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Boosting Your Sales by Boosting Morale: Employee Coaching

Apr 9, 2008
"Happy people sell more," is a cliche that every manager hears but doesn't really listen to. Good morale seems to have a trickle down effect and when a manager is happy, everyone is happy. But to boost sales, everybody has to be happy even when the manager is not. Morale building through employee coaching has to be a real commitment by managers and owners alike. When you see morale translated into sales it is easy to see why this is so vital. When you see dollars flooding into your business when morale is high and employees are happy and motivated you will see the wisdom in consciously stimulating morale.

Good morale is easy when everyone is doing the right things and all's well with the world. But people make mistakes, they miss opportunities, they loose motivation, and they get tired. Where does that leave the manager whose job depends on sales volume and adherence to procedure? Sometimes the first response is to yell and berate workers, slamming a fist on the desk and demanding better performance. While this is sometimes the first impulse it is always to worst impulse. Unless a worker has endangered their or someone else's physical life or well being, anger is always the wrong response.

Anger has a huge impact and words are said that have a life of their own. Its impact upon morale has a life as long as the memories of your employees. It doesn't just lower morale, it destroys it. You have taken a group of impressionable employees and put the words in their mind "I do not want to work for him/her anymore." Instead of striving to do better, correct mistakes, or seize opportunities they are now counting the hours until the end of their shift.

Good and effective managers inspire people to work for them. They don't threaten or intimidate people to work for them. We have seen historically that autocratic methods don't work. After a big blow up your workers may respond with fear and try extra hard to do well until the storm passes. But that effort cannot be sustained. As soon as the storm passes employees remember the harsh words and demands and experience residual resentment.

The best advice for a manager is to take a time out and think before reacting to a problem. Cooling down gives the issue time to return to a proper perspective and gives a manager time to coordinate their response. Once you've cooled down and are ready to make your response remember that the person you talk to is your most valuable asset,your staff. They are your businesses life blood and while realities have to be addressed they must be addressed in a way that maintains good will. Your objective is to bring attention to an error while inspiring someone to achieve better results. The diplomacy required may sound worthy of a United Nations Ambassador but once you've cooled down and gathered your thoughts it is more achievable than you may think.

There is another cliche, "Never say anything bad without saying something good." The reason this is a cliche is because it is so true and proven historically. Even the biggest mistake doesn't make the employee worthless. There was a reason why you hired and continued to employee them. Mentally capture the workers past successes and include them in your coaching session. Don't make the mistake personal. It was a mistake, not a character flaw and should be treated as such.

Begin every coaching session with a sincere expression of gratitude for past service. Mention specific instances where the worker performed well and remember to be specific. Just saying, "You usually do a good job," isn't going to do it. It has to be specific and recent. When citing the problem also be specific and do not editorialize. State the problem but not how you felt about the problem. "You showed that customer the wrong merchandise and I was really upset that you make such a stupid mistake," is not the approach to take. Leave your feelings out of it,this is business. After you've stated the problem offer constructive ways to avoid this issue including asking for assistance with customers or additional training. Give your employee the opportunity and desire to correct negative behavior.

When your feelings are in check and you deal with your biggest asset,your employees, in a responsible way you can keep morale high and reap the results in bigger and better sales.
About the Author
Melissa Vokoun is a successful Business Advisor, Coach and Trainer. To learn more about the services available, please visit the website at: http://www.coachingqueen.com or call 847-392-6886.
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