This time of the year is when people reflect on the good things in their lives. Companies should do the same.
An appreciative sales culture will make a company more productive and profitable. The problem is most companies would rather throw dollars at complex strategies and plans, instead of executing the simple strategy of showing appreciation to co-workers, vendors, customers and colleagues.
Research shows that employees and customers don't leave over compensation or price. They leave because they don't feel appreciated and valued. Grow your bottom line by saying two simple words over and over: Thank you.
Here are some folks who deserve the first set of thanks.
- Internal customers -- The average salesperson understands the value of attending external networking events. Great salespeople understand that the most important networking takes place in their own back yard.
Salespeople are in the spotlight because of the revenue they generate for the company. However, everyone knows it takes the entire company, working together, to attract and keep good clients.
How well does your sales team know the other members of the team who work hard to get deals done, billed, built or programmed?
Do your sales team members know if their colleagues have kids, hobbies or pets?
Do they know the unique challenges of their peers' jobs?
It might just be time to book lunch with your internal customers, your co-workers.
During lunch, make it a point to tell your co-workers how important their contribution is to your success. Share the praise you get from customers with your co-workers, and let them know that no praise is earned without them or their department executing.
It's a simple formula: When people feel a part of the big picture, they work harder to make the big picture happen.
- Vendors -- We've all worked with a great vendor who jumps through hoops, gives great service and returns phone calls at odd hours of the day or night.
Instead of negotiating for a lower price, set a meeting with your best vendor simply to tell them what an integral part they play in your company's success.
Appreciation is the foundation of inspiration, and a few words of praise inspire even higher levels of customer service.
When there are five priorities sitting on your vendor's plate, which customer's priority will get moved to the top? You can bet it's the one who said two simple words: Thank you.
- Sales manager -- Yes, go find your boss and thank them for being a pain in the neck and making you stretch and think. Thank your boss for helping you set goals and holding you accountable to them so you can realize your full potential.
It's a funny thing -- salespeople reaching their potential are generally hitting sales quotas, making more money for themselves and the company. As the great Tom Landry once said, "Leadership is getting someone to do what they don't want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve."
- Salesperson -- Now sales managers, go find your silent, stellar salesperson. This is the salesperson who consistently hits quota, plays well with others and doesn't demand a lot of attention.
During your next coaching session, don't talk numbers, goals or quota. Talk only appreciation. Thank this salesperson for making your job easy, rewarding and fun. Thank them for making you look good. Thank them for one less gray hair on your head.
- Customers -- Where would you be without them? Touch base with your best clients to share one thing; how much you appreciate and value their business. Thank those clients who buy on value, not price, and who still appreciate expertise and relationships.
- Mentors -- Has a CEO or sales manager ever spotted your potential underneath layers of inexperience or no finesse? Or how about the veteran salesperson who gave up personal time to give you advice and guidance?
Practice your penmanship and drop a note of thanks to the people who have helped you on your professional journey. Then pay it forward.
Take the new salesperson to lunch and share everything you know about successful selling. It's not rocket science. If everyone on the sales team is achieving their goal, it means the company is making money, gaining market share and able to invest in future growth.
Next time you meet with your sales team, instead of teaching a closing technique, teach them how to say "thank you." These two simple words inspire, build relationships and grow revenue.
About the Author
Colleen Stanley is founder and president of SalesLeadership Inc., a sales development firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, consultative sales training, emotional intelligence training. and leadership training for sales managers. She is the author of Growing Great Sales Teams and Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success. Reach Colleen at 303-708-1128 or visit www.salesleadershipdevelopment.com.
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