As we start bringing our teams back to the office, here are some thoughts to consider.

During this lengthy pandemic selling situation, I have witnessed a huge divide between sales folks who are thriving at home and ones who are failing. Although many of the struggling sellers will say, and even think, that they are doing fine, their new business, digital, and overall percent to budget tell a different story. So does their engagement level on virtual calls.

We miss a lot by not being in the office. Coffee pot and water cooler conversations, sure. But more importantly, we miss the phrase a seller hears on the other side of the cubicle when a co-worker secures an appointment from a new prospect, or the wording used when giving pushback to a client who wants to reduce their advertising or spend less. It’s all the little things that as managers we don’t always realize help our team become successful.

Yes, as a manager, you do help their growth and development, but so do their peers!

I remember lots of “co-worker teaching moments” early in my career that had nothing to do with my boss:

“Hey Stoos, you can’t wear a different pair of suit pants with a different suit jacket—it looks stupid.” My response, “You can’t?”

“How much did you sell them for? Three thousand dollars? They spend that with me in a month, not a year—you need to ask them for more money.” My response, in Napoleon Dynamite voice, “Dang it!” Steve was a TV veteran and I was a radio rookie at the time.

Co-worker after I decided to not call on a client because I didn’t have a “good feeling” about the account  – “Never put an X on any door—make the call first and then decide.”

As a young seller, I was horrible. I was more concerned with playing semi-pro football than making a sale. If my bosses only knew how little effort I was putting in they would have fired me.

Thankfully, a few of my co-workers coached me to the point where I finally committed to my own success.

We need our teams back in the office, working together, sharing stories, and preventing less-experienced sellers from making mistakes.

So how does that work today? I think one of the strategies that organizations need to look at is having a series of days when everyone is required to be in the office first thing in the morning. After that, performance dictates whether the seller EARNS the right to more freedom or more office time, as determined by their manager.

So if a seller is hitting their numbers and doing everything right, congratulations they’ve earned more flexibility. If they haven’t sold a new account in three months and are at 50% of their monthly digital budget, congratulations they’ve EARNED the right to come in every day!

Time together is important for sales teams, and some sellers benefit more from it than others.  While yes, our “one-size-fits-all” approach deserves some new consideration in the new normal, make sure not to throw the “baby out with the bathwater” when doing it.

Our sellers need us, and they need each other, to grow.

Margie Chilson is a Senior Marketing Consultant for JDA.media.

Her vast experience includes nearly three decades in broadcast television and digital sales marketing, working in and with multiple markets and affiliations including Dallas-Fort Worth at WFAA, Denver at KUSA-KTVD, KMGH, KWGN, and as a team manager at Millennium Television Sales.

Margie’s years as a local seller were award-winning and inspiration for her jump to JDA.media. She exceeded new business and digital goals on a consistent basis at Belo Corp., Scripps, Tribune, and TEGNA Inc. stations. A true innovator, Margie pioneered job-sharing positions in Dallas and Denver, balancing hectic work schedules and family, paving the way for working parents with careers in media sales.

Margie is well known and respected for her diligence, drive, and new business results. Due to her years in the business as an account executive and sales leader, she knows the station environment well and can easily relate to local sellers as well as the most senior managers.

An alum of Oklahoma State University who graduated with Honors in Journalism Advertising, Margie boasts an outstanding track record of helping business owners strategically grow their revenue through broadcast, streaming and digital solutions.

Margie and her husband Tim have been married for 23 years. The couple and their two children live in Littleton, CO, a suburb of Denver. Their son, Ryan, attends the University of Colorado Boulder, and their daughter, Mary, is in high school.  In their spare time, the Chilsons enjoy travel, hiking in the picturesque Rocky Mountains, cooking, watching movies, and cheering on their kids in various sporting events.