We get it. As a business owner, you wear many hats. You have many responsibilities and time is limited.
1. Don’t: be stingy with the time you dedicate to answering their questions
The time you spend supporting your sales staff, answering their questions, providing tough-love and cheer-leading them occasionally will pay off – literally, with ROI. But in the moment, we often find business owners are caught up with their own responsibilities and can lack the patience to lead their team.
People know, consciously and unconsciously, when they’re talking to someone who wants to be somewhere else or doing other things. It’s like sitting in the bar talking with a friend who continuously looks over your shoulder and around the room for someone “better” to speak with. It’s a feeling that diminishes trust, rapport and the ability to communicate openly.
Create a forum – a Slack channel or a Microsoft Teams forum for your sales team to support one another. This way you can moderate the forum, but they can all have access (in an office or working remotely) to support one another. We find by creating this, staff will come forward and ask questions, more experienced staff will jump in and answer their questions (which builds their knowledge base and expertise as well) and it creates a space for deeper questioning and debates.
This relieves your time and you’ll be able to see recurring themes in issues or objections they’re facing to address separately and specifically. You know your team works as a team when they support one another and feel safe enough to speak up.
2. Do: be tactfully honest
It’s important to be honest but the key to supportive communication lies in the way you convey that honesty. What do I mean? If you feel angry, frustrated, agitated, annoyed that someone’s bugging you with questions you’ve answered over and over again and you go to speak from that place of emotion, the recipient isn’t going to feel supported or like you’re saying it for their benefit. When you speak from that place of emotion, you’re expressing it for your benefit – not theirs.
Sometimes, supporting someone does mean challenging them. It means breaking them past old thoughts and habits and giving some “tough love” to move them forward and for their own progression. Sometimes the truth hurts but your conveyance of that truth needs to be tactful and considered, and not in the heat of the moment.
You’ll know when this is and isn’t appropriate. If this is something you consistently do and get wrong, emotional intelligence is something for you to work on. If you’re unaware of what this looks like, it’s high staff turnover, high levels of drama and emotion, disengaged employees who do the bare minimum and ex-staff being completely exiled.
If you’re not in a place to have a conversation when someone approaches you, recognise that. Then simply ask them if you can come back to them in 5 minutes. In that 5 minutes, take the time to process what it is you want to say and the outcome you want for them (not you).
3. Don’t: expect your employees to understand your mentality
Business owners have a very different mindset to employees. Employees don’t understand the blood, sweat and tears it’s taken to get your business off the ground, keep it going AND then get it making a profit. Especially with trying and uncertain times in the world right now, we can feel uncertain and scared about the future we thought we’d have with our business and we lack certain elements we’ve previously been able to control.
The thing is, whether it’s a pandemic or other circumstances we’ve faced in the past, we’ve had opportunities along our journey by build incredible resilience. We know what it’s like to have our backs against the wall, everything on the line and continue to take strategic risks and fight, more for our perceived worthiness than anything else. Employees require higher levels of certainty and if you’re erratic and freaking out, the support you offer them is limited.
Employees in sales experience incredible amounts of rejection and if they haven’t built their resilience muscle to the point where they can bounce back and not take it as a personal reflection of themselves, their mental health (let alone their income if they’re paid on commission) will inevitably suffer.
Come from a place of compassion and leadership. Don’t get in the trenches with them. Provide fun and inspiration and lead from a place of self-assurance, certainty and strength.
4. Do: get any support you need
We say it often – you can’t swim out and save someone from drowning if you aren’t a strong swimmer yourself. It’s exactly the same when it comes to supporting your sales staff. If you’re not looking after yourself and getting the support you need, you have a limited capacity to support others.
As a business owner, you’ve built your business to support your team financially and your clients with what you offer. You have a lot of people leaning on you and whether you realise this or not, that will take it’s toll on your energy, your spirit and your psyche. If you’re not speaking regularly to a coach, mentor, advisor or exercising, or doing things that soothe your soul, nurture your inner child and keep you uplifted and inspired, consider what results you’d have if you did?
When we think about people we’re drawn to energetically, they’re not heavy and frustrated and irritated. If anything, we repel and avoid people like that. We want to be surrounded by people who raise our energy, inspire us and motivate us to be better. With a clear mind, your ability to lead increases exponentially and when you’re leading efficiently, your ROI will increase exponentially as well.
If you’re looking for additional support for your sales staff, reach out today to learn about our Sales Coaching Program and what it can do for your business.