I recently read Stephen M.R. Covey’s book,The Speed of Trust. Not sure how I missed this one, however, it’s my new favorite. In his book, Stephen talks about three areas of trust: character, competence and commitment.
Now most of us have talked about the importance of character. We aspire to show good character in our roles as leaders. We look to hire salespeople that are honest. My ‘duh’ moments came when I delved into the other two areas related to trust discussed in his book: competence and commitment. Let’s take a closer look at competence and building trust with members of your sales team.
Sales managers are charged with leading the sales team. Salespeople watch the leader, like kids watch parents, to see if words and actions are congruent.
I have the good fortune of working with some of the best sales managers in the world. One of the key differences between great sales managers and average sales managers is competence.
For example, a key role for sales managers is training and coaching his/her sales team. If you can’t demonstrate high level selling skills, a salesperson isn’t going to ask you for advice. (It’s kind of like asking an out of shape person to be your personal trainer.) And since you can’t provide advice, the salesperson’s skills often remain average – like yours.
If you aren’t modeling emotion management, there’s a good chance that you are building a sales team that buckles every time adversity hits. Emotions are running the day rather than effective sales and communication skills. As a result, days are lost on the calendar recovering from set-backs rather than bouncing back.
Competent sales managers run good sales meetings. Are you showing up late, harried and unprepared for meetings? Or are you modeling the behavior you’d like your salespeople to demonstrate during sales meetings with prospects and customers such as:
- Pre-meeting planning – what questions and answers do you need to prepare?
- Purpose and objective – do you have defined agenda or is this a ‘wing-it’ meeting?
- Listening – are you telling or gathering information from your sales team?
Competent sales managers earn trust and develop sales teams that are open to following their advice and guidance. Trust really does accelerate the speed of sales results. Stay tuned for Part II.
Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership, Inc. Colleen and her firm offer a fresh approach to sales and sales management training. SalesLeadership integrates emotional intelligence skills with consultative selling skills.