are we going to go?” “Well, we’re going to have fun and it’ll be nice and it will be great. We’ll be gone for two weeks, it’s all-included.” And you’re like, “Maybe.”
What if that same guy said, “We’re going to fly from New York. We’re going to land in Greece. We’re going to spend a week on a private yacht searching the blue seas. We’ll fish and eat what we catch. We also have a five-star chef who will be on board. And every night there’s going to be drinks and dancing, and all kinds of other things. And then we’re going to board the QE 2 and we’re going to take that up to London and every stop along the way is going to be one of the great cities of Europe and then we’ll be back in two weeks.” I don’t need to go into anymore details, but do you get the idea? That when the goal is broken down and you can see it, then you’re more inclined to want to follow it. So that’s my tips on setting goals.
How should reps balance their success with that of the team?
I always think you have to give back. I teach a lot about personality styles, and I don’t spend a lot of time on it, but just to understand that there are different personalities across the board and along the way you’ve got to be able to give them some love or they’re not going to help you as much. If you understand your personality type, then you understand how that plays into the people you have to talk to throughout the day.
What are the hard questions reps should ask themselves if they fall short of their goals?
The number one place I always start is “What could I have done better?” So, “What did I bring to the table that was wrong?” “What could I have said differently?”
And then also acknowledge that “Maybe I was here at the wrong time for them. Maybe they had too many people that were asking the same thing. Maybe they were having a bad day. Maybe they didn’t prep the call well enough.”
And then I always go with, “What information do I wish I had now that I should have gotten before the call?”
How can reps get more information before store visits?
So one of the big things I like to do is check everybody out on LinkedIn and Facebook; that’s pretty easy to do. You should at least have a basic understanding of how that works so that you can go through and understand what they’ve been up to. Maybe half of your clients aren’t on it, but if they are on it you can get an awful lot of information about them pretty easily.
In the old days we’d say, “Just try to get in the door and look around and see if there’s anything you have in common.” And that still can work. But the days of you walking in as an outside field rep saying, “Hey, how’s it going? Here’s a dozen donuts. Can you give me a return authorization for this product?” Your business would be gone if that’s all you’re doing. At the end of the day, you’ve got to make some kind of a contact with these people. So the more information you have, the better.
Instead of asking how business is, you want to share positive stories. If they associate positive stories with you, you can change the dynamic and show them how to sell your product a little better, how to use it a little better.