Feedback is meant to help your sales professional improve their performance ongoing. It is not meant for them to feel bad, guilty or shamed for a situation; it is so that they walk away with the tools to perform better in the future. For many sales leaders, feedback is a critical tool for encouraging the right behaviors that drive better performance. For their sales professionals, it is an opportunity for personal and professional development that leads to success.
If feedback is so important, why is it often a challenge? Many sales leaders and managers say that offering feedback is not pleasant and rarely brings on change. In fact, it can occasionally be counter-productive. Therefore they avoid providing feedback. Those on the receiving end feel as they don’t know where they stand and they don’t get enough feedback that they can actually apply in their everyday activity.
Here are some of BDU’s Tips to making feedback productive and purposeful:
- Feedback has to be timely and void of emotion
- The feedback is for the benefit of the receiver not the giver
- Identify what result you are hoping to get out of feedback meeting
- Best if regarding a scenario that was observed first-hand
- Needs to be timely
- Confirm good time for feedback– “I would like to talk with you about something, do you have a moment” – “I would love to give you some feedback, can you step in my office please” – “I was hoping to talk to you about something, what are your times in your schedule that you would be available”
- Bring person behind closed doors –never provide feedback in front of other’s, it can make everyone uncomfortable and is counter productive.
- Be more descriptive vs. being judgmentalState the behavior or concern that needs to be rectified and be specific as to the issue and potential results of that issue. Offer feedback as a snapshot of the behavior – a picture is more descriptive and will be more meaningful:
“Last week at the team meeting when you started complaining about management in front of the rest of the sales team, it not only was unprofessional and inappropriate but it was demotivating to the other team members. As a team leader, you want to be really careful about your words and actions because everyone looks up to you and by seeing you be flustered and negative it really sends a negative message to everyone else”
- Focus on attributes or behaviors that the person has control over
- Test for clarification and understanding
“Can you see where I am coming from?” “Do you understand why it is so important to?
- Discuss specific development plans or actions that need to happen
“So at the next team meeting, I would like you to do a session with everyone effective ways to handle internal issues. Would you prepare a 10 minute presentation that will be must more constructive to having the team handle issues?”
- End on a positive / encouraging note– “I am really thankful to have you as a team lead and I know that you’ll make a great manager one day, just know how much I really appreciate your efforts.”