People crave feedback. We want to know if what we are doing is good, bad, or just plain ugly.
It starts when we are little kids. We all desperately wanted our parent's attention. We wanted them to "watch us" run fast, jump high, or sing a song. We wanted them to be proud of us, but also to give us feedback. Were we doing it "right?" How can we do it better?
Well, not much has changed since we were children. We still want to know how we are doing. Yet, so many managers seem to think that their people don't need feedback or even want it. WRONG! Your people desperately want to know how they are doing. Feedback is a fantastic way for a sales manager to improve their team's sales performance by reinforcing good behaviors and improving upon weak behaviors.
The best way to give feedback to your sales team is after spending time with your account executives. We recommend that you spend a "day in the field" observing how an AE performs in a real-world experience. When you go on an appointment with them, do not jump in and "takeover" the call. Instead, observe and take notes so that you can give them specific and timely feedback. After the call (or calls), stop at a local coffee shop to discuss how the call went. This is your opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your AE, but also provide critical information to help them improve.
We recommend the 3-1-1 format for feedback.
- 3: Start the feedback by offering three specific examples of things the AE did well. Focus on things they did that fit their talents and strengths.
Example: "When you began the sales call, you did an excellent job building rapport with your target. You were warm and friendly, and connected with them quickly. You also did a great job repeating your pre-call expectations of the meeting."
- 1: Mention one area of the meeting that they didn't do that you would recommend for future appointments.
Example: "You weren't able to uncover the target's budget this time. For your next meeting, make sure that you don't leave the meeting without nailing down the target's budget. "
- 1: Discuss one area of the meeting that they did do something that you would recommend skipping for future appointments.
Example: "When the client asked about the station's ratings, you spent a lot of time discussing our latest ratings book and how well we did. Next time, when a client asks about ratings, be sure to answer that we do very well, but we would rather focus on their business at this time. We can talk about our numbers when we present our solution to them."
By using the 3-1-1 format, a winning sales coach can give an AE some timely and specific feedback that not only recognizes their good work, but also will help them in future appointments. And everyone, even your most experienced account executives, want that!