Gifts were given and received during the Christmas/holiday season. We exchanged thank-yous, smiles and hugs. But there is one gift most of us didn’t get or give. It’s the best one of all and it’s free! That is the gift of feedback.
Feedback is described as giving information to an individual about past behavior in order to adjust future behavior. Sounds pretty simple, right? And who wouldn’t want to hear information about how to improve results, especially in the sales profession? Sorry to say, it’s fewer people than you think.
Apply the emotional intelligence skill of reality testing. How many of us consistently seek out feedback rather than wait to receive it? And when we do receive well-intended feedback, we default to denial, blame or excuses. Rejecting feedback is generally because of a fragile or big ego. Let’s look at both.
Fragile ego. This is the salesperson that hasn’t learned to separate her WHO from her DO. She hears feedback and immediately takes it personally, feeling it’s an attack on her character, WHO she is. Apply the emotional intelligence skill of reality testing -- and the reality is that most feedback sales managers give is on the salesperson’s role performance, what she DOES for a living, such as selling skills and sales activity.
The fragile ego, one that confuses the WHO with the DO, gets defensive upon hearing feedback and resorts to excuses and blame. She can’t hear the feedback and therefore, doesn’t make the necessary changes needed for success. So she is bound to repeat the same selling mistakes over and over.
Big ego. This is the salesperson that has enjoyed big success and adopted a big ego. When hearing feedback, he doesn’t get defensive; instead, he moves into denial. He listens to feedback while silently thinking, “Listen pal, I’ve been a top producer for 10 years and I know what works.” His excessive ego shuts down feedback conversations, and starts leading him down the path of status quo and good enough. Now, this response is OK, as long as your biggest competitor has adopted the same attitude!
This year, ask for the one gift you can’t order online. Ask for the gift of feedback from your peers, bosses and clients. It’s free and it’s the gift that keeps on giving.