An Olympic athlete knows precisely what needs to be done to win and has total clarity on how success is defined: the gold medal. This world-class competitor has repeatedly visualized success, and has trained to respond with on-the-spot decisions which will produce the best chance of achieving the clear cut goal.
To “lead your team to victory”, we need to first define what “Victory” means to you, your team, and your company. If you think that everyone on your team is clear as to what constitutes victory, please keep reading. As part of our Opt4Performance Training program, we send out a pre-training questionnaire to all the design consultants, sales consultants, administrative support, and anyone else who will take part in the training program. We analyze these prior to finalizing the training curriculum. There are many interesting things we’ve learned after reading over a thousand of these questionnaires.
But one of the questions we ask is quite simply “State the goals of your job, and prioritize them”.
The answer to this simple question should be obvious. However, here is a sampling of word-for-word, actual Design Consultant responses .
- “To help customers and guide them with their home interior selections.” Well, that seems pretty logical, right?
- “To produce complete error free selections in 45-60 days.” OK, that’s true too, although the time frame varies between builders.
- “Make the customer happy”. Yes, of course, that is also important, but it’s pretty vague. I’m sure the customer would be happy if we gave them $50,000 in free options but that might not be consistent with the builders’ other goals.
- “$.” Well, this wasn’t the most comprehensive answer, but yes, to make money, although does that mean options revenue? options profitability? or the design consultant’s commission?
- “Get buyers signed off in a timely manner with correct information. Represent the company in a professional manner.” Sure, those are two more good goals, although we use the term “authorize selections” not “sign off.”
- “Sell as many options as possible. Get good surveys back. Get things/houses done quickly.” Ok, that seems to cover all bases.
- “To up-sell. Customer Satisfaction. Follow up until settlement. Complete and process homes for settlement.” Sure, follow up is critical also.
- “Selling options. Paperwork to construction clear and complete. Be team member for builder. Give the buyer a wonderful experience. Finalize buyer in a timely manner. Customer service. Be available to close a sale.” These are a few more good ones.
- It is starting to get confusing… It’s no wonder another response started off with “I’m not sure. I would assume to sell lots of upgrades and increase the margins. Package some upgrades that are not as likely to sell. Add options to our lists.”
- Here’s yet another: “In order of priority: Make sure your buyers are satisfied. Communicate customer requested changes to builders in an effective manner. Sell options at a price that increases the GPC for the company.” It’s nice that someone acknowledged that the design studio is a profit center and that it is important to contribute to the company’s financial health. And certainly dealing with changes is important as well.
- “To be professional, provide customer service, educate the buyers so their home’s appearance and value meet their expectations. To be knowledgeable in products performance of products, design trends, company policies and procedures and the variance of personality of our customers. #1 to sell and make money for builder.” This design consultant was one of few who ever mention product performance and design trends. Providing trend and product education so that buyers can make informed decisions should be a goal for anyone who guides buyers through the selections experience.
And the list goes on and on and on and on and on….
By now it should seem clear that if we don’t communicate to our team what we expect of them, they will not know how to prioritize their actions nor how to make decisions consistent with the goals we expect them to achieve. Therefore, if you haven’t already done this, you need to create a job description for your team members. Here are a few guidelines for both new hires and existing team members.
- The basics: title, department, direct supervisor, hours/days, basic educational/technical/certification requirements, years experience, etc.
- Clarify and prioritize job goals and performance expectations.
- Specificity reigns (as usual). For example: “great sales skills” isn’t really helpful. Instead identify specific skills ie “Ability to suggestive sell products to meet buyers needs; ability to powerfully and accurately convey product knowledge in a value-building way, on a wide variety of products; ability to overcome objectives in an empathetic yet firm and knowledgeable manner”
- Provide actual on-the-job examples to enhance clarity.
- Make sure you set SMART objectives. That means that goals are stated in a format which is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-stamped, another word for clear deadlines.
- Meet with each member of your team and communicate this information, verbally and also in writing.
- Finally, review the relationship between these goals and compensation, if applicable. Explain how the goals will be measured, and how the team member will be given performance feedback.
In summary, you can’t “go for the gold” if you’re not clear what the gold is! So get out there on the field, visualize that finish line, and lead your team to victory!
My friend Patrick Sweeney is the President of Caliper, the world leader in workplace performance, and a best-selling author. His company has helped more than 28,000 companies in 13 countries select and develop top performers. Click here to read his recent article called: “Check the Temperature, Your Pulse, and Your Team” from Training & Development Magazine. You’ll think he wrote this specifically about the housing industry, although these are global lessons.
Want to watch a few excerpts from our Success By Design video entitled “Lead Your Team to Victory”? …
Click here for more information, and then scroll to click on “Preview” on the video entitled “Lead Your Team To Victory!
I always get so much out of your newsletter and articles. It’s the simple things like thinking everyone is on the same page – when they’re NOT – that can really undermine sales.
I like to brainstorm with a team to identify all the ways they can honor the values of the company. How will they demonstrate “excellence” with consumers, vendors, investors, etc. It really helps to have a list that shows the many ways to “win.” In fact, the more ways you allow your team to “win,” the more often YOU win!