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3 Things Leaders Do To Hurt Sales Rep Relationships

Sometimes, there are 3 things leaders do to hurt sales rep relationships and most times, they do it unintentionally. This is especially hard because sales leaders and sales reps spend a lot of time together. A bad leader can negatively affect how a sales rep makes his sell. While a good leader helps how sales reps can improve their sales. 

Marc Levine founded his ImprovMySales business four years ago. The company is dedicated to creating wonderful and profitable places to work. Before this business venture, Marc was part of a sales team as a national account executive and technology and professional services. For the last 16 years, he has been developing leaders and teams, teaching people communication skills, selling services to certain companies including Citibank, Prudential, and Best Buy.  

3 Things leaders do to hurt sales relationships

There are probably more, but let’s focus on just the three things for now. 

  • A leader does not create a psychologically safe environment
  • The leader forgets about humanity 
  • The leader is emotionally unintelligent

August has been a leadership month and people have been talking about the important things to become a good sales leader. This involves setting a vision and becoming a good coach. It’s about creating a culture where sales reps can thrive and succeed. 

When a leader fails to create that safe environment, the sales relationship takes a hit. 

By definition, psychological safety was a term coined by the social psychologist, Amy Edmonson. Google did a two-year study and analyzed the qualities of its most effective teams. The results of the study have shown that teams promoting psychological safety produced better revenues and their team members stayed in the work longer than others. Psychological safety is a team norm that says it’s safe to take risks, to be vulnerable, to ask for help, and to disagree with the rest of the team. 

When you do, you won’t be ostracized for disagreeing but instead, you’ll be honored and validated. 

An environment where sales leaders can thrive

As a parent, when your kid doesn’t understand something, you want your kid to feel safe to come to you and ask for help without getting embarrassed. The same is true in sales. As a leader, you need to develop a team where your members can be honest and can come forward when they don’t understand something. 

You want your team members to come to you about their problems early on in the sales cycle rather than at the end of it where the deal is falling apart. This is the essence of psychological safety. 

It’s an environment where people can ask for help, be vulnerable, take risks, and be supported 

Create a psychologically safe environment 

This doesn’t happen overnight. It happens when your sales reps come to you asking for help and instead of reacting, you validate and support them. Do it a couple of times for the team members to realize that you want to help them. 

Sales leaders also need to stop blaming the team members. Blame and accountability are two different things. 

Blaming makes the blamed feel bad and threatened. It’s when sales leaders bombard the reps with questions like: 

  • Why didn’t you hit the quota last month?
  • Why did you lose that sale?
  • Why aren’t you doing this?

These questions foster negativity. Accountability helps you raise the team’s standard without making the reps feel bad. It’s more like saying, “Hey you didn’t hit your quota last month and I know you're disappointed. Let’s talk about what happened that may have contributed to this and let’s figure out the solutions.” Build an environment where your members can be comfortable in having a dialogue. 

As a sales leader, you also need to admit your own mistakes. Research shows that when you admit your mistakes, the people around you will come close and will open up about theirs as well. 

There’s power in vulnerability and when you use that power, you will see your sales team come closer and open up to you. 

Leaders forget about humanity 

The next in the list of the 3 things leaders do to hurt sales relationships is forgetting about humanity. 

Salespeople are like stand-up comedians. We go out there showing confidence knowing that we’re going to be rejected. We are a fragile group. When sales leaders remember the humanity of the people on their team, the members tend to go above and beyond. The members put in incremental efforts. 

Sales leaders also need to stop making the team members like little versions of themselves. Every member is unique with their own set of skills and strengths. Forcing things that you do well onto them will make them feel resentful. Instead, honor their strength. Validate the things that they do well to make them feel excited and engaged. Make them feel heard and understood. 

Remember that you are working with human beings who have hopes and fears. and get scared. Honor that part of them. 

Build strong relationships with your sales team

Sales leaders need to build strong relationships with their team and practice emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman wrote in his book Working with Emotional Intelligence that people with emotional intelligence are more successful in their careers than those who are just relying on pure intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and regulate your own feelings to understand and empathize with the feelings of others. As a sales leader, you need to be aware of your emotional triggers to be able to manage them. If you fail to develop that, you can easily be overtaken  by your emotional triggers and start to judge your team. 

Sales is an emotional game and there are many opportunities where sales reps and leaders get triggered. #SalesFacts

These triggers tend to show up again and again and these are no surprises. 

