It’s Monday morning and Jennifer in Sales Management needs to provide feedback about sales performance and attitude to Joe, a team member. She dreads having this conversation because Joe is a drama king. He takes all feedback personally and usually responds with blame and excuses. Joe is what I call an “eggshell salesperson.” He cracks any time he receives feedback on his job performance.
Jennifer decides she just can’t deal with Joe on a Monday and reschedules the meeting for Wednesday.
Wednesday rolls around and Jennifer’s schedule is getting tight with unexpected meetings. She realizes she doesn’t have the time needed to deal with Joe. So she puts off the feedback meeting again, hoping that Joe will magically improve his attitude and sales performance.
So Joe doesn’t receive feedback. As a result, he leads a comfortable life and continues to produce status quo sales results, which creates a status quo sales culture.
What can sales managers do to prevent and eliminate drama sales cultures?
- Hire salespeople with high self-regard. They have inner confidence that allows them to admit strengths and weaknesses. High-self-regard salespeople own the outcome of their actions and choices. When you give them feedback, they embrace it because they know it’s about their job performance, not their worthiness.
- Improve your emotional self-awareness. Determine why you are reluctant to give feedback. Are you concerned the salesperson is going to leave the organization, leaving you with a gaping territory to fill? Is your need to be liked getting in the way of your need to be respected and lead? Are you conflict-avoidant?
- Improve your sales-management skills. Once you’ve identified the real reason you are not giving feedback, work on the hard skills of communication. Giving feedback is like any skill — it must be learned and practiced. Use the ICP approach.
I – Intent. When giving feedback, start by stating your intent. Remind the salesperson that the reason for giving feedback is because you know and believe this information will help your salesperson to be more successful.
C – Concern. Next, state your concern that the feedback won’t be received in the spirit in which it is being given. It’s important to remind people of that instead of assuming they will know your intent and concern.
P – Permission. Ask permission to give the feedback. When the salesperson grants it, they feel in control, which lowers stress and defensiveness.
Eliminate sales drama by hiring salespeople with high self-regard. Learn how to give feedback so that the receiver can accept it, which enables the right sales coaching conversations to happen.
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