Written by Sean McPheat |
30 April, 2012
Communication, communication and more communication. No pun intended here, but for some sales managers, communication is just talk.
Effective and proactive communication is as integral to your sales team as professional training, solid sales support and even good sales people. In fact, communication is the glue that holds all of the pieces of the team’s puzzle together.
Here are three powerful tips to use to help you communicate more effectively and proactively with your sales crew.
#1 – Input
Like anything, you can only get out of it what you put into it. The same goes for your sales crew. You have to set up a system for sales people to give you their input. They must be able to feel confident that they can voice their honest opinions to you without fear of reprisal.
Do not assume that since you have a proverbial “open-door” policy , that sales people know that they can share their feelings with you. You may not be as much a part of the “inner circle” as you think you are.
Set up a system so that you know for sure that sales people can freely share their fears, grievances, wishes, hopes and dreams.
#2 – Listen
If you are fortunate enough to have those conversations where sales people can sit down and tell you the “truth” then you also have to listen, and I mean actively listen.
Be careful not to formulate an opinion or solution in your mind before you have completely heard the sales person point of view. Also, maintain deep and steady eye contact and show genuine concern and empathy.
I know that often some of the “major news flashes” that come from a sales team member, to you may be something as old as the hills that you have heard of a thousand times and been aware of for years. So, how do you listen intently and show interest, empathy and even excitement for something that is clearly old news?
Active Listening Tip
Try this, as the person is talking, take an idea or topic they have just spoken, and interject. Stop the speaker and ask if you understand exactly what he or she is saying. To do this, rephrase the statement in different words and recite it back to the sales person. This will force you to listen carefully and to reformulate the topic you must understand it. Simultaneously, it demonstrates to the speaker that you are indeed in tune and following closely.
This is an old sales technique that you should use in any conversation. Just rephrase the question or topic. Whatever you do—-listen actively.
#3 – ACT
As I mentioned, some communication is just talk. You must follow up what you say and act on anything and everything you say—immediately. To ask for input, listen to the sales team and do nothing about what they told you, is worst than if you never heard them in the first place.
Such inaction will cause team members to shut down and not trust you and create a non-productive, negative atmosphere. Sales people will feel as if you are actually working against them, hampering their efforts to make money. In sales management, action delayed equals income denied.
If you do not intend to do anything about a situation, then let them know. If you DO intend to take some action—THEN DO IT!
Talk WITH your sales team, not AT them
Communication is indeed a two way street, and talk just by itself, really is cheap.
MTD Sales Training
(Image by Nirots)