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"Using Sandler Rules to Lead Your Team to Sustained Success "

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A few weeks ago, I talked about using Sandler rules to sell more. Now I’d like to use them to help lead your teams. There are hundreds of Sandler Rules—not just the ones you see in the books. These are my two favorites from a leadership perspective. As I’ve stated before--these can be used not only in the professional environment, but in your every day life, outside of the workplace.

Sandler Rule: “Use a Common Process”

When I’m hired to look at a company and help them grow, I find a common process and language in a lot of places in the company: Accounting has the same language; Marketing tracks their analytics and data and pretty much any other department within an organization has a process to get work done. Sales…crickets. For whatever reason, it’s been my experience, that Business Owners, Sales People and Sales Managers do not have a consistent sales process or language to communicate. Why?

If the sales team doesn’t have a process, leaders can rationalize that it’s not an issue. They can bring in outsiders for sales who have their own set of skills and processes. Unfortunately, it only makes the issue worse, as everyone on the team begins to use their own best practices. Pretty soon leaders are leading teams that have nothing in common.

Not having a sales process also is a contributing factor to a sales team resisting a company’s implementation of a client relationship management (CRM) system. This by default becomes the “process”; however not all the salespeople are bought into using it, it doesn’t mirror currently what they do, it doesn’t add value, it lacks in accountability (more on this later) and it looks nothing like what the team is currently doing—No process, no progress.

With Sandler, we bring about coaching, debriefing, pre-call planning, Up-Front Contracts, and sales funnel management. These are all common to us and our clients. We know what these terms mean. If you have a salesperson come back and say that a call “went well”, what does that mean? Do they know what the next step in the process is, if they get the order? Do you both have the same idea of what a “clear future” means for a meeting or an opportunity?

For the change to occur, you as a leader need to take control and make it a project of the team. Sit the team down and decide on the “Big Picture” steps: prospecting, qualifying opportunities, etc. There should be 2-4 things that need to be accomplished within each of those steps before moving to the next one. Synchronize these steps with the “Sandler Submarine.” Once you’ve captured that, print out the process, making sure each member of your team (including you) has a copy. As a leader, you need to coach and train to that process.

Having a clear process and language allows for clear communication with your team. It also allows for a clear understanding of what happens next. This starts with buy-in from leadership and moves to the rest of the team. New members of the team will be on-boarded with the processes and language, with clear-cut expectations. This is how clarity becomes the norm in sales.

Sandler Rule: “Create a Culture of Accountability”

Accountability is the key to a successful team. Accountability isn’t about consequences and responsibility, though ultimately it is. It’s all about ownership. Accountability is all about YOU! Taking ownership of your business, your life, that is the ultimate in growth.

When you have a culture of accountability, it’s not just you taking ownership, it’s all of your people. For a culture of accountability to take place, leaders have to buy in and follow through, as well as employees-to their clients, prospects, and each other.

Often what occurs in an organization is managers and owners set agreements and make commitments. They set deadlines and benchmarks with their teams. They make the commitments themselves, then ask others to make commitments too. It’s all with good intentions, but something happens, and the commitments fall apart.

This can lead to problems. One thing is that leaders can minimize or not be aware when they have failed to live up to their commitments. Second, victories don’t get celebrated. A team member can hit a goal or accomplish something, and the manager or owner doesn’t even notice.

This can teach sales people that benchmarks aren’t being tracked. They can keep their head low until management comes around with new benchmarks—they know their manager or leader won’t be following up. These mistakes in leadership can breed a troubling culture; one in which people are kept to their commitments and aren’t acknowledged when those commitments are achieved. If you want your culture to be one of accountability, a couple of important things need to occur.

First, it starts at the top. If leadership wishes to have their team make commitments, so does leadership. These commitments should be made public and followed through on—publicly. You need to be on point with your team and make sure the team understands the expectations—what is expected of them, when it is expected to be completed and who is doing what.

Once you have your and your team’s commitments, now you must track them. This is referred to as modeling. You are demonstrating by personal example what is to be expected of them, through your actions.

You must keep your word as a leader. It is the basis for your success. It’s committing to yourself and your team that you will follow through, no matter how big or small a task is. This is how you can model for your employees and help them understand what accountability is all about.

You can also support a culture of accountability by interacting positively with projects and commitments that aren’t yet due. This forces you to track their progress and tells the person you are not only monitoring them, expecting completion, and care about their results and success.

There is a Peter Drucker saying that says, “Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast.” You must know your people and structure your environment with an opportunity for them to be successful. It doesn’t happen without giving them a common process or holding them accountable. Your people must learn to take ownership of their success and have a “No Excuses” mentality. It’s up to us, as leaders to help them make that happen.

If you need more help leading your team and creating a culture of accountability join us for our Sandler Management Session on Tuesday, September 25th at 8:30 AM. Click here to fill out a guest pass.

Greg Coyne

Greg Coyne

Principal at Gerry Weinberg & Associates, Inc.