Feedback is essential to any team’s success and more so for the sales team. Without feedback, the team continues doing the same act over and over again and wishfully expects different results.
Giving feedback is not an easy task, and most of the sales managers are not good at it. From my experience of building large teams and helping a number of entrepreneurs in structuring sales processes to drive revenue, here are quick pointers on how to give feedback to your sales team.
While giving feedback to the sales team, relate, as objectively as possible to what you saw the other person do or what you heard him say. Give specific examples from recent past; avoid giving feedback, which is dated, as it would lead to disagreement.
Avoid using labels
Be clear, specific and unambiguous. Words like immature, unprofessional, irresponsible and prejudiced are labels we attach to sets of behaviour. While giving feedback, describe the behaviour, but avoid labelling them. For example, you could say, ” You missed the deadline we had all agreed to meet” rather than saying “You are irresponsible and I want to know what are you going to do about it?’
While giving feedback to your sales team, it’s best not to exaggerate things, saying, ” You are always late for deadlines” may not be true and hence will be seen as unfair. By exaggerating, you invite the person receiving the feedback to start an argument rather than looking at the real issue.
Avoid being judgemental
By using words as good, bad, better, worst and should, you position yourself as a controlling parent. The usage of these control words, make the person receiving the feedback respond the way a child responds. Once the parent and child loop gets started, you end up in shutting the other person down and squander the opportunity to coach.
Avoid speaking for others
While giving feedback, avoid using references to people who are not present that point of time. For example, avoid making statements like ” A lot of people here don’t like it when you….”. You should avoid becoming a conduit for other people’s feedback; they need to deliver it themselves, instead of channelling it through you.
Avoid using the word “you”
By giving feedback to another person with statements that start with you, the defence gets triggered, and they are less likely to absorb what you are saying. Take a look at these four statements
- You are generally late for meetings
- You are always on time for meetings
- I feel annoyed when you are late for meetings
- I appreciate that you come to meetings on time
The first two statements convey a parent-child dialogue, and the other two express an adult/peer relationship. Even if you stand higher in the pecking order than the receiver of the feedback, strive to maintain an adult/peer relationship.
Avoid phrasing the issue as a question
By phrasing your feedback as a question, you are giving a signal to the respondent that they better change their behaviour. See the difference in these two statements
- When are you going to stop being late for the meetings?
- I don’t feel good when you are late for meetings.
The statement one tends to make people defensive and angry while the statement number two implies that there is an issue that must be resolved jointly.
I have used this mantra to give feedback to my sales team; my team has overachieved results over the years. In case you need help in pumping up your sales number, give me a shout and our sales Jedi will be at your service.