At EcSell Institute, we are constantly focused on learning more about the activities sales managers should be doing to better lead, coach and manage their reps. Our members are facing numerous competing priorities, so figuring out which sales management activities have the biggest impact on the performance of their sales teams is essential. To this end, we have been examining our Through the Eyes of the Rep survey results to understand the management activities with the highest correlation to reps’ motivation to sell more.
In examining correlations to increased sales rep motivation, we found three sales management activities with the biggest impact: (1) effective one-to-one meetings between reps and their managers, (2) managers’ coaching of their reps’ selling skills, and (3) managers helping their reps reach their career goals. In addition to these three sales management activities, we also found another important and surprisingly simple thing that sales managers can do to increase the motivation of their sales reps: listen to them. Listen to their ideas. Listen to their concerns. Listen to their goals. Listen to their input. Just listen.
Now of course, listening isn’t the only thing for you to do. Depending on what you’re rep is
saying, there may very well be things you need to take action on in follow-up. But listening is always the starting point and sometimes it’s the ending point too. Sometimes it’s just important for a rep to feel heard and to know that their opinions or feelings are valued. Even if you need to follow-up on an issue, you can only understand the real issue to address when you take the time to listen first. Just like we coach our reps when dealing with a customer issue, the simple act of listening can make a huge difference.
So, next time your rep calls you or steps inside your office, take the time to listen. Put down your smart phone. Turn away from the computer screen. Don’t answer that phone
call. Spend a few minutes and listen. You may be doing the most important thing you will do that day to motivate that rep to sell more.