Managing the Non-needy Rep
I am the youngest of three. My older brother, Andy, has 8 1/2 years on me and my sister, Nanci, two. Both of them gave my parents fits right through high school in ways that we laugh about now but weren’t all that funny back then.
And then along came Bill.
I was a good student. I had good friends. I played sports. I was self-motivated. My parents were relieved to find that I didn’t cause them to pull their hair out the way they did with my siblings. As such, I was largely left alone, not because they didn’t love me, but rather they were exhausted and happy that I was non-needy.
It was the perfect setting to quietly raise Cain, be rebellious and slightly criminal and have it all go undetected and unnoticed (um, Mom, you don’t read my blog, right?).
Think about this story in terms of being a sales manager in charge of salespeople. You’ve got multiple salespeople. The new ones and those who are struggling or have lost a big chunk of business require a lot of attention, often take away from the precious little time you have in your day, and drain you of your managerial patience and energies.
And then there is that other rep.
He/She is perfect, the model salesperson. Sales numbers are steady. Work ethic is admirable. Rarely takes up any of your time. You are relieved to have such a salesperson.
The tendency is to ignore a sales rep like this. But you are smart. You know you should be checking in; you acknowledge that everyone needs guidance and motivation; but with so many other tasks pulling you in so many other directions, somehow you never get to it, day after day, week after week.
Connecting the two situations, I am not suggesting that your reps are leading a secret life of crime or blowing up neighborhood mailboxes, but I am suggesting that they need more attention than they are letting on. Don’t be fooled by that smiling face. The non-needy rep, probably due to habit more than anything else, would love to have some ongoing and constant attention and encouragement.
Again, not only won’t they ask but they will deny having any needs at all. Ignore this Jedi tactic. Check in with your rep with a call, an e-mail, a handwritten note of encouragement, an occasional Starbucks gift card and the “Office Space” style cubicle swing by. Not only will they quietly and secretly appreciate the attention; not only might it save you from watching them leave one day for reasons you never fully understand; but you might one day hear from him or her that yes, there IS something you can do for them.
Huh. How about that?
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