My afternoon was filled with pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo, and that doesn’t happen very often around here! Smack-dab between my 2:00pm Sales Talent Interview and my 3:30pm talent coaching call, my daughter (who is working this summer as a nanny for an 11-month old cutie named Tripp) popped by my office with an armload of squealing energy.
She was excited for Tripp to show me how well he can take a couple of steps on his own now - and he was proud to demonstrate! He would pull himself up, wobble around, hold onto our hands until he felt ready, and then, ta dum! He would take a step. Sometimes two. And the crowd would go wild!
The more we cheered, the more he wanted to show off his new skill and the more confident he became. This continued until we all felt like we needed a nap, and it was time for Tripp to actually take one. So, after lots and lots of “bye byes,” I jumped on my next coaching call.
This call had been requested by a frustrated b2b sales manager who wanted to discuss a talented seller he had hired who was not living up to expectations. After listening to the behaviors he was dealing with and the disappointment he was feeling, I asked him about the feedback he had been giving this seller. Turns out this was actually a big opportunity for improvement for the sales manager as well.
Developing a person starts at infancy and continues for a lifetime.
Like the feedback that Tripp receives from his parents, the feedback a salesperson receives from their manager can either help them to grow or stunt them. Yet managers often fail to give the right feedback at the right times and this can stunt the sellers’ growth.
Imagine if Tripp’s parents were never around when he was learning to walk so he never received encouragement or feedback. What if, when his parents were asked to come watch him take his first steps, they declined and said, “We’ll come watch him after he shows us that he can be successful at doing it a few times all on his own.” Or, even worse, what if they had said, “Why should we watch him walk? Kids his age should walk – that is what we expect him to do.”
If any of those situations had been the case, it is likely that he would not have been strutting his stuff with such excitement and confidence this afternoon.
So now let me ask you, how often do you give feedback? Good feedback. Not the superficial-check-the-box-because-it’s-done kind of feedback, but the kind of feedback that really makes a difference and grows a person. This might be an opportunity for you too!
Here are 10 ways to increase sales performance with successful feedback:
- Set clear expectations so they know exactly what you want them to do
- Pay attention and watch closely so you don’t miss their big moment
- Don’t wait for them to arrive at the final destination to give them feedback
- Cheer often and cheer loudly
- Prepare yourself for how you will respond when they are successful - and when they fall down
- When they do fall, tell them they’ll be alright and get them right back up to try again
- Don’t hold their mishap against them, call it a do-over
- Gradually increase your expectations – but only when they are ready
- Give them opportunities to demonstrate their skills to others once they feel confident
- Be consistent
It’s not easy, but taking the time to give the right kind of feedback to your talented salespeople will pay off. It’s how you can develop them, keep them, and turn their talent into performance.
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