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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

The Secret to Sales Success (It's Not Enough to Hire Talented People)

building relationships for sales successAbout a year ago I conducted a sales talent assessment for an up-and-coming college graduate who had very little sales experience but was loaded with both raw talent and a passion for sales. We’ll call her Ashley. The hiring manager, let’s go with Brenda, was thrilled to be able to get someone with such potential “on the cheap,” so she made her an offer right away, which Ashley quickly accepted. 

Anxious to get started, Ashley immediately began working part-time, juggling her senior year class load with the intense training for her new job. Her excitement about the possibilities ahead fueled her through long days, and she found that she was so energized, she never seemed to wear out!  Ashley got up-to-speed very quickly, acing the online training, downloading resources, and building a reference binder for herself, learning everything she could about her industry, local market, and capabilities, shadowing top performers, role-playing every situation her manager could throw at her, and practicing until she finally felt she could shine!

Are you guessing that she went out there and made sales happen? If so, you’re right! Ashley began bringing in a ton of new business and quickly rose to the top of the leaderboard week after week. 

Are you thinking that she is continuing to learn and grow in this role? There you’d be wrong. She’s gone. Wait! What? It hasn’t even been a full year yet and she’s GONE? Yep. And I can tell you why so we can all learn from this. 

She didn’t think her manager cared about her. 

The money was good for someone her age, and she loved her product, her coworkers, and her clients. She knew she was doing good work, but no one ever told her that. She showed up to their morning huddle to report the number of “asks” she had coming up, and she attended her weekly one-on-ones so she could report on her activity. Her numbers looked good (although there was always room for improvement), but no one gave her the praise she wanted. No one patted her on the back or told her that they were proud of her. Is it a Millennial thing? Maybe that was part of it. But really, it’s a human thing.

People join a company, but they leave a boss.

It’s painful to think about all of the time and money this company invested in Ashley! Their onboarding plan is strong, and their training is stellar! But none of that means anything once the honeymoon period is over. People need to know they matter in a meaningful way and that they are not just a cog in the wheel.

Did you know that 67% of talented employees report they are planning to quit their jobs in 2018? Make sure your top performers aren’t in that statistic by building strong relationships with your people. 

10 Ways To Let Your People Know You Care About Them

Here are my top ten favorite ways you can use to let your people know that you care about them and build the kind of connection that makes them 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 into 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: Management sales management sales training coaching onboarding