Most of us have joined what Time calls "the World's Largest Work-From-Home Experiment." Without proper preparation, the COVID-19 outbreak has prompted business leaders everywhere to tell their team to work remotely until further notice.
Sales managers—your direct reports need your individualized coaching more than ever! The best managers have always individualized their coaching, but doing so remotely requires greater focus and intentionality. How can you help your team cope, adjust, and sell in the midst of our new normal?
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to management. You must know how each person on your team functions at their best. One of the most helpful things managers can do for their team during a pandemic is take a look at the strengths of each individual.
First, use a validated talent instrument that measures the intensities of strengths and weaknesses so you can clearly understand who you are working with. This will give you the information you need to build an individualized coaching plan and allow you to tap into areas where they naturally thrive and work around their weaknesses—keeping them on track and setting them up for future success.
Managing a Sales Team Through a Crisis
Everyone on your team was hired with purpose. They are all different and possess personality traits that highlights their strengths and work around their weaknesses. Sales managers are coaching and managing very different personality types through this adjustment. A diverse team needs a flexible, unique management style—here’s how you can provide that to them.
Positivity has been a game-changer during COVID-19. For example, I spent some time chatting with a manager and reviewing two sellers with similar talents. One, with strong positivity, had made three sales in two days, in part because of her positive attitude.
The other had called their manager multiple times a day to complain and was expecting to not sell anything until the crisis was over. While both were very talented, tenured sellers, positivity gave one a “can do” attitude, and a lack of positivity gave the other an “it can’t be done” attitude.
How Can You Help Both?
For your high-positivity seller, first, praise their positive attitude —let them know that you appreciate it.
- Give them the opportunity to spread that positivity to others
- Ask them to share some “winning plays” with the group or talk about some of the opportunities they are finding
- Before they contact their prospect or client, encourage them to think about the positivity they can offer, as well as how to demonstrate their caring for the client’s situation
When helping your lower positivity people, keep in mind that the uncertainty of this situation is likely to bring out their “inner Eeyore,” so let them vent to you.
- Call or video chat with them and ask them how they are feeling, listen to their concerns and let them vent
- Offer them some of your positivity
- Look for something that makes you feel good, and then reach out to them with those good feelings front of mind
- Find what makes them feel good and try to provide it —a funny video and cartoon can go a long way to making them feel cared for and making their day better
Be prepped with some practical suggestions as well. We offer several free resources in our COVID-19 Resources.
*CSS clients, take a look at the Resource Center—Overcoming COVID-19 Objections.
Relationships: Managing Both Extroverts and Introverts
Individuals that crave relationships tend to hate working from home. They want to see their clients and coworkers face to face, and they thrive on personal interactions, building relationships, and demonstrating how much they care. Extroverts like to be surrounded by people —and right now, we’re all pretty isolated.
How Can You Help?
It’s important that you show them that you genuinely care by reaching out to them a little more often
- Set up video calls so you can see their body language and react to it
- Send them a handwritten note
- Set up virtual lunches or happy hours with the team so they can see and interact with coworkers
- Offer practical ways that they can interact with their clients
Encourage them to super-serve their clients by providing information and resources that will help clients depend on them and talk about ways that they can virtually show how much they care.
Your “social introverts” handle the idea of isolation better than those who crave company. But regardless, they need your caring and understanding as well. While working alone in their home office may come more naturally, using video calls may not. Your lower relationship sellers may struggle to make those video calls warm and personal, so during your individualized focus meetings with them, discuss ways that they make video calls less stressful and more personal.
Remember, as you and your team work through this situation and come out the other side as a stronger, more cohesive group, that we’re here to help you. Whether it’s feedback calls on how to help your team remain productive during the crisis, resources to help you tackle this truly unprecedented situation, or a listening ear and a positive word when you have given out all of your positivity to your team, we are here for you!