Being the most visible and responsible for a team’s effectiveness can be a daunting new responsibility, even when you know the team or business well. As a salesperson, you win through your direct activities with customers. As a manager, however, you need to step outside any desire to assist your team in increasing sales directly. You need to take an indirect approach to improve sales with team development, mentorship, and team intelligence, just like a CEO.
Asking Questions is something the WYE Team values so highly we made it one of our core business values. It’s a skill that influences everything we do and teach.
As a manager, asking the right questions will give you incredible insight into your team and their unique knowledge base about company processes, its customers, and the organisation as a whole. Learning to ask the right questions at the right time is an invaluable life skill everyone can master. Partner it up with active listening for an extraordinary ROI.
Here’s an article we wrote on the art of asking questions. We wrote it for builders and business owners in construction but it translates well across any industry.
We cannot recommend enough finding a great mentor or coach to take your career or business to the next level. All the successful people do it. Equally, taking on the role of a mentor for members of your team will yield rewarding results.
There was a great article in Fast Company magazine a while back interviewing the former CEO of Target, Gregg Steinhafel, a big believer in the power of coaching and feedback to motivate a team. At the time they had invested in companywide team building projects that included one-on-one mentoring and studies.
Improving ourselves in any way we can makes us happier and more satisfied and sharing your knowledge with others makes us smarter. It helps us retain and implement new skills. It’s called The Protégé Effect and you can read more about that here.
So rather than looking behind to see who is competing for your job, take them up on your journey with you. Share your knowledge and encourage learning and development whether that be a quick lunch break session in telephone skills or a book recommendation. Then encourage that learner to pass it on, be the mentor.
Everyone benefits from education, getting it and sharing it.
Remember nothing really works well the first time but as Jeff Olson of The Slight Edge says “you just need to stay in the process long enough to give it a chance to win”.
So keep asking questions, getting insights, learning and sharing your knowledge. And cheer on your team when they try a new process or skill. So what if the first time takes an hour rather than 20 minutes. So what if they are not as experienced a salesperson as you, give them the chance to be. Let others take the lead with clients, especially with regards to closing sales.
Then explore what was great and can be done better together. Give them the chance to win.