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On Sales Strategies: Right Person, Right Seat




On Sales Strategies: Right Person, Right Seat

Get your staff on board with your vision through planning


Published in the October 2013 issue.

Remember the last time you got on an airplane? Before they push back from the gate, a flight attendant gets on the PA system and reminds you where the plane is going and if your travel plans didn’t include that destination then you better get off the plane.

In today’s economy of peaks and valleys where the only certainty is uncertainty, we as business owners better make sure the right people are in the right seat and everyone is going to the same destination.

In 2007 I looked at my business and began to analyze every position and then every person on my team. I made an organizational chart, then job descriptions, and then expectations for every person and position on my staff.


Once that detail was done, it was on to rolling it out to the team. I can’t stress enough about communication: keeping the vision and mission in front of them, showing them the expectations of the position even if they have been there 30 years.

Once the team knows the new expectations, it is time to inspect on a weekly or monthly basis how they are measuring up To do that, we use a Management By Objective (MBO) plan individualized for every position on the team. An MBO plan uses a point system attached to each expectation. Each team member first grades himself, then the manager grades him, and they both sit down to compare notes in order to help that teammate grow in his place on the team. He should be meeting your expectations and helping you achieve your vision. If he’s not, then perhaps it’s time to move the employee to another “seat.”

An MBO plan makes it easy to see after a period of time when you have a team member in the wrong seat in your organization. You may have known it all along but never knew how to remove a family member or a person your father hired 30 years ago. I know: I have been there with family and employees who were hired before me. Since 2007 I have turned over my entire team, and we have 14 new employees, all sitting in the right seat, all moving in the same direction.

Dealing with your team should be like dealing with aged inventory. You have a choice: Do nothing and hope an item sells, or be proactive in moving it out the door because you have an aged inventory plan. Your team is no different: You can do nothing and hope they change their ways, or you can be proactive in getting everyone on the same vehicle, in the right seat and heading the same direction because you have a plan.

You may have known it all along but never knew how to remove a family member or a person your father hired.

On the facing page is an example of a section in the sales manager’s MBO plan dealing with leadership meetings. Each section of an MBO plan should hold the employee accountable to a specific task, and a plan is tailored to every position in the organization. After a period of time, if the employee continues to fail, move them out of the position. If the employee exceeds your expectations, you can tie bonus dollars to this plan, which we do.


SECTION 4: Conduct Weekly Leadership/Touch Base Meetings with each member of the Sales Team

SECTION 4 OBJECTIVE: Develop the Sales Staff & Support Them Communication with the sales team is perhaps one of the most important roles of the Sales Manager position. The expectation is that the manager will have a scheduled weekly meeting with each member of the Sales Team in which they discuss the key accountabilities and performance measurements including sales and selling opportunities in a manner that reinforces the high pay-off activities of the CRM Culture and eliminates low-pay-off activities. A record of each meeting is to be maintained with the date and time of the meeting along with the action items. Excused meetings are only when a Team Member is out an entire week on vacation or ill. Store Manager to keep a log of meetings held in addition to formal notes from each session that are copied to ownership and turned over to Tom the first Monday of the following month.

25 Points Awarded if 100% of Meetings Held (less excused meetings)
15 Points Awarded if 90-99% of Meetings Held
10 Points Awarded if 80-89% of Meetings Held
5 Points Awarded if 70-79% of Meetings Held

Sherry 13          
Diana 13          
Linda 13          
Brenda 13          
Total Mtgs. 13          

Tom Duma is the president of Thom Duma Fine Jewelry in Warren, OH, and a retail consultant in the areas of management, inventory and marketing. Contact him at (330) 393-4696, ext. 107.



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