Written by Sean McPheat |
The old adage, “It is not what you say, but how you say it,” is true and valid.
In today’s business environment, the wrong words or tone of those words can cause misunderstanding and resentment.
As today’s buyers are more educated and sophisticated, sales management must realise that today’s sales people have evolved as well.
You Said One Thing, They Heard Something Else
When communicating with sales people it is very easy to belittle or disrespect them inadvertently.
Your goal was to inspire and motivate; however, the conversation seems to have had the opposite effect and proved counterproductive.
When this happens, it is often because although your words may have been uplifting, the message the sales person received was not.
Below are three effective techniques to help you communicate more effectively and positively with today’s modern sales professional.
Act As If You Have Never Heard “IT” Before
A member of your sales team comes to you with a question or problem that you have not only heard a thousand times, but have also answered repeatedly.
In addition, the answer to this problem is on page six of your training manual!
Your first thought is, “What is wrong with this person?”
However, you maintain your professionalism and quickly blurt out the answer, which is the mistake.
In such a situation, you need to exercise a little more patience and give the question legitimacy and importance.
Should you quickly blurt out the answer, you minimise the importance of the question, which could be one of the reasons why sales people cannot seem to remember it.
Likewise, should you abruptly command the sales person go read the training manual, you also belittle the sales person.
Instead, lend value to the question and simultaneously uplift the sales person.
“You know Steve that is an important question. In fact, if you are not solid on how to handle that issue, it is sure to cause you problems in the field. Let’s do this to make sure we get you over this problem: We have dedicated a few pages to this issue in the training manual. Go over that material—study it. Then come back to me and we will make sure you are really clear on it, ok?”
Can You Help Me?
You can give commands and issue threats all day long.
However, you will find that people are much more inclined to help you than run errands for you.
You may have tedious tasks for someone or you may need to improve processes in a particular area of the sales process.
In either case, instead of commanding or demanding improvement, ask for help.
“Listen Claire, your team has to get sales up this quarter. You have three new people assigned to you, and they have not been pulling their weight. You have to get them on target right now or I have to let them go.”
“Claire, I wonder if you can help me? We have a real problem. We must raise production this quarter, it is critical. Would you spend some more time with those three new people? We need to get them up to quota, quickly. Work with them, and let me know what you think. I need to decide what to do with them and I need your help.”
Make It A Sales Training Session Rather Than Pointing The Finger
You find you have a sales person who is making a critical error in the field.
It is costing them and consequently you a ton of money and lost sales.
You must correct the problem, yet try to keep things positive.
How can you correct a negative without bringing up the negative issue?
Instead of singling out that sales person and teaching or correcting in a one-on-one fashion, or pointing to the sales person as the one who is doing wrong in front of the group; make the issue a sales training topic.
First, it is likely that others are making this same mistake.
Secondly, for those not having a problem with the issue, it still cannot hurt for them to hear it again.
Bring the topic up as a positive and train everyone on the issue.
If possible, have sales people demonstrate the issue during the sales training, including the sales person in question.
With this approach, you correct the problem without communicating a negative message.
Also, the sales person in question does not feel embarrassed.
Instead, he or she feels grateful for your incredibly on-time training sessions!
Originally published: 6 September, 2017