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  1. Sales Management: Problem Solving Skills

  2. Problem Solving Skills What’s Worse ? • Making a bad decision? • Making no decision?

  3. Problem Solving Skills Why We Avoid Decisions • Don’t want to make a mistake • Hope problem will self-correct • Don’t want to overstep authority • Don’t want to anger others • Don’t want to offend others • Don’t have time to think it through • Don’t have a good problem solving system

  4. Problem Types Organizational / Structural • Operational • Budgetary • Technical • Top down • Bottom up

  5. Problem Types People • Performance • Social • Personal

  6. Methods To Solve Problems Knee-Jerk Shoot first and ask questions later Procrastinate Wait long enough and problem willfix itself or go away Strategic Use a system that is • Consistent • Thorough • Thoughtful • Participatory • Fair

  7. Problem Solving Strategies Work backwards Start with a favorable outcome and trace backwards Solve a simpler problem Break it down into small sub-goals

  8. Steps To Effective Problem Solving • Define the problem • Set the priorities • Get all the facts • Solicit input • Consider options • Make your decision • Communicate the decision • Monitor progress

  9. Define the Problem – (Write it Down) List the organizational components • What’s causing the problem? • What’s contributing to the problem? • What’s preventing a solution? List the people components • Who’s causing the problem? • Who’s contributing to the problem? • Who’s preventing a solution?

  10. Set the Priorities How important is this problem? • Prioritize – Scale of 1-10 • Don’t sweat the small stuff? • What’s the worst case scenario? • What’s the best case scenario? Is your intervention really required? • Can it /should it be delegated? Who can help solve the problem? • Identify allies and partners What’s the time frame for a solution • Establish a timeline

  11. Get All the Facts List the organizational obstacles • Systems • Technical • Paradigms List the people obstacles • Knowledge / ability • Understanding • Attitude / style • Fear • Personal

  12. Get All the Facts Determine your position • Strength or weakness • Can you make the decisions? • Can you enforce the decision? • Do you need authority / buy-in? Will behavioral style play a role? • Will you need to adjust to get buy-in? Who is / will be affected? • Inside the problem • Outside the problem

  13. Solicit Input • Get information from direct parties • Get information from affected parties • Get information from trusted parties • Ask for their recommendations • The power of “Tell me about that” • Get advice from superiors • Get advice from peers

  14. Make Your Decision • Whenever possible, let the affected / offending parties devise the solution • Take time to think before you act • Use logic, guided by emotion • Be fair, but firm • Be consistent • Establish a timeline for implementation • Prepare your communication • Be flexible and willing to change course if and when necessary

  15. Communicate the Decision Re-state the problem and… • Effect on organization and people • Rationale for the decision Clearly explain the details of the solution • How solution will be implemented • Who will implement the solution • How the solution will be supported • How progress will be measured • Benefits of making the change • Consequences of non-compliance • Your appreciation of their support & cooperation

  16. Monitor Progress • Establish a specific reporting system • Set firm times for reviews • Communicate clearly and honestly • Determine & fix system impediments • Praise / reward for success • Follow through on consequences for lack of success • Support and encourage everyone involved

  17. Effective Problem Solving As managers, we like to think it’s possible to make big, sweeping changes. In truth, successful, meaningful change occurs in small, strategic pieces that take organization structure and systems into account and leave no one behind.


  19. Case Study: Problems Your best seller is frequently late for meetings. You also notice she is leaving work early, but there is no perceptual change in her billing.

  20. Case Study: Problems You’ve hired a new seller who is young, but appears to have great potential. Her early numbers are encouraging, but her younger style of dress and attitude are prompting complaints from other sellers on the staff.

  21. Case Study: Problems Your best seller is a great closer, but you get frequent complaints from clients regarding poor customer service and lack of follow up.

  22. Case Study: Problems It’s 4:30. One of your newest sellers who’s been working hard to make goal arrives at the station with an order that will put her over the top. However, your traffic director refuses to place it because it’s past the deadline.

  23. Case Study: Problems Your boss has begun asking for a series of new reports. They are very time consuming to complete and the new commitment will require cutting the time you devote to salespeople.

  24. Sales Management: Problem Solving Skills