I grew up as the only girl with three brothers in the house—and a lot of laundry! That machine ran non-stop and I was always enlisted to help.
It was simple enough: Load the clothes, add some soap, turn and pull the big knob, and presto!—the clothes are getting washed. Sure, once in a while I put something red in with the whites and had a problem, but, for the most part, is was simple enough.
Well, I recently bought a new washer and dryer… and oh, how times have changed! That big knob you turn and pull? Gone. These new appliances look like space machines loaded with the latest technology. Aquajet! Sensors! Steam! A bedding setting! There’s even a function called “waterproof.” Whoa. It’s complicated.
So, I sat down with a cup of coffee and the owner’s manual. It was time to take my laundry to the next level, and I knew I didn’t have all the answers.
The Washing Machine isn't the Only Thing that Needs an Owner's Manual
This experience got me thinking about the ways sales managers coach and manage people. Even if you have been doing this for a long time—or maybe, especially if you’ve been coaching and managing for a long time—you know that people are complicated, too. We are all filled with unique likes, dislikes, motivators, work styles, and more. What if each person came with an owner’s manual?
Wouldn’t that be awesome if you were managing Kevin, and you were seeing that he wasn’t especially motivated to prospect, you could just get out the Kevin owner’s manual and find answers? You could look up “not motivated to prospect,” turn to that page in the manual, and bam!—there you would find insights and advice specific to Kevin.
Page 16 of Kevin's Owner's Manual might say something like:
- If you ever find him hesitating or holding back, he is probably lacking some information. He needs to feel informed and to know exactly what he's talking about.
- He likes to be recognized for his successes, so find ways to notice what Kevin is doing right, and tell him so. That recognition will fuel his tank and drive his performance.
- Help him understand how what he is selling is really helping the businesses he's calling on. Make sure he really sees all the connections between your solutions and customer benefits.
We use owner’s manuals for so many things. How many times have you learned a new shortcut for something, a new trick for maximizing your productivity when using a gadget or appliance? How exciting does that feel?
The Talent Dashboard is the Closest Thing to a "Kevin Owner's Manual"
Well, if you are managing a sales team, we have an owner’s manual for you. It is called the Talent Dashboard, and it actually includes an owner’s manual for each person on your staff who has been assessed with the Sales Talent Interview. All the information and advice you need to maximize their productivity: likes, dislikes, talents, behaviors, everything that makes each person unique is right there in your Talent Dashboard. Most importantly, it has strategies, workarounds, leverage opportunities, action steps, and management plans to help you individualize your approach. All in one place, you’ll find the how-to for each of the talented-but-complicated people you have.
Don’t be the manager that still grabs the big knob, pulls it and turns it. The world has moved on. Laundry has gone to the next level, and it’s time to take your sales coaching to the next level, too.
I am now washing waterproof shower curtains separate from towels (turns out that’s important), and the steam function and Aquajet sensor are saving me money by cutting down my dry cleaning bill and water usage. Productivity! Profit! Performance! I love it! I didn’t do it on my own. I consulted the owner’s manual. And I’m so excited about the owner’s manuals built into our new Talent Dashboard.