Some examples are:

  • When someone didn’t hit the quota
  • When someone’s not adapting to the new technology
  • When someone’s not putting something into the CRM

So, list your triggers and think of all the situations and the people that trigger the fight, flight, or freeze responses.  

The sales team and all its members are the backbones of an organization. We want them to feel empowered and we can’t make that happen if we don’t provide them an environment where they can thrive and if we keep blaming them. Have conversations with them and make them feel good so that they'd want to produce for you. 

“3 Things Leaders Do To Hurt Sales Relationships” episode resources

Connect with Marc at improvmysales.com or reach him at (718) 637-7890. 

If you like this episode, don’t be shy and give us a thumbs up and rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. We produce podcasts weekly so make sure to subscribe to get more of these sales talks that matter! Share this with your friends and teach them how to subscribe as well. 

This episode is brought to you in-part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a helpful guide for sales reps and sales leaders to improve their pitches and presentations. It has 12 courses and you can get the first two modules for free! If you want to take your sales to the next level, then I recommend that you join us with our group coaching. 

If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register! 

If you’re a reader who loves reading and listening to books, you can also check out Audible as well and explore this huge online library with thousands of books. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Direct download: TSE_1181.mp3
Category:Sales Leaders -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

While proper mindset is important, the actions high-growth coaches use to motivate their teams allow those teams to succeed in sales.

Sarah Wirth works for EcSell Institute and studies sales leadership. Along with her team, they look at the coaches in the organizations they work with knowing that great coaches help teams to achieve better results. 

Sarah travels the globe studying different teams and applying the best practices they can teach to sales leaders. Their research-based teachings on best practices are grounded in fact rather than opinion. 

Misconceptions about coaching 

One of the common misconceptions about coaching relates to the timing of team meetings or sales coaching. Most sales leaders do team meetings weekly thinking that getting everyone together via phone makes the team effective. Based on the study, however, the best sales leaders have their meetings once a month rather than once a week. The monthly meeting is much more interactive and educational than the weekly kind of communication. 

Sales reps want an interactive educational team meeting where they can hear what the other departments are doing. They also want to hear and learn the best practices used by others in the company. They don’t want to sit and hear all the updates of what’s going on, because those things can be sent and read via mail. 

Instead, sales reps want a certain level of engagement and content to share during meetings. This content is difficult to achieve when you meet every single week. A longer time frame gives birth to more stories and more experiences to share, which results in meaningful and substantive conversations where everyone on the team learns things. 

Learning from experience 

Sellers like to learn the best practices, so they listen to podcasts. They want to learn from people from different fields who bring radical and neat insights that they’re not aware of. 

The interviews and surveys of salespeople reveal that they don’t want to hear the biggest deals. Instead, they want to hear how to get big deals. They want answers to the objections they encounter and tips to make presentations that help them win deals. They want to hear and learn the stories of how others became successful. 

It’s more of knowing what they did and how they did it. 

Salespeople want to be the best version of themselves. They aren’t into sales because of charity. They are in sales because they want to help their families and their clients. 

Most sales leaders are promoted to their position because they were good salespeople. They go from the bottom to the top without getting any formal training, education, and information on how to become good sales leaders. They learn from experience, and that’s why they become successful. Unfortunately, they don’t know how to transfer all these learnings to their peers so their team can be successful and achieve better sales. 

Motivate the team

There are three actions high-growth sales coaches use to motivate their team

  • Team meetings done in the right frequency and format
  • One-on-one meetings with each of the team members
  • Feedback on what they’re doing well and what they can improve

These three are effective ways to help salespeople grow and improve their skills. 

One-on-one meetings 

One-on-one weekly meetings with each team member are as effective as doing one-on-one meetings every other week. Aside from the frequency, it is also important to follow a consistent structure. 

The best sales leaders start their meetings with personal updates in the life of the salesperson they are talking to. They talk about how their family is doing, and if they’re working from home, sales leaders ask for updates on their projects. Sales leaders spend a few minutes connecting with their team members as people. They show that they care not only as a sales producer but also as a person. 

The coaching and mentoring from one-on-one meetings change a salesperson’s motivation and attitude towards his work. It ignites a fire in him that helps the team meet its sales goals. Even books can’t do this because no matter how good the contents of the books are, the pages can’t hear their ideas or challenge them with questions. There is no substitute for talking through what’s going on in their sales territory or getting their input on the strategies that they’re pursuing. 

