Strengthen Your Sales Results With Sensitivity (Part 2)

Strengthen Your Sales Results With Sensitivity (Part 2)

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​Heidi is president of a highly creative firm. This design company conceives and executes brilliant, visual ideas for their clients. With a team primarily made up of Millennials there’s a fast paced vibe.

​She agrees that it’s a challenge to mentor and coach Millennials, but, she says, as long as she provides very clear goals and feedback on how they’re doing, they’re a joy to work with.


However, if there’s any failure on the team or with any individual, she knows she needs to jump in quickly to encourage. Heidi is sensitive enough to notice that the less experienced members of her team take failure very personal.

In talking with Heidi, I realized that we, as experienced CEO’s and business leaders, need to flex our sensitivity muscle when we mentor our emerging sales leader.  But that’s not always a simple exercise. For some, Emotional IQ comes naturally. For others, like me, it something that we have to work on…and keep working on! For example, on my Strengths Finder, “empathy” is my lowest scoring item. I’m not completely devoid of it, but I know I have to spend time and energy on learning to listen with sensitivity!

Many successful CEOs, presidents and business owners are constantly working on it, just like I am.

SENSITIVITY is the third action step to help you develop Respecting Others as part of your Relationship Wiring. 

Our RESPECT acronym (react, encourage, sensitivity, politeness, extraordinary kindness, considerate, timeliness) is a useful guide to model respect and collaboration to your Millennial sales leader.

Here are the next 3 questions to ask your emerging sales leader to help him or her become more sensitive to the challenges that might be stalling their selling capabilities and strengths:

1.  Motivation – What REALLY motivates you at work and in your private life?

When you know the answer to this question, your communication and motivation with your next gen sales leader will be more effective. In a recent article, Dave Kurlan, CEO of Objective Management Group, discusses the dramatic changes that have taken place in sales motivation. For example, in 2007, 54% of the sales population was extrinsically (money) motivated. In April of 2017, when we look at the most recent 350,000 salespeople to have been assessed, the percentage is down to just 8%! We know that Millennials want to master their craft, love what they do, and be part of something bigger than themselves. This is typical of intrinsically motivated sales people. The good news is that this group responds very well to coaching. 

2.  Need for Approval – How committed are you to gaining clarity?

Today’s selling strategies often call for a consultative approach. Your up-and-coming sales leader needs to be comfortable asking business –appropriate questions.  This will allow them to get clarity on what’s really happening with the prospect, so they can determine whether or not they have a solution. However, a very common, yet hidden weakness – technically know as Need for Approval – prevents many promising sales people from reaching their goals.

This Need for Approval affects more than half of all salespeople, but only 6% of elite salespeople have the weakness while 78% of weak salespeople have it.  This should convince you of the importance of your role as a coach and mentor to help your Millennial become sensitive to the potential negative effect of this weakness.
Invite your sales leader to answer the questions below. Four “yes” answers will be a clear indication of infection!

Need For Approval Self Test

Do you have trouble talking to the company owner?
Do you fear prospects telling you “no”?
Is it important to you to be liked by the people you do business with?
Do you resist asking a question that might cause prospects to get upset?

Did you know that someone with a need for approval will be about 35% less effective than someone without this major weakness?

The OMG assessment will discover if your young leader has a Need for Approval and can give you objective feedback on this finding and how to address this in coaching.

3.  Failing Forward Stories – What real life story of failure can you share that boosted your sales leadership development?

Failing forward means you are finding the stepping stones that lead to success. I love using stories to mentor, coach and inspire Millennial sales leaders.  For example: Invite your emerging leader to join the Inner-Circle meetings of senior sales leaders where he or she can learn important sales strategies from the stories told by your experienced team members. Even stories of failure can help boost confidence and teach your up-and-coming sales leader to fail forward. This will help you to bridge the age gap and create collaboration and synergy between your young talent and the wisdom and experience of the older members of your sales team.

I hope these tips have inspired you to explore more ways to model sensitivity to your sales leader. You will be rewarded with sustainable sales results as you help your Millennial grow into the sales leader your business needs.

In the next post, I’ll tell you how Politeness, the fourth word in our acronym, RESPECT, can help nurture respectful relationships with your emerging sales leaders and help you win new business.

To read the series from the beginning go here

Leadership lesson:  Model sensitivity to your Millennial sales leader to create a competitive edge for your business.

Leadership question:  How are you helping your up-and-coming sales leader to leverage sensitivity so they are a better salesperson and/or leader?

​​© Copyright Danita Bye, 2017

Sales Leaders: Check out OMG’s cool new tool that allows you to compare your salespeople to others. I found it from this article: http://bit.ly/CrucialSalesCompetencies
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