The best sales manager I ever had.
I would have walked through walls and fire for Steve. When I worked in economic development I had the privilege of working with the best sales manager I ever had. He was seasoned, polished, and expected results.
Steve knew how to get the best out of me while softening some of my sharp edges.
Two traits I particularly appreciated most about Steve:
- He was the real deal. Steve had "been-there-done-that" and what he didn't know, he would improvise and no one else would know it.
- He was candid. I always knew where I stood with Steve - both good and not-so-good. He provided frequent feedback and never sugar-coated it.
Candor is difficult.
In our world of increasing political correctness where everyone has unlimited potential and everyone is absolutely amazing, candor is difficult. I believe the huge push on employee engagement is also making otherwise good sales managers fearful of providing candid feedback.
Jack Welch best described what the lack of candor does in his powerful book, "Winning".
"Lack of candor basically blocks smart ideas, fast action, and good people contributing all the stuff they've got. It's a killer."
Lack of candor is indeed a killer.
Why you must have candor in your sales team.
As Jack Welch has written, candor gets more people in the conversation and generates speed. The benefits are obvious. Assuming you have hired the best salespeople in the first place, candor is essential to get the most out of each salesperson.
Maximizing sales is all about speed. The faster you adjust strategy with a particular Prospect or Client, the better you can help them and yourself. The more quickly you help enhance a sales team member adapt their sales performance, the better off you will both be.
Time is precious and candor saves time.
331's bake candor into your sales management through structured feedback loops.
If you "bake" candor into your sales management through structured feedback loops, you create a means that cuts through conflict avoidance.
The way to do so is to set periodic feedback loops called "331s". The 331is a monthly or twice monthly dialogue to create dialogue around the following:
- Three things that are going well.
- Three things that are not going well.
- One thing I need help with.
Other than hiring the best salespeople in the first place, this is a no-brainer. Download the template following, customize it to your situation, and get started.