Asking imploring questions during one-on-one meetings breeds in-depth conversations that are helpful for both parties to grow. 

Do one-on-one meetings with your salespeople either weekly or bi-weekly depending on what works best for your team. 

Give feedback 

Give your team members feedback on their selling skills regularly. After successfully closing an important deal with your salespeople, debrief them, and discuss what you saw in their selling skills. Talk about what aspect they did well in the presentation and point out the things they can improve. 

There is no better time to improve your team’s skills than seeing its members in action. When you see them do what they do best, you can talk conceptually around them. You can coach them on how to answer objections and even do roleplays to address different situations. 

When you travel with your salespeople and see them in selling situations, you also learn how they interact with their customers, build rapport, present information, answer questions, direct conversations, and figure out the needs of the customers. You have the first-hand experience and you’ll know how to assess them on the things they’re doing well and how they can improve. 

This is also a great opportunity for the salespeople to receive coaching from their leaders. They can see the things they need to work on from your perspective. This is beneficial for them and for the business. 

Your team members may have the tendency of reporting only the good things that went down on a deal, excluding the challenges and how they addressed them. They may tweak the information they give you. When you are with them, you get to see them and give them the corrections and guidance they need. Sales leaders can also point out the effective things their salespeople did during the sales call. They can then repeat what they did in their future deals. 

Career discussion 

Career discussion is critical to a salesperson’s motivation as well as his career longevity on the team. Many sales leaders shy away from doing this because they don’t have specific paths for their salespeople. 

There often isn’t a specific role that salespeople can be promoted to. Sometimes, salespeople don’t have goals other than being individual performers. They like to be in sales and not in other roles such as managers. 

Based on research, a salesperson tends to make progress toward his career development goals and stay with the organization longer if the manager helps him make progress. Aside from that, salespeople tend to be motivated when they receive help from their superiors. 

Management often doesn’t talk about things like this to its employees, causing them to feel stuck in whatever position they are in. It kills their motivation to achieve more in their careers. 

Ask your salespeople how they feel about their careers or what they potentially want to do. You can’t assume that they’re doing okay; instead, draw the answers from them. Sarah Wirth and Bill Ekstrom’s book The Coaching Effect was the result of a career development discussion that Sarah did with him. He asked Sarah about her longterm big picture goals and she said that she’d like to write a book. It wasn’t anything serious for her at that moment. It was merely an idea. Fast forward to when they started really doing it and it happened. 

Go outside your comfort zone 

Another effective action that sales leaders can do is to get their team members outside their comfort zones. 

Help your sellers be comfortable with discomfort. If you can get them outside of their comfort zones, they’re more likely to learn, grow, and develop. #SalesTeam

Most of us want to be on the safe side and gravitate toward what we know but this is not helpful if we want to grow. The same is true for your team members. New roles or situations force your team members to learn, grow, and get better in order to handle the new challenges. Get your team members outside their comfort zones on a regular basis, especially if you see them starting to stagnate and get comfortable in their roles. 

The Actions High-Growth Coaches Use To Motivate Their Teams” episode resources

Learn more about connecting with your salespeople today. Visit Ecsell Institute's website to learn more.  

If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register! 

You can also read more books to become a savvy salesperson and sales leader in Audible, your online library that houses over a thousand books. Register now to get a free book and a free 30-day trial by typing in audibletrial.com/tse

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program, designed to help sales reps and sales teams improve their skills in finding the right customers, identifying the activities and strategies that work, and asking the right questions to build strong value and close business deals. Get the first two courses for free at thesalesvengelist.com/freecourse

Which of the three actions have you tried in your team? Tell us about it in the comment section in Apple podcast. Your rating is equally appreciated, too. Share this with your colleagues who are using other podcast platforms as well including Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Direct download: TSE_1158.mp3
Category:Sales Leaders -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Your company continues to grow and you need leaders to guide your team, so you’re considering the question, “When should I promote someone?

 

Because of your company’s growth, you need leaders and you need managers. So who should you promote? What do you look for in the people who will lead your teams? What characteristics or habits should they possess? 

Developing leaders

Even if your business isn’t growing at breakneck speed, you may need to focus on developing people who can lead when the time comes. The last thing you want to do is keep people in the same position for long periods of time without any opportunity for growth. They’ll get tired and burn out, and then they’ll look elsewhere for growth opportunities. Make sure you’re always looking for ways to create and develop leaders internally. 

