The number one way to improve self-awareness is to slow down. Carve out downtime, preferably in the morning before you check your smart phone. Yes, your emails can wait. You aren’t that important. Sorry. In the stillness, you’ll gain clarity of thought. A cluttered mind is not a clear mind, and you need a clear mind to be an effective leader. In the quiet, you can ask yourself the reflective questions:
- Was I fully present in all my conversations or am I really getting good at being half-present?
- Did I pay more attention to my smart phone than my smart salesperson?
- When I gave coaching advice, did I do a product dump on the salesperson on what to do, instead of really trying to understand why the salesperson isn’t doing what he is supposed to do?
- Did I treat my salesperson with the same respect as I would my top client?
Empathy – Most sales managers actually possess a good deal of empathy, which is the ability to step into another person’s shoes. It’s the ability to know AND care about what another human being is thinking or feeling. The question I always ask my clients is: How can you possibly influence another human being if you don’t know what they are thinking or feeling?
But sales managers often forget to demonstrate this EQ skill during coaching conversations. Their intention is good, but their approach is way off. They tend to give advice before they give empathy.
Let me give you an example of an empathy miss during a sales coaching conversation. Jennifer has been working on an opportunity for nine months. She’s done a great job of meeting with all the buying influences, building relationships and providing thoughtful recommendations to the prospect. Then, out of the blue, a new decision maker joins the prospect’s organization.
This decision maker has previous relationships that he wants to bring in and be considered for this opportunity.
If you are like me, my typical response is defaulting to the mechanics of sales management. “Well, let’s strategize on how we can gain access to this new buyer. Let’s brainstorm on how we can leverage our existing relationships so we can still land this deal.” We are great at dispensing advice and solutions.
The empathetic sales manager may tune into his burning desire to solve the sales problem. With increased awareness, he chooses a different response. He slows down and thinks about the salesperson’s perspective, what is he or she thinking or feeling. And right now, that salesperson isn’t feeling that good. “That is a bummer. You’ve worked so hard on this opportunity and now I’m guessing you feel like you’re back to square one. And on top of that, you’re probably wondering what you need to do to replace that piece of business that you thought was going to close this month.” PAUSE.
Sales managers, salespeople can’t hear your great advice until they know that you’ve heard them.
“Salespeople can’t hear your great advice until they know that you’ve heard them.”