Are your sales people receptive to your feedback? 

When giving feedback, providing specific examples and using positive words leads to a positive reception.

We've been on a roll lately talking about how to coach our sales people and help them develop into rock stars.  WHY?  Because our time is limited.  The more we invest our valuable time now in developing the skills of our sales team, even those who are experienced, the more sales they'll convert WITHOUT our constant oversight.  Ultimately, coaching helps them perform better which helps us get more results from our team with less of our management time.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach him to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

We have to teach them to fish!  To enhance the skills of our sales people means to invest time observing, training and providing feedback.  In my earlier blogs I've written about how and when to coach, today I want to talk about the language of providing feedback. 

After observing a customer appointment virtually, or even when debriefing a customer interaction with our sales people, it often seems easier to just give them the answer or to just tell them what to do, instead of coaching them and helping them discover a better solution.  But think about it, will they really learn and grow if we just tell them what to do?  No, adults don't learn that way.

Further, sales people tend to have fragile egos, and while most of our reps will benefit from some fine tuning, they're not always fully receptive to feedback.  And if they're not receptive, we're wasting our time. 

When offering feedback to a role play or a customer interaction, using specific examples and positive words will significantly increase your sales person's understanding and reception to the feedback.  This doesn't mean we don't address issues.  It just means we do so in a way that is respectful and positive.  When they receive it well, they'll be more inclined to accept your feedback, grow from the experience, and continue to up-level their skills so they perform at higher levels.

Here are some examples:

Instead of: Can I give you some feedback?       Try:   May I share my reaction?    

When you ask them "permission" to share your reaction, not only do they give you the go-ahead to share...but you're also just sharing your reaction.  There are so many ways to react to a given scenarios, your perception may be different from someone else's.  Furthermore, this de-personalizes it and takes the emphasis off the person and emphasizes the reaction to the words spoken or behavior observed. 

Instead of: Good Job!    Try:  Here's what really worked for me...because....and share the impact.

When you use very specific examples of what they said or the behavior you observed, and then share your perception of the impact, they will clearly understand what they did and your feedback will be more memorable to them.  Additionally, when you reinforce positive behavior and  share its beneficial impact, they'll be more inclined to use that same technique again and again.

Instead of: Here's what you should do.    Try:  What would you do differently?  Or,  If they really don't know...Have you considered?  Or, I might have done it this way.  How do you think that would have worked in this situation?  This gives them an opportunity to be in the driver seat...they can agree or disagree, and they can problem solve solutions themselves.   When the solution is their idea, they'll be more engaged and more inclined to make that change the next time.    

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For more guidance on how to coach your sales team and develop rockstars, 

Kathy is a sales and leadership coach specializing in helping builders and real estate companies develop brilliant sales leaders who foster a healthy, high performance sales culture. Kathy's transformational sales leadership program 9 Steps to Leading a Rock Star Sales Team teaches sales leaders the systems and strategies to not just survive the demanding role of the sales manager, but to THRIVE.  

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