"It's strange to me too, but we're talking about practice man, we're not even talking about the game... the actual game when it matters... We're talking about practice." - Allen Iverson
We all got a good laugh with Iverson when he went on his "practice" rant back in 2002. He went off on the reporter who asked if he and his coach, Larry Brown, were on the same page about Iverson's performance in practice. I mean, it's just practice, right? They weren't asking about his performance in a "real game," right?
WRONG! Practice matters. Coaching matters. Feedback matters. It doesn't matter if you are in the NBA or an account executive in a sales organization. Spending time in practice determines how you play in the game (or on the appointment).
And as the coach or the sales manager, your feedback matters. It can be the difference between winning and losing. The difference between hitting your budget or missing it. And it can be the difference between whether a salesperson on your staff is successful or not!
So if feedback is so important, how do you do it correctly?
3 Keys to Deliver Effective Performance Feedback
Yes, just like practice, you need to provide feedback to your sales team frequently. Feedback is more powerful when you do it regularly. And by the way, your team actually wants your feedback. When you see someone doing something well, comment on it. If it's in the office, stop them tell them. When they sell something, let them know they did well. And when you go on calls with them, use the time after the call to provide feedback. They will appreciate it.
The more precise your feedback is the better. Your salespeople want to know what they are doing well and if there are ways for them to improve. Giving general feedback like, "You did great," can really turn off good salespeople. Yes, they like to know that they are doing well, but they crave "how" they are doing well. Ensure you give specific details that enhance how powerful your feedback is for your team.
Focus on the positive. We want to encourage behavior and activities that are good. We want them to replicate those activities. By focusing on positive feedback, we are encouraging positive behavior. Knowing what's right is much more helpful than knowing what's wrong. No, that does not mean that you can't provide feedback on where they can improve. It just means that we should focus more on positive behavior. We recommend that you give 5 positive comments to every piece of criticism.
So, yes, Allen, we all need to practice and we all need to listen to our coaches. And coaches, even your 'Hall of Fame' salespeople need and want your feedback.