The qualities necessary for leaders in your industry may differ from those of other segments, but for sellers in general, the following guidelines offer a good start for identifying potential leaders. 

Seller doesn’t equal leader

Your employee might be a spectacular seller, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to leadership. Furthermore, if you have a particularly gifted seller on your team, you may not want to remove him from that sales role. 

It’s tempting to believe that your best closer can become a sales leader and train all your other sellers to close as effectively as he does. And it might be true that he can. But it might also be true that he loves selling and he doesn’t want to spend his time conducting one-on-ones or creating reports. 

If your team members aren’t interested in leading, don’t force them. Let your sellers do what they do best for your company.

Look for these traits as you ponder when to promote someone.

  1. Sellers who want to lead

When you begin your search, look for sellers who actually want to lead. If one of your team members talks frequently about leading or climbing the corporate ladder, consider giving him the opportunity to do it. If he is ambitious and goal-oriented, he might be just the leader you’re looking for. 

I recently met with a BDR that a client of mine hired, and the guy was passionate about his work. He strives to go above and beyond the call of duty, and he wants to work his way into a leadership role. He wants to contribute to the organization, but he isn’t power-hungry. He understands that great leaders don’t threaten the people above them because they aren’t competing to take their jobs. 

Prepare your replacements as you consider other opportunities you’ll compete for. 

In every leadership role, consider who could replace you in your position, and then ask yourself how you can develop that person. #SalesLeaders

  1. Sellers with a proven track record

Desire isn’t enough to be a successful seller. You must also have good results behind your name. 

You’ll note that I said above that you should not necessarily remove your top seller to turn him into a sales leader. The exception is when that seller is the best candidate for the job and when she wants to do the job. 

Recognize, too, that a top performer won’t necessarily be the only team member with amazing results. Consider the top five sellers on your team and then decide whether any of them possess leadership potential. 

Consider whether they have any desire to train other sellers, and take note of a “lone wolf” mentality that suggests they don’t want to share with others. Make it your goal to develop a nurturing leadership approach in which team members help one another. 

  1. Sellers who don’t volunteer to lead

Keep in mind that some sellers may not volunteer to lead, but that shouldn’t necessarily exclude them from consideration. If they have the framework, the talents, and the characteristics of a great leader, challenge them to step out of their comfort zone. 

In the book Sales Management. Simplified, Mike Weinberg recalls a CEO who believed it was his responsibility to stretch people like a rubber band: to the edge of their capabilities without breaking them. 

They may not recognize their own capabilities, but your job is to help them see what they are capable of. 

  1. Sellers who are problem-solvers

Too often, sellers fall into the trap of complaining about their work situations. Instead of looking for ways to improve things, they look for mistakes. That negative outlook shows in their results.

Look for sellers who are problem-solvers as you seek people to promote. Typically, they’ll be your best sellers because they make it a practice to solve problems for customers. If you find a seller like this among your team members and promote him, he’ll set an example of problem-solving for the rest of the team. 

You’ll have less to worry about because they’ll solve the problems before they get to you. Surround yourself with leaders who can think for you and take care of things so you can focus on other issues. 

  1. Sellers who are willing to work

Your leaders must be willing to work hard. This doesn’t mean that they work 18-hour days, because it’s very possible to do great work in less time. Instead, you want leaders who can plan and accomplish things. 

Watch for the people on your team who show up for work early or who listen to podcasts to learn more. Be aware of the people on your team who dedicate time and effort to develop themselves. 

This isn’t about developing a culture of staying late every day, but rather a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. For me, I’m a family guy, and Mondays and Fridays are my family days during the week. If I need to stay late, I’ll make it happen around those commitments. 

  1. Sellers who are developing themselves

As a bonus, look for people on your team who are investing in themselves. Find those people who are reading books or seeking events to further their training or signing up for webinars that will help them improve their skill set. 

If your team members are seeking to improve without you telling them to, you’re well on your way to finding an amazing leader. 

Help your team members get to the next level and transition into roles that challenge them. 

When should I promote someone? episode resources

If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register! 

You can also connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com or try our first module of  TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free. This episode has been made possible with the help of  TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a training course designed to help sellers in improving their performance. We want you guys to go out each and every single day to find more ideal customers and do big things.

I hope you like and learned many things from this episode. If you did, please review us and give us a five-star rating on Apple podcast or in any platform you’re using - Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify.  You can also share this with your friends and colleagues. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Direct download: TSE_1155.mp3
Category:Sales Leaders -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

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