7 Ways to Bolster the Confidence of Your Sales Reps
Even the best salesperson who ever lived was told "no" much more often than "yes."
Every manager wants their sales reps to have as much success and confidence in themselves as possible. To produce high levels of success in the sales reps they manage, team members must be inspired to believe they can achieve whatever they set their minds to. Confidence is a critical and necessary quality to excel in a sales role. Sales reps are more likely to feel confident when they feel supported and appropriately challenged by their manager.
1. Focus on strengths.
Managers must empower sales reps by focusing on the attributes and talents they have that serve them well and prove to drive business. When managers allow sales reps to use the skills they’re good at, they work from a deeper sense of confidence, and from the knowledge that their manager appreciates and believes in their strenghts and abilities. One of the most effective ways to drive hard work is to focus on what each sales rep does well. People love to show what they’re good at. A manager’s role is to provide the stage.
2. Provide feedback and coaching on weaknesses.
If a manager has a high-producing sales rep but none of the inside sales reps or engineers can stand working with the rep due to poor, demanding, cold or condescending treatment, mangers must step in and coach.
It is better for managers to confront than to ignore the faults in their sales reps simply because they are high-producers. Confrontation can be unpleasant for managers. They may fear their sales rep will quit if they provide them the necessary, honest feedback, but managers are not helping their sales rep to succeed or grow in their skills or emotional intelligence if they don't confront them.
When confronting a defensive person, it is imperative managers position themselves as the “deliverer” of information. It is often useful for managers to use the “compliment sandwich” techinque, where the communication starts with the manager complimenting their sales rep's work, then moves in to let the sales rep know they have some useful feedback to give them, deliver what is unpleasant and end the conversation by reassuring their sales rep that they believe in their ability to make the necessary changes.
3. Freedom and independence.
Managers can trust that their sales reps are smart, driven, intelligent, experienced and educated people. As much as managers can, they must allow their sales reps to sell and produce in the ways that work best for them. It is critical that sales reps feel their managers are confident enough to provide them the freedom to make their own decisions when out in the field.
Managers who allow this type of independence empower and prepare their sales reps to grow in their problem-solving abilities and to succeed in the more challenging negotiations they face. Freedom and independence is crucial. Good managers know from their own experience that there are some skills that are best learned alone. When managers micromanage their sales reps, their sales reps become compromised and cannot work to their highest potentional.
4. Lead rather than rescue.
Let sales reps problem-solve and brainstorm for themselves. This helps them to learn who they and their customers are, what works and what doesn’t for each customer.
Each customer will have their own unique set of ideas, ethics and demands. The more mangers lead their sales reps to develop relationships on their own, the greater the chance they will secure long-term deals and dependable connections. Managers can certainly coach their sales reps through the challenges. They often need assistance to remove barriers or facilitate communication when misunderstandings arise, but for the most part sales reps learn the most when they are encouraged to take on increased responsibility. This is a huge confidence builder for them, as the person they need to prove the most to is themselves.
5. Increase quotas.
When sales reps complete tasks and secure successful relationships, it strengthens their reputation and their confidence. The more they sell, the more they succeed, the more their quotas for the next quarter or next fiscal year should increase.
An increase in quota is a challenge, but also a compliment. It is a statement of how much managers believe they can be challenged to succeed. Quotas can push sales reps a bit outside of their comfort zone, but that is exactly how good sales reps are created. If they complain of their new quota, reassure them they have already proven they can reach it. Encourage them to stand up to the new challenge.
Related: 3 Steps to Realistic Sales Goals
6. Encourage them to help others.
Sales reps almost always work exclusively in a team environment. Managers must encourage each sales rep to help their peers whenever necessary. It is important they be enouraged to give their time and energy to whatever and whomever has a need for their skill-set, help or support. When we encourage this type of connection between team members, morale is high and everyone is more successful.
Good managers know the law that must be followed by all sales reps on their team is to do good and be of service to others. When they do good for others it makes each and every one one of them feel better about themselves. This "feel good" feeling is at the core of confidence.
7. Praise their efforts.
It's important that managers acknowledge the achievements of their sales reps. It is also important that managers not go overboard in this area. There is a fine line between creating inspiration and creating laziness in sales reps. Our sales reps are educated, intelligent people and are excellent at recognizing false praise. Instead of complimenting them on who they are, compliment them on the actions taken that proved to be successful. This will keep sales reps inspired and motivated to continue to impress. When sales reps want to meet and exceed the expectations of their managers, the praise will continue to come their way.
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