As a sales manager, how can you do more teaching and less telling?
It’s not uncommon for salespeople to get frustrated when the only thing they hear from their sales manager is that they need to have more activity, increase the number of asks they have, and boost the dollar amount of the asks they have. Salespeople know this. They want to be taught how to do that. They want training and teaching, and not just telling.
1. Meeting Preparation
You should have something laid out—possibly in your onboarding —that teaches salespeople exactly how you want them to prepare for a discovery meeting. You could provide a blueprint of the organization or give them the names and job titles of all the people in the room, and have them look up these people on LinkedIn prior to the meeting. Whatever it is, it should be something that isn’t guesswork; it should be something organized. Prepping for the meeting is important.
2. Taking Notes
Some people just don’t know how to take notes, or think they have an incredible memory and can remember everything discussed in the meeting. Sales managers really should encourage their sales team to take notes during meetings.
At The Center for Sales Strategy, we recommend drawing a line down the center of a sheet of paper. On one side, write the notes and the interesting things that are discussed in the meeting. On the other side, write down the needs, desired business results, and opportunities. Sales managers should teach their teams how to do this.
I go on a lot of sales calls, and too often, salespeople are so concerned with asking the next question that they don’t listen and they don’t pay attention to the conversation. It’s a missed opportunity. So, one way to teach active listening is in a sales meeting, read or share a success story of a client and give as many details as possible. At the end of this 3-5 minute story, stop and ask someone to repeat back, in 30 seconds or less, what they heard you say, and include as many details as possible. It’s a great way to teach active listening.
To recap, there are three things you can teach your sales team:
- How to prep for the meeting
- How to take notes during the meeting
- How to actively listen during the meeting
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” —Benjamin Franklin