Going below the surface!

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Going below the surface!

When you observe repeated behaviours in your sales people that you know get in the way of sales success, what’s your immediate inner response?

Frustration, irritation, anger, a need to jump in and tell them again how it should be done?

If this is true for you then you won’t be alone…it’s the most common reaction I come across in sales leaders.

You will already know this but just to be sure…this reaction doesn’t help you or your sales people change these negative behaviours. Especially as they are habits that they keep repeating over and over again.

Your judgement creates a negative reaction in you which then starts a chain of events that are triggered by emotion rather than rational logic.

You will have had an experience of this I’m sure…we all have 😉

What can you do instead?

Rather than judgement…come from a space of curiosity.

What’s causing them to repeat the behaviour?

What’s the thinking behind it?

What stops them using a more effective approach?

This needs a conversation to uncover. You simply cannot know the answers to these questions…you can only assume the answers to these questions…and you could be way off course.

Even when you’ve asked a sales person these questions on a previous occasion, their responses may well be different on this occasion especially if the context is different.

Your conversation

You will only get the deepest and most honest responses if you create a space that allows them to feel comfortable to reveal their inner and deepest thoughts.

There will be variances for how you approach each of your team but here are some pointers to ensure the conversation flows in a useful way.

  • Ensure you and they have plenty of time…you have no idea what’s inside them so you could be some time
  • Allow space afterwards for them to integrate what they have shared and for you to consider how you are going to support their onward journey
  • No distractions
  • Ensure you are in rapport before you start asking your questions
  • Frame it as an exploration and not an opportunity to fix
  • Ask your question then shut up and truly listen…all the info you need to uncover what’s really going on will be in their responses and you may not know the importance of each piece till you get further into the exploration
  • When they have responded to your question leave a few seconds of silence as they may be processing what they have just said, and the silence will both facilitate that and allow them to continue speaking
  • Do not lead them in any direction…this is an exploration so that they can uncover for themselves what actions will enable them to change their unhelpful habit
  • Allow them to express their emotions, especially tears if they come up

After the exploration

When a sales person gets an opportunity to explore in this way, they often discover for themselves what the next steps are to get them from their current behaviour to a more effective one.

Once the exploration reaches a point when your sales person has a sense of calmness and understanding, it’s time to ask them for their next steps.

Please, please, please do not suggest your tried and tested fixes as this will destroy everything you have just done during the exploration.

Get them to come up with their own solution whilst they are in this exploration as they will be able to come up with the perfect actions based on how their body is feeling in this moment.

Agree how you are going to support them if they want you to and a date to get together and review their progress. This step is vital.

Whilst they know the best next steps for them, they need to be accountable for them or it will be too easy to go back to what they already do as these are embedded unconscious behaviours. In the early days, a regular and quick check-in works best. Once the old habit appears to be losing it’s grip you can go to less frequent check-ins.

This may seem quite time consuming on first reading and it is initially but it’s massively quicker over time and is the surest way of changing negative or less effective behaviours. A side benefit is that your sales people start to do this for themselves resulting in them leading their own personal development.

Until next time,

Leigh 😊

PS If you want to discuss how to do this effectively with your team then please do get in touch!

Thanks Thong Vo for the great pic!

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