Clearly I love alliteration….. ANYWAY.

People used to be shocked when they learned that the number one fear among people is public speaking. Please note: I don’t know if current research shows that this is still accurate.

When I taught public speaking at Eastern Illinois University (Charleston, IL) and Midstate College (Peoria, IL), I was always surprised when my students told me they felt more comfortable speaking in front of people they knew. I, on the other hand, felt (and still feel) the exact opposite. I experience a great deal of pressure and anxiety to perform at a higher level when people I know personally are watching as opposed to feeling very little nervousness in front of strangers. The same type of angst exists when I am in a position where I am selling.

Today, I would tell my younger self to be more mentally tough and to get over it, but on the same token, I am aware that some people just need their space to perform their best. Hovering over your sales reps on an exhibit hall floor has the potential to create an environment that throws even your most talented sales reps off their game, resulting in poor performance where ROI is critical.

This smothering environment can also be present in the office; sometimes unintentionally. For example, I used to work in an office that had an open layout; so I didn’t have my own office, nor did I even have the privacy of a cubicle).

First of all, I talk LOUDLY – especially when I’m on the phone. I also pace. When I am having a strong sales day, I probably get in three miles of steps by just circling my home office. I never feel like I can “do what I do” when there are other people present, especially if I am not the boss. There are constant mental distractions about judgment of my sales style or if I’m saying the right thing, according to whomever is listening.

It’s definitely necessary to ensure members of a sales team are generating an appropriate amount of revenue, however, I am a proponent of allowing individuals to accomplish their goals the best way they know how; in a way they are able to produce results. I have seen several sales team leaders try to force a process upon talented reps only to create a formula that does not lead to success.

Obviously if a member of the team is just not producing, then there is a strong reason for intervention or a performance audit; but if you want a members of your team to flourish, allow them to do what works best for them… and reap the rewards.
Thoughts? Questions? Email Me!
Sarah Breymeier:

-Sarah Breymeier