Guest Column | March 5, 2013

Business Strategy: Look. Don't Listen.

Jim Kahrs, President/Founder, Prosperity Plus,

So here’s the situation. One of your top sales reps has just returned to the office from a huge sales call. He had presented a proposal to a customer for a multi-station POS system with a handsome service contract. As he walks into the office he says, “I nailed it! We got the deal.” However, the paperwork isn’t signed because the owner at the customer site has to “rubber stamp” the deal. Of course, you’re told there’s no way he’ll say “no.” The rep goes back in next week to get the paperwork only to find out that they decided to go a different direction. You find out that they purchased the equipment from another reseller, and not just any other reseller, your biggest competitor.

There could be hundreds of reasons why this went down the way it did. You should be more interested in working out a way to prevent it from happening again. And for that we can turn to a precept that sums it all up very well. It’s called “Look. Don’t Listen.”

This precept is one of the best pieces of advice anyone could give to a business owner or manager. It basically tells you to refrain from any temptation to let your staff go about their jobs and tell you what they are doing or have done. You need to actually look at what is being done. Seriously. Take the time and effort to observe a staff member as he or she runs through the functions of their post. By doing this, you will pick up on actions or steps they miss, omit or simply get wrong. This allows for immediate, on-the-spot coaching and improvement.

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