Retention strategies Part 2: Connecting effectively with sales staff requires transparency


As an owner of Mountain View Building Materials, Joel Seibert shares many challenges facing business owners today, including the need to find and keep good people. Mountain View has two locations, one in the Calgary market and the other in Kelowna, B.C.

Working with Pete Baran, CEO of Blueneck Consulting, who has acted as a mentor and business coach to Seibert over the past four years, Seibert developed an employee retention and motivation strategy, which he presented in a seminar called “It’s Time to Get Your Sales Team Excited to Sell” at the Western Retail Lumber Association’s Building and Hardware Showcase, held in Winnipeg earlier this year. (Part One ran in our February edition of HR Advisor).

Using the personality profile of each salesperson (based on a breakdown developed by the McKinsey Institute), Seibert laid out three steps to connect with those employees: understanding and identifying, providing transparency and clarity in your communications, and developing a system of rewards including salary to incentivize and compensate those workers. In this issue, we look closer at how Seibert provides that transparency in his workplace.

Start with well-defined job descriptions, he says. Letting staff understand clearly what they can—and cannot—do provides strong guidelines for managers and staff alike. It can also enable workers to feel more assured and confident in their roles, knowing what they can say “yes” to when dealing with a customer.

Seibert lays out some clear ways to provide clarity and transparency. These include setting challenging yet attainable targets, not just annually but on a more immediate and attainable basis each month. And each week, he uses one-on-one meetings to get supporting information from each salesperson that can help them achieve their sales goals.

“Together, we review where they are in relation to their targets and expectations,” he says. From there, both sides can discuss upcoming opportunities and identify key customers that could help drive sales, and then set priorities for the week.

Above all, he stresses that the company strategy must be openly discussed with the team. Don’t shy away from tough questions either, such as collectibles, which can plague any dealer. And be sure and ask what your salespeople need from you to succeed. A great company is built, he says, when both the employees and the employer are working in unison toward each other’s goals and vision.

“Getting your new team members excited about selling begins with us!”