05 Sep Secrets to Improving Territory Sales Reviews and Your Sales Strategy (5 Bold Predictions Series)
I was scanning LinkedIn for sales strategy trends. A post from Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, took my breath away…
“…we will no longer allow our company the indulgence of asking “why.” We as a company will focus on “what.” What can we do?’
Why was I overjoyed to read Mary’s post?
She reinforced the exact point I had made in my 5 Bold Predictions keynote for the Economic Times Sales Strategy Virtual Summit in India – the incredible power of “what.”
“What” questions stimulate productive, future-focused thinking. They drive positive change and breakthrough results.
What type of sales strategy questions are your sales leaders asking?
Are they asking Red Flag Questions, focusing on the past?
- “Why did this happen to me?”
- “Why are my salespeople messing up?”
- “Who messed up this time: my sales manager, the compensation plan, my marketing department, my strategic planning consultant?”
Or are their questions committed to a future-focused mindset?
Yes, the experts, like Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, say lamenting the past is part of our grieving process. I confess that this is often my first reaction when I get hit with an unpleasant surprise.
However, at some point, I realize that these questions are unproductive. We have to pivot and start looking to the future.
Leverage the Power of “What” Questions for How to Grow Sales
I believe that powerful, future-focused questions begin with the word “what.”
What might you do to make a positive difference?
Many years ago, I read a study done by the coaching profession on the power of questions. The conclusion piqued my interest, as it seems that the effectiveness of coaching, leading, and managing are based on the same principle – the insightfulness of the questions we ask. Yes, we all know that we need to ask insightful, robust, relevant, and thought-provoking questions. I’m reminded of this stat that popped out to me a couple of years ago – 90% of the questions great coaches ask start with the word “what.”
Use “What” Questions at Territory Reviews and Sales Strategy Meetings
In the unprecedented times we’re facing, many CEO’s are asking, “Are my sales managers able to implement our new strategies?”
Here are some examples of clarity-provoking “what” questions you might ask:
- What is the pipeline telling you about your Q4 sales? 2021 sales?
- What will it take to replace the revenue impact of COVID-19?
- What needs to happen to your pipeline in the next 120 days to finish 2020 strong?
- What are three specific actions we can take in the next 90 days that will have a significant impact on your pipeline?
- What are your new priorities for the next 6 months?
- What is the status of your Top 10 Accounts?
- What might be done to stabilize their business?
- What might you do to grow their business or help them reduce costs?
- What additional competitive pressure are you expecting and what are your plans to deal with it?
- What did you discover about their 2021 plans when you had your Executive Strategic Review with them?
- What is the status of your Top 10 Prospects?
- What new industries and markets might you need to target to fill your funnel?
- What are you hearing from your prospects?”
Here’s an example of how I’ve used “what” questions to coach a young leader who was unhappy in her current job. Instead of talking about everything that was making her feel dissatisfied with her career trajectory, (focusing on the past) we discussed questions that focused on the future – questions like these:
- What’s interesting to you about the company’s vision and values?
- What alignment do you see between the company’s vision and values and your own?
- What synergy, if any, do you see?
By asking these future-focused questions, I was guiding her towards her goals and dreams. This, in turn, led to a discussion on how she was going to achieve her goals and make her dreams come true.A future-focused mindset creates breakthrough growth plans for your sales teams. - Danita Bye Click To Tweet
Watch this video clip from my keynote at the Economic Times Sales Strategy Virtual Summit (India): “A Future-Focused Mindset”
Spot Red Flag vs. Green Flag Questions when Seeking How to Increase Sales
It’s easy in today’s chaotic culture to ask the “who” and the “why” questions. So, it can be difficult to spot the questions that are unproductive and derail conversations – the Red Flag Questions.
Be intentional in spotting and leveraging the power-packed, Green Flag questions that are future-focused. As a future-focused leader, encourage your sales managers and salespeople to turn unproductive “why” and “who” questions, into “what” questions.
Drive Focusing-Forward Thinking with every Sales Strategy Conversation
Mary Barra’s LinkedIn post aligns perfectly with my belief that “what” questions are incredibly powerful. Join me, and other leaders like Mary Barra, to ask your Millennial salespeople the all-important “what” question:
“What might you do to make a positive difference?”
This is how you drive positive change for the future, and breakthrough results.
Your leadership matters greatly during this season.
The first post in the 5 Success Mindset series: 5 Bold Predictions – How to Build Breakthrough Mindsets in Times of Uncertainty
Next post in the 5 Success Mindsets series: Sales Strategy Secrets to End 2020 on a High
Leadership Lesson: Ask “what” questions to nurture a future-focused mindset that will create breakthrough plans for your business.
Leadership Question: What might you do to make a positive difference in your Millennial salesperson’s future-focused mindset?