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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

The Key to Turning Talent into Performance in Sales

sales performanceNothing fires me up like facilitating the Talent Focused Management live simulation workshop. The lessons are powerful, and the takeaways are career-changing! Following last week’s workshop, I asked our participants to share one of their greatest lessons learned from the program, and one response really stood out for me. 

A sales manager said, “I learned the power of positive feedback and the value of developing close relationships with my team members in order to get the most out of their talents.”

Now that’s a manager I could work for. Positive feedback, a caring relationship, and maximizing my strengths? Yes, please!

Does the concept of getting close to your people make you nervous because you may need to discipline them one day? Push that thought away. If you have ever been in a situation where your manager had to have a tough conversation with you, then you know it doesn’t feel better if they don’t care about you. On the contrary, if you have a strong relationship and you know that your manager sincerely cares about you and has your back, that tough conversation can have long-term positive results on your career.

There are even more reasons to build strong relationships with your employees. You will:

  • Improve morale (It’s a proven fact that happy people are more productive!)
  • Increase retention rates (Why wouldn’t they want to come back to work the next day?)
  • Heighten the sense of teamwork (Which in-turn increases cooperation and collaboration.)
  • Grow productivity (And of course, that makes people happier! Wash, rinse, repeat.)

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and founder of Leanin.org, understands how important it is to deeply connect with your team:

“Motivation comes from working on things we care about, but it also comes from working with people we care about, and in order to care about someone you have to know them. You have to know what they love and hate, what they feel-not just what they think. If you want to win hearts and minds, you have to lead with your heart as well as your mind. I don’t believe we have a professional self from Mondays through Fridays and a real self the rest of the time. That kind of division probably never worked, but in today’s world it makes even less sense...it is all professional and it is all personal, all at the very same time.”

So, how do you build these kinds of powerful relationships? 

Here are my TOP TEN favorite ways to build the types of strong relationships that make people want to stick with you:

  1. Don’t wait for them to connect with you; make it your job to build this relationship with them.
  2. Spend undistracted time with your employees, one-on-one, and make sure some of that time happens outside of the office.
  3. Focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses. Anyone can point out their shortcomings, but it takes someone who really cares to show them their strengths and help them to grow.
  4. Know what motivates them and, even more importantly, know what doesn’t.
  5. Do what you say you will do every single time, so they learn they can trust you.
  6. Provide continuous feedback; take every opportunity to let them know what you have noticed.
  7. Catch them doing things right much more often than doing things wrong (a 5:1 ratio is ideal).
  8. Ask their opinions and advice, which is the ultimate compliment, but don’t leave it there. Actually, take what you learn into consideration and get back to them with the “rest of the story.”
  9. Loop them in; share important information with them and provide them with the bigger picture.
  10. Challenge them with responsibilities that fall right in their wheelhouse so they can be successful and grow in an area of talent.

Relationships are important, and they don’t happen by accident; you have to actually do things to create and maintain a strong relationship with others. Rest assured, your efforts will be rewarded in many ways! 

For more ideas on how you can build and grow powerful relationships, download the free resource below.

30 Ways to Develop More Effective Relationships

Topics: sales performance sales management Talent