Celebration, Not Just Confrontation

If you tell yourself, “Accountability is really uncomfortable for me. I just don’t like doing it,” then you probably don’t understand what accountability is.

Many sales managers they think that accountability is synonymous with confrontation. They think that what it means to hold someone accountable is to get in that person’s grill, to call them out about something, or to apply consequences. Accountability simply means a willingness to accept responsibility. That means owning what they have done and owning what they haven’t. That means accepting responsibility for the good and the bad. Accountability is as much about celebrating with people what they have done well as it is about confronting them for what they haven’t.

The word accountability stems from the Latin word, accomptare, which means to account. Accountability cannot exist without proper accounting practices. In other words, an absence of accounting means an absence of accountability. Therefore, in order to hold a salesperson accountable, not only must they be tracking and reporting, you must get into the details to catch people when they do what they should be doing.

When someone commits to you that they will do something, you actually need to notice and then draw attention to the fact that they followed through, not just when they did not. That means that you need to praise them when they have that conversation they assured you they would have. Commend them when they follow through and stick to their phone time. Celebrate when they hit their referral goal. Appreciate them when they turn in a report to you by the deadline.

You must look at their activity numbers to find opportunities to praise your salespeople! Look for opportunities to be your salespeople’s biggest cheerleader and celebrate their wins and efforts. Here are some wins you can celebrate:

  • Where has this person put in effort? Even though they may not be seeing the results yet, perhaps they have just set a lot of new appointments. This is a great sign that good times are coming!
  • Has this salesperson had their personal best in a particular activity category? Maybe compared to the rest of the group, they are not making a lot of contacts. But, if the number of contacts they had this week is higher than they have ever had before, that is something to celebrate.
  • Is this person’s activity trending upward? If they have just started running more appointments than they have run in a long time, catch that!
  • Does this person have a strong ratio that I can point out? If they have a strong closing ratio, you can remind them of how much success they will have if they just see more people.

If your team members are used to you catching them doing something right, they will be more receptive when you do need to confront them.

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