When it comes to hiring staff it is important to remember that the people that you surround yourself with have the ability to bring you up or break you down.  What you should be looking for in a teammate is somebody that will support you and hold you to high standards. 

The ability to question your decisions objectively is a great quality in a staff member, but too much negativity or resistance to conform to your organization's processes is a detriment to your business.

Here are six qualities to look for in current or prospective employees that will indicate whether or not your employee is, or will be, a valuable part of your team.

1.  Energy.  Our motto at SalesPartners is, "Highest energy wins."  Energy is contagious, it makes people gravitate to you.  Are your staff members inquisitive, engaging, positive, always looking to help?

2.  Insatiable Desire to Win.  Are your staff always looking to be the best, or are they just waiting for the day's end to pick up their paycheck?

3.  Willingness to Let A Teammate Win.  Are your star players willing to sit the bench and cheer on another if it's best for the team?

4.  Personal Responsibility.  Are your staff members able to own up their mistakes without blaming others or justifying their actions.

5.  Submission to the Code.  Does your staff member follow, and agree with, the rules?

6.  Unique Talent or Ability.  When you assemble your team make sure that you put them in their proper role.  You want each staff member to be focused on what they do best.

If your team members, or perspective members, don't posses all of these qualities then maybe they are just not a good fit for your company.

If you are having problems with a team member you'd be well advised to meet with them and discuss their goals to assure that everybody is on the same page.

For more information on the six qualities of a great team player please refer to Blair Singer's book The ABC's of Building a Business Team That Wins.
 
The skill:  Objection handling.  The process:  Ask an open ended question.  That's it, it's just that simple.  If you use this method instead of walking away from the first "no" that you get you will vastly improve your sales numbers.  

When you approach your customer with a sales proposition the first response is rarely the full truth.  The skill is to be able to move the customer to another level where he or she will provide the real truth.  

Only then does your opportunity to close the sale become real.  Once you have mastered this skill, your results will skyrocket!  You will sell more than you ever have, faster and with much, much less work.  

So, how do you respond to a "no"?  Do you get frustrated and storm away or try to argue your case with the customer?  

Blair Singer says that, "when your emotions are high your intelligence is low."  

When a customer throws an objection your way just remember to stay calm.  Then start by acknowledging the objection and be sympathetic to their problems.  Say something like, "I understand," or "I'm sorry to hear that."  

Then follow the acknowledgement with an open ended question designed to get them to the real reason they said no.  

The following is an example of how to handle a common objection using this method:  

Objection:  

"We have already decided on another supplier."  

Responses:  

"Thank you for letting me know that.  What caused you to make that decision?"  

"I understand.  What was it about the competitor/other option that you liked?"  

"I'm sorry to hear that.  What was it about my product/service that you didn't like?"  

These questions will keep them talking to you.  Remember you want to gather as much information about them as you can.  Keep asking questions, the person asking questions is the one in control of the conversation.  

You want to try and help them solve their problems.  If you can solve their problems at a reasonable price you will make a sale.  

For more on this sales process please contact your local SalesPartner today, or refer to our SalesDogs Training School Kit (featuring flash cards containing preferred responses to the most common objections in sales.)
 
Code of Honor Training Kit  

Once a group decides that it wants to really operate as a tight high performance team, it must set the operating tolerances at varying degrees of tightness depending on how high performance they want to be.  Most organizations have operational standards for producing and delivering their goods or services, but have no behavioral standards that govern the conduct between team members or clients. 

Standards must be created by the team itself and should be created based upon the specific behavioral upsets and or problems that are unique to that team.  Standards must also be policed by the team itself.  In other words if a standard is breached any or all team members are obligated to "call it."    

