With a long weekend to finally get stuck into my somewhat neglected yard, I was amazed by how quickly the weeds had sprouted. Just the sheer speed at which things can take root when we’re busy and have our attention on other areas is amazing. As I completed my overdue chores, my thoughts turned to how quickly the ‘weeds’ in a business can sprout when those in charge get busy and don’t make time to tend to their business ‘garden’.
This picture is meant to be of the paving in our front driveway but as you can see, I took a ‘before photo’ that shows it doesn’t always get the attention that it should. When it comes to maintaining my garden beds, that is a different story. I am eternally grateful that I listened to my wife’s advice (please don’t tell her I admitted to that). She convinced me to go the local garden centre and get professional advise upfront so that we only planted the right type of plants in the first place. I am a firm believer that as long as I have provided the right environment, the plant must have the inbuilt capacity and will to thrive through it’s own efforts (by the way – I feel exactly the same about sales teams too but more about that another time).
It occurred to me as I prepared to get my driveway back into a presentable condition, that I was lucky that all I had to do was spray weed killer without too much attention to detail. I could afford to just kill off anything that was remotely green and then brush away the withered remains in a few days. I’ve seen businesses that use this approach with their sales teams, which is never a pretty sight as the poor withered beings are swept out the door, worse for the experience of working there. This is hardly a long term strategy for success!
Weeding Sales Teams, Clients & Prospect Lists
If your brain works like mine (scary thought some might say), it is easy to draw the comparison between the challenges that I faced and those faced by anyone in sales.
Salespeople - you need to regularly ‘weed the garden beds’ of your prospect lists and existing clients. Are the desired prospects being cultivated or is your time being invested in a way that will never produce ripe fruit?
Sales Managers - I wonder if it is time to ‘weed’ your sales team? Did you make sure you ‘planted’ (recruited) the right type of salespeople in the first place and since then, have you allowed them to just grow which ever way they want to? Pruning is one thing but if you stood back from your team for a moment, is there anyone there that you need to pull out at the roots?
Owners / Executive Level Management - are your valuable resources being wasted on ‘plants’ (sales team members) that wont flower consistently and the fruit they bring forth simply doesn’t justify the efforts? If your Gardener (Sales Manager) is not producing the results required…. why not?
Maybe it’s only a quick pruning required, maybe repositioning a plant to a different location or sometimes providing the right kind of fertiliser? Sometimes it can be hard to see the forest for the trees (pardon the pun). If you’re wondering why your plants won’t grow and the weeds keep appearing, then it’s great to call in an expert to make the job easier. Their well-practiced eye can often shed light on the reasons why the garden is looking the way it is and how best to get it growing in the direction that gives you the greatest reward.
Remember, our businesses and ourselves are living organisms and we are either ‘green and growing’ or ‘ripe and rotting’ and there is nothing in between! Very few businesses (and salespeople for that matter) have the luxury of bulldozing their entire garden-bed and starting from scratch. Having said that, I have experienced situations where that would have been a much less painful and significantly less expensive option. How’s your garden going?
As always, your thought and feedback are valued.