The words “sales” and “team” are often put together in a facetious and sarcastic manner. As in, “Sure we can ‘team-up,’ heck, we should even form an ‘alliance’ and covenant ourselves together through a ‘truce.'”
Many a Dwight Schrute-esque sales person has fallen for this type of jargon as blood-thirsty sales sharks take advantage of weakness and go in for the kill.
So, how can you avoid chumming the sharks in your group while forming a true team-oriented environment for other sales people to collaborate within? After all, we know sales people are incredibly competitive (a good quality), often butt-kissing (a necessary evil), and stereotypically self-centered (a negative truth).
These attributes can be leveraged to provide your sales group with incentives that appeal to their often extroverted nature, fulfills their drive for competition, and ultimately offers stabilization to what can be an otherwise tenