10 Ways To Build Trust With your Sales team
As a sales manager, few challenges are more daunting than building trust with your team. However, if you have risen through the ranks, it can be difficult when you have previously been just a single contributor in the team. Your trustworthiness will determine your success to a great degree. If you break that trust, you can set yourself back by months, or even cost yourself your job if they turn against you.
Trust is necessary to drive performance in a sales team. Sales people need to feel trusted by their managers and the company in order to be successful. The Harvard Business Review found that employees in high-trust organizations are more productive, have better energy levels during the day, collaborate better with colleagues, and stay with their company for a longer period of time than people working at low-trust companies. So if you want to know more about how you can build trust with your sales team, then this blog is for you.
Luckily for you, BBC Member, we have produced a list of ten ways that you can build trust with your team. Remember, that while the first step is completing any of these amazing courses, the second and possibly more important step is taking action even if it’s imperfect action.
Simon Sinek’s inspiring TED Talk about good leadership and making people feel safe made me realize the importance of looking at the concept of reward for those within the business world. He talks about the military, who gives awards to those who give their lives for others. In his discussion, he points out that the military is called heroes and honors them with ceremonies.
They’re rewarded with medals for their bravery and selflessness. They deserve to be recognized for what they contribute, also. Military personnel depend on each other and trust is what unbinds them. Without trust, they could not complete their duty assignment and would be more likely to fail. Sometimes being self-promoting is rewarded.
It’s a different story in business. People who are outspoken often get recognized and people who self-promote, even at the expense of others get rewarded. In a Harvard Business Review article, it was noted that an employee may be hesitant to help another person if they are unsure if the favor will be repaid.
Sales people in particular can avoid the help of others because they are by nature competitive, and some sales teams offer incentives to individuals rather than teams. When teamwork takes the backseat, teams tend to become more and more detached. Having a team consisting of members who have a mutual trust will bring awareness to one another’s weaknesses, abilities and strengths.
So, how can you create a culture built on trust in your sales team? Here are ten ways to get you started.
The very first tip is to start at the top. It is possible to demand trust from your sales reps, but it must be built or else it won’t be achieved. To start earning trust at the top, one may provide a compelling reason for them to connect and create deep, meaningful relationships with the people they are contacting. In order for you to succeed as a sales leader, you should get talented people and train them effectively.
You should also trust your employees to do their job right. With some autonomy, your team members will take a sense of ownership and accountability for their work because it’ll prove that you trust them.
Competence, consistency, and responsibility are key to earning the team’s trust. When your salespeople see that you know what to do when they get cold leads or a prospect, they won’t feel like you need their assistance. But, if they see competence on your part, they’ll be open to being coached by you. The easiest way to break trust among employees is to be inconsistent. Employees resent inconsistent leaders, especially those who make promises and don’t follow through with them.
To gain someone’s trust, do what you say you are going to do, show up when you’re supposed to, and avoid changing your behavior based on temporary trends. Consistency creates loyal employees who have faith in the company. It is important to spend time with each member of your sales team and listen, as this shows that you are empathetic, interested in them and concerned about their success.
However, it doesn’t need to mean becoming everyone’s best friend. People need to know you care about them before they will take the first step towards trusting you. As a sales manager, it is your responsibility to stay up to date on the industry and best practices in sales. Doing so will help you trust your employees more because they know that you are steering them in the right direction. Set up schedules with your sales people for coaching and reviews. Commit to those meetings, and hold yourself accountable. Salespeople don’t trust managers who don’t walk their talk.
Trust cannot grow in a vacuum. To grow trust, a manager must be present and provide nurturing. Managers need to get out in the open and interact with people. Managers need to spend time developing relationships with their salespeople, outside of scheduled coaching and reviews.
Human connections are important to trust. Conversations with salespeople that happen during “water cooler” time or just walking through the office can help establish connections and provide opportunities for managers to identify when individuals need additional attention. Building trust between your team and you will start with your leadership. The article suggests that two traits leaders should demonstrate are warmth and strength.
Leaders who start by connecting with the sales team show them they can be trusted. Leading with strength, however, requires employees to trust the leader out of fear rather than genuine motivation. Fear can cause disengagement from work and prevent employees from giving their best. Employees will disengage from their work when there is a lack of understanding or appreciation for the creativity and problem solving skills of your employee.
Two things that commonly kill trust on sales teams are manipulation and snark. Managers think they need to lie to salespeople, guilt them, or treat them like enemies in order to get the job done. This is counterproductive because people don’t trust that anything you say is 100% true. This is toxic and damages the relationship between salesperson and manager.
Managers must shift their mindset so they support sales employees, maintaining trust in them and praising them when they do something right. Managers should criticize employees by criticizing a specific performance measure that needs to be improved.
Building trust may happen best when managers do not settle for average performance and, instead, set aggressive goals. However, these goals must be supported by management in order to be effective, otherwise, they are likely to lose the trust of their employees. Building a supportive, mutually trusting workplace will motivate everyone to work towards the common goal of reaching your business targets.
It can be scary to share your weaknesses or opinions in the workplace when you don’t know how they will react. Will they get attacked, laughed at, or will they get help and support? The goal should be to find a solution to a problem, not necessarily dominance. A workplace when employees trust their leadership and teams, will be more willing to engage in conflict.
Every person has a preferred communication style that is most effective for them. A more effective way to motivate and understand your team members is by identifying the best way to communicate with each person on your team. Brooks Talent Index provides a thorough assessment that identifies how individuals prefer to communicate, which makes them more motivated. Having the distinction between those tasks out in the open will help the whole team improve collaboration and performance.
Managers can use personal stories to strengthen their leadership, as the brain is hardwired to trust information when it’s presented as a story. To do so, they can offer anecdotes from themselves and other salespeople about the client’s needs. When you select stories for managers, don’t choose ones that are too serious. Choose relevant stories with significant meaning to salespeople, not just ones that will make the manager look good.
If an organization is unsatisfied with its sales department’s performance, it can be difficult to rectify the problem. Most organizations will try to fix the situation. However, some managers will revise their expectations of the team in order to find a balance before punishment ensues. The high achievers and those who follow the company process will become resentful of low performers and those who are “rebellious” when they’re not held accountable.
On the other hand, the sales people who know they will be held consistently and firmly to their commitments will learn to trust their leaders. Peer accountability is a strain on your team member’s trust, commitment to their team and working towards the same goal. Consider tying part of your employees’ compensation to a shared goal that they are all striving to meet.
Only with peer accountability can you truly expect success in sales. Team building is an important part of developing a flourishing business, and celebrating team goals and accomplishments can help build better relationships with your marketing team.
Do not be afraid to fire. You might think that firing salespeople would result in anxiety and distrust for your team, but this is not always the case. Most of the time, it’s actually having the wrong people on the team, who consistently underperform, that leads to such an effect. Create standards for how to evaluate, support, and hold accountable people who are in the wrong job. Once you’re done with that, as a last resort you can fire them. That’ll make your team more trustworthy.
Provide your employees with the tools to see how their individual roles can contribute to the company’s success. They’ll be more invested in their role, and will be motivated to work together with other employees to reach common goals. Create an environment where individual results can be shared and aren’t used against the individual. Use individual results to show how it affects the team when one person doesn’t meet their goal.
You will have a culture of trust when competent employees who hold themselves accountable are hired. Identify exactly what your open positions need to be successful, and then hire the perfect fit. Sales teams that trust each other have good conflict, commitment to the company, accountability, and attention to results. This is a great recipe for a growing company.
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