There is an appropriate time, place and way to call it that does not humiliate the offending individual.  Remember that public criticism is very difficult for most people to take well. 
Here are some hints on "calling it":
 


1.      Use non-threatening language and tonality.  Cool off if necessary first.  

2.      Use the word "we" and appeal to the benefit of the team rather than making it a personal issue.

3.      Best to call another person on something in private, one-to-one.

4.      Qualify your concern about their reaction if necessary and your true intent in improving life for everyone concerned... not about 'blazing' anyone.  Lead with personal fears, emotions and considerations in the beginning of the conversation (i.e.  "I have been a bit afraid to communicate this to you for fear of...") 

For more on teamwork, employee conduct and the five remaining tips on "calling it" please refer to our Code of Honor Training Kit.
 
An excerpt from Blair Singer's book, "The ABC's of Building a Business Team That Wins."    

"I assert that everyone can lead and that everyone leads at some time or another in life.  Not everyone can lead a multinational corporation, and not everyone can lead a family of five.   

But in our respective worlds we all have the opportunity to lead.  There have been hundreds of books written on leadership.  

There are "level - 5 leaders," servant leaders, charismatic leaders and so forth.  Some push from behind, pull from the front, inspire from the middle...  I could go on.  

I subscribe to what I call 'the Roulette Wheel of Leadership.'   

Sooner or later the ball drops on your number and you have the chance to offer direction, inspiration, support, education or advice.  

One hopes that will happen more than once.  It's whether you have the courage in that moment to step up and lead that matters.  

You may not follow any 'popular' descriptions of what a leader is, but you lead nonetheless.  

We were all born with natural gifts.  And in this lifetime it is our job to discover and deliver them.   

When that happens, you will lead.  Not because you want to, but because it's natural for you to do what you are best at.   

When that happens, others will follow you to learn.  

In order to establish a great team, you have to lead.  You may not be the designated leader, or maybe you are.   

Either way, you have to sell your ideas, teach others how to improve and rally your team.   

You don't have to be superhuman to learn or use leadership skills.   

But every time you use them, you'll be leading."  

For more on leadership and establishing an invisible code of honor that will take ordinary people and turn them into a championship team, please refer to Blair Singer's book, "The ABC's of Building a Business Team That Wins."
 
10 Steps To Make Your Business Boom  
 
You may have heard the phrase "Teamwork makes the dream work" before.
 
This quote is absolutely true.  The best way to ensure the success of your business is to make sure that your team is functioning together efficiently.
 
The best way to do this is to create a Code of Honor.
 
A Code of Honor is a set of rules that everyone in your business has agreed upon in order to shape employee conduct in an organized fashion.
 
Some sample rules are as follows:
 
"Never abandon a teammate in need."
"Celebrate all wins."
"Be on time."
 
Note:  For many more sample rules please refer to Blair Singer's book The ABC's of Building a Business Team That Wins.
 
There are several steps in creating a Code of Honor:
 
1.  Find a sane moment in which to create the code.
 
2.  Find recurring issues that repeatedly interfere with the performance of the team.
 
3.  Everyone participates!
 
4.  Talk about various instances of behavior, and how everyone felt about them, both positively and negatively.
 
5.  As soon as you are able to decide on a rule, write it down!
 
6.  Be specific.
 
7.  Don't try to legislate moods.
 
8.  Make sure that the rules are somewhat of a "stretch."
 
For the remaining two steps as well as an in depth explanation of each step please refer to Singer's book The ABC's of Building a Team That Wins.
 
For help with drafting, establishing and implementing a Code of Honor please contact your local SalesPartner.
 
All SalesPartners are thoroughly trained in developing a Code of Honor custom fit for your company.
 
Or rather misbehavior.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen this:  a manager berating and or talking down to a young (probably new and improperly trained) employee over some trite mishap that most likely doesn't have anything to do with the success of the business.   This happens most often for one or more of the following reasons:  

1.  The manager is bored.

2.  The manager is on a power trip.

3.  The manager wants to "look good" in front of others.
 

Do you notice a trend here?  When an employee messes up who's fault is it?  Most often the blame rests on the shoulders of the person responsible for training them, i.e. the manager.  Just as the business owner is responsible for the manager's actions.
 

Don't ever reprimand an employee in front of customers and staff.  This will only make you look bad and lower employee morale thus resulting in a lack of energy and respectively a loss in customer loyalty.  

If a staff member doesn't do something correctly, wait until they aren't busy and ask them to join you in private.  

Once you are in a private setting simply ask them why they did what they did.  There are really only three legitimate responses:
 

1.  I didn't know - Great!  This one is easy.  Simply take the time to explain what they did wrong and retrain.  Then go promptly to the person responsible for training them, pull them into private and repeat this process.  
2.  I didn't understand - OK.  Misunderstandings happen all the time.  No problem, spend some time with them and clarify the procedures.  Now this problem should not happen again.  If it does then corrective measures are warranted.
   3.  I didn't want to - Now we have a problem.  If someone cannot perform the duties that they are hired to perform for any reason (no matter how noble their intentions may be) then their services are no longer needed.  You may consider a write-up as a warning or even termination.  

Remember to be honest with yourself.  If an employee doesn't want to do something because it seems extreme or slightly immoral then they are in the right.  Ask yourself, "Would I do this?" "Is this really necessary?"
 

The best way to get your staff to do what you want is to lead and inspire them.  Encourage them, reward them, step into the fire with them.  If you have your staff's respect you will rarely have problems.  The best way to get respect is to extend them the same courtesy.
  For more on this topic refer to our Lead, Teach & Inspire training kit.
 
What is a team?  Blair Singer defines it as a group of people with complementary skills who are committed to:

    •    A common purpose and vision
    •    A set of performance goals
    •    A set of personal performance standards
    •    An approach and strategy
    •    Demonstrating a commitment by all members
    •    Exhibiting trust and trustworthiness between the players
    •    Holding all mistakes as "learning experiences" and takes the time to "debrief" what was learned in all cases

Now is a good time to ask yourself, "do I have a staff, or a team?"  Chances are good that you only have a staff.  What's the difference?  A staff works independently and requires you to prod them individually.  A team holds each other accountable for their actions and challenges one another to take their performances to the next level.

A Code of Honor is what you need to turn your staff into a team.  Create a set of rules with your staff that they all feel invested in and responsible for.  Now your team will become more motivated to work together and achieve your goals.  For help with this refer to our Code of Honor Training Kit.
 
Once you have established a team the key to keeping it working is trust.  Here are some elements required to build, maintain and restore trust:
 
    1.    Create brightness of the future or clear and beneficial goals that have an ending in sight
    2.    Maintain frequency of interaction between the members
    3.    Purposely make and keep agreements to form a track record of trustworthiness
    4.    Build and maintain rapport based upon use of language, tonality, behaviors and understanding other's points of view

This topic and many more are more thoroughly explored in the training kit.
 
In business, you are going to make mistakes.  If you teach your team to expect them, and even how to laugh at them, you will be giving them a lifelong skill that will make them winners, no matter what.  Note:  If you can do this with your kids they will grow up to be strategic risk takers and great problem solvers.   The key to learning from mistakes is asking the right questions.  Debriefing a situation teaches someone how to look at any situation as a learning experience, not as a tragedy.  As a leader, it isn't about correcting, advising, lecturing or even consoling.   It's about asking good questions.  It's about getting people to understand what happened and to take responsibility for learning something as a result of the experience.    Here are five important questions that you should use in any debriefing situation:
  1. What happened?  We only want facts here, not opinions.
  2. What worked?  Keep this brief and opinion free, if possible.
  3. What didn't work?  Notice the language here.  It's neither right nor wrong.  It either works or it doesn't.  You have to answer both of these questions, because they always co-exist.
  4. What did you learn?  (This is the most important question.)  Look for patterns of behavior or results, not a single isolated incident.
  5. What can you do to correct (if it was a mistake) or leverage it (if it was a win) You have to answer this question last.  Otherwise you may put something into action that could create more problems than you had to begin with.
 To learn more about debriefing your team please refer to Blair Singer's book The ABC's of Building a Business Team That Wins.