one on one

Are One on Ones Necessary or Waste of Time?

By Chris Lott | Management | 5490 Views | Leave a Comment    

Every sales team I have ever managed has had scheduled weekly one on ones. Not without resistance mind you. They think it’s a waste of time initially. Another “meeting” and “change”. But after a month or so these same soothsayers are the very ones that get mad if you miss or delay “their time”.


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One on ones are a time for you to get to know your team and each individual personally. You should do more listening than talking. Go over their forecasts and metrics but also discuss any issues they are having with others and/or with you. It is important that the conversation be open and honest.

Keep the meetings short with an agenda. This is a great time to go over their Sales Success Plans. Discuss their activity and ask them if they’re happy with it. Question their networks and networking activity.

One of my sales people came to me so frustrated that she wanted to quit. Her activity was impressive. But her sales were dismal at best. She was working hard with no success. After a few weeks of analyzing her activity we decided that she needed to actually slow down the activity and focus on specific leads and opportunities. Within weeks she had turned her numbers around significantly. This success came from weekly one on ones.

What is the correct frequency of one on ones?
I have had the most effectiveness with weekly one on ones. With that said I try not to schedule one on ones on the last week of the month. Frustrations with having to reschedule due to end of the month closing activity just wasn’t worth the hassle.

Who should initiate the one-on-ones?
One on ones are often initiated by the leader, but it does not have to be this way. It is not unusual to have the salesperson and not the manager schedule in some environments.

Ask for self assessment.
Let them explain what they feel they need to do to improve. This is the time to listen and shut up.

Give your feedback.
Take notes and send a follow-up email to confirm what was agreed to.

Focus on action.
Ask your sales person to report and summarize what they felt they agreed to.

Accountability weekly can be difficult. But it’s crucial in managing a successful team. One on ones are definitely necessary.

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Chris Lott has this crazy creative side that motivates him to design websites and write articles. He's a disruptive technologist and is passionate about sales, family, and anything related to technology. See what others are saying about his work!.


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