Communication is a key for any business or organization; in fact, it is probably the most important element in achieving success. As a salesperson, communication is even more vital, just because the entire job is based on your ability to communicate with others.
There are three communication techniques that sales managers should be focusing on, all are set up to accomplish the same goals. Those goals include: giving your sales team all the up to date information they need, making sure each individual is supported, and staying on top of ongoing training.
The Morning Huddle
All retail companies should hold a daily huddle. It’s a chance for the sales manager to keep in daily contact with their staff, stay on top of issues and give them all the daily information they need to do their job effectively.
If, for example, there is a new product on the floor, then this is the time to give your team the information they need. Some of the information might include what the product is, the price, benefits and so on. It also provides an opportunity for the sales team to ask any questions they may have about the new product. It should be noted that this brief introduction to a new product does not replace the research each salesperson should be doing on their own. It is just designed to provide an introduction and overview.
The morning huddle is also a good time for reminders such as sales or specials that are taking place, starting or ending. The huddle also provides the sales manager a chance to review the team goals and go over the progress towards achieving them. It’s a time to review various tasks that need to be completed on that day, who will be responsible for the tasks, and a timetable for getting them done.
The most important aspect of the morning huddle though is it gives the sales manager an opportunity to keep in touch with his/her staff. This is a great time for the sales manager to recognize the top performers from the previous day and week. There are two benefits to doing this. 1) It’s always good to publicly acknowledge people who do a good job. Whether people admit it or not, a pat on the back is motivating. 2) Seeing others get recognized for doing a good job will hopefully motivate them to do the same.
If there are issues that need your attention, then there’s a good chance the issues may come up here. People are more likely to bring up their concerns if they feel like their supervisor cares and is invested in their success. By keeping in touch with their staff daily, the sales manager is making sure that the lines of communication remain open.
The simplest but most important part of the morning huddle is team unity. Yes, sales are largely an individual sport, but support from the manager and fellow salespeople is important. The huddle may be the only time of the day where that feeling is present.
One on One Meetings with Each Individual
As we just noted, sales are mostly an individual career and every salesperson is different. They have different skills, strengths and weaknesses. The good sales manager is going to take the time necessary to get to know each of their salespeople and help them be the best they can be.
A big part of that is having scheduled, documented, weekly meetings with each of your salespeople to review goals, review the productivity statistics, provide coaching in areas that need improvement and give the salesperson a chance to address concerns they have in private. In addition, the one on ones also provide the opportunity to review techniques that will increase the salesperson productivity and statistics.
Every company and sales manager should have non-negotiable standards for their sales team. The one on ones are a great time to review them and to ensure that the standards are being met. If they are being met, then the discussion should revolve around how to maintain. If those standards are not being met, then a discussion needs to take place as to why the standards are not being met and what is going to be done to meet them.
These meetings should also be used to implement plans of correction when necessary and what the consequences will be if those corrections are not made.
Coaching is a big part of the job for a sales manager and this is where a lot of that takes place but it’s more than just the message. The message must be communicated in a way that it’s going to be heard by the salesperson. That’s why these individual sessions are vital. Not everyone is going to be motivated the same way. Some people need to hear the message in a calm and supportive tone, while others need a firmer tone. These sessions allow for the sales manager to address individual salespeople in a way that will set each of them up for success.
By touching base with each of your salespeople on a weekly basis, the sales manager is ensuring that small problems are addressed early and corrections are made quickly. The salesperson also may have some ideas on how to improve the customer experience and these meetings can provide the salesperson the opportunity to express their ideas.
Weekly Staff Meetings
Weekly meetings are a valuable tool in getting information to your team. These meetings should be limited to 30-40 minutes. What kind of information should be disseminated in these meetings?
Basically, there are four areas where people need training. 1) Sales Techniques 2) Product Knowledge 3) Operational Issues 4) Customer Service. As a sales manager, one of your jobs is to ensure that your salespeople have all the information they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability.
Weekly staff meetings also provide the opportunity to recognize salespeople who have recently accomplished something of note. It might be someone exceeding their weekly goals or maybe a new salesperson who made their first sale. Whatever the accomplishment, these meetings are a place for kudos.
It’s also important to track and review team and store sales goals, and a weekly staff meeting is the appropriate place to do that. Some of the questions that should be addressed: are we on track, if not why and how do we get back on track and who is responsible for what? Don’t be afraid as a sales manager to demand better and to expect demands to be met.
The final part of the weekly staff meeting is allowing your team to ask any questions or bring up any concerns that are relevant to everyone. This allows for brainstorming of a problem that everyone might be having and hopefully leads to solutions that will serve everyone. However, be careful not to shoot from the hip. If you are not prepared to discuss a topic, then put it on the agenda for a future date. You don’t want to say something you may regret later.
Communicating with your team will lead to increased sales and profits. If everyone from the sales manager to the newest salesperson on the team takes the necessary time to communicate, then everyone has a chance to be successful.