You may think you know what sales staff want (more money / better commission, right?), but until you’ve listened to them, and I mean really listened, then you’re probably wrong.
Sales people are at the coalface – talking with customers, understanding needs, seeing what works, and more importantly, seeing what doesn’t. Why wouldn’t you want to listen to what they have to say?
Yes, it might seem like opening a can of worms, but it’ll be worth it. Even Richard Branson credits listening as one of the main factors behind the success of Virgin.
It will also help you to be clear on the issues they face.
Contrary to what some people may think, sitting at a desk answering the phone all day is far from easy. In how many other jobs would listening to 30 seconds of M People’s “Search For the Hero” whilst holding for another department actually constitute a highlight?!
Even Olympic-sized Little Chef breakfasts and the fact that no two days are ever the same eventually loses its sheen for travelling sales people.
But getting to the heart of the problem can be a task in itself. You’ll need to navigate politics and self-interest to get to the key issues that need to be resolved to move forward.
But by working together to uncover the issues, both teams then feel more inclined to work together on delivering the solutions.
There are several simple tools available to you:
- Undertake polls to get a quick and accurate measure of the team’s pulse
- Conduct strategically planned and structured opinion surveys for unadulterated attitudes, comments and feedback
- Set up a suggestions centre for sales people to regularly share their thoughts and opinions
- Hold individual one-on-one interviews with sales people (not just the good ones) to garner a range of in-depth views across the spectrum
- Listen in to customer calls and attend customer meetings to get a real sense of the barriers they face which you can help them overcome
You’d be surprised at how the simple act of making them feel heard (and demonstrating how you’re acting on their feedback) can win them over.
And of course, a tool like Sales Staff App can help you execute a number of the elements above, helping you all see eye to eye even when you can’t be face to face.