I See You

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In a part of the central highlands of Africa when someone asks, “How are you,” a customary response is to say, “I see you.” Think about that for a moment. How would your mindset change, when the next time one of your salespeople says some sort of variation of how are you, that you would respond (whether verbally or mentally) with “I..see..you.”

As managers our plates are full – overflowing actually. In our rush to try to save the Up that just jumped up to logging onto a mandatory webinar; from returning phone calls to customers who are furious that their $2500 extended warranty won’t cover a repair to preventing last night’s late night deal in becoming a rollback today, our day never slows down. We salvage a day, string together a week, recover a month, eek out a quarter and before you know it, the year has ended and we’re off to do it all over again. It seems we have little time for anything else and while we’re in a mad rush to save our world we lose sight of our most valuable assets, our salespeople-we glance at them, but take little time to see them.

We glance long enough to notice when they show up late for the meeting or when they walk a customer; we snap when their folder is in disarray or stop just long enough to tell them that there’s no way the customer that they just worked with for an hour in 100 degree heat will never get bought. Occasionally on the way to grab a soda we’ll take 3 seconds and offer our condolences on their last Up by slapping them on the back and telling them to “go grab another one.” As managers we’ll glance just long enough to find and point out our salespeople’s scars, but not long enough to see them into becoming stars. We’re just too busy…

When you see someone you perceive that something’s not quite right; you discern that they their personal lives are troubled; you understand that they are fearful of not being able to pay their mortgage this month; you visualize that they’re heading in the wrong direction; and forsee that they are losing ground.

Managers glance, leaders see, which are you?

As a leader:

You see when they’ve lost their fight…

You see when they’re unorganized…

You see when they’re scared and frustrated …

You see when they’re weary…

You see when they’re out on the lot, but not in the fight…

You see when their body language screams that they’ve lost their confidence …

You see when they’re skipping steps in their process…

You see when their Ups, demos, write-ups, sold, and delivery percentages are trending downward…

You see…and because you perceive, discern, understand, visualize, and foresee, you immediately take action by helping them regain their footing-showing them that you believe in them; reexplaining why following the processes gives them the best possible leverage in making a sale; coach them on how they should’ve handled the last customer, what they should do to end and begin each day, who they should emulate, and what they should be doing to improve their craft. Seeing manifests itself into action.

High, low, or no expectations, your people will aspire to become what you expect of them.

But keep in mind, leadership is a two-way glass. You may notice them, but they see you.

Your salespeople see when you are shopping online instead of keeping an eye on their deals…

Your salespeople see your 2 hour lunches…

Your salespeople see how you talk about others when they’re not in the room…

Your salespeople see how you hang up the phone and call customers idiots…

Your salespeople see when you shred their deals the instant they come to the desk-asking the very things that you preach to them that they should not be asking such as, “How much money down?!” “What’s their credit score?!” “How much do they owe on their trade?!” and “Where do they want their payments?!”

Your salespeople see when you preach the “do what you’ve got to do-stay late and grab Ups if you have to,” mantra, yet you’re the one turning out half of the lights-rushing them through their process, and parking your demo closest to the building with the engine running because you’re ready to go.

Your salespeople see when you’ve given up on them- it’s ok though, they gave up on themselves months ago.

Seeing literally is believing because those who see do while others say and sit.

Don’t ever glance at the very people who have put you where you are today. They got you there, now help them get to where they want to be.

They see you, now go see them.

I’ll see you on the Blacktop.