Weaknesses. We all have them. But we all have strengths as well. Which do you focus on?
Human nature leads us to naturally focus on our weaknesses, but it is a proven fact that we can be significantly more effective when we do the exact opposite!
In sales coaching, you can get a 10x lift from a salesperson if you focus on their strengths. This is the most highly effective use of your coaching time when you consider that you will only be able to improve people in an area of weakness by about 10%.
Yes, easier said than done at times, so here are some suggestions on how to accomplish that.
- Ignore it. What? Really? Yes! If it isn’t getting in the way or creating a problem, then don’t worry about it. Remember the saying, "If it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it." That applies here as well. However, I must add that you can’t fix a weakness, but you can work around it. We explore that more next.
- Deal with it. Develop a workaround. Think about the salesperson's natural talents and what you see him or her doing really well, and use that talent to help. That may look something like this. You are coaching a salesperson who struggles with close reluctance, but you recognize that she is also naturally organized. She keeps a to do list and always gets tasks done on time. You can use her natural tendency to follow through and execute a plan to work around her hesitation to move a sale forward by working with her to establish next steps and set firm deadlines for herself. In this case, you are essentially using one talent to work around the area of weakness that is getting in her way.
- Reallocate the task. Find someone else in the organization that can help.
As we often say, “Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.” Instead, find out what people do well and give them more opportunities to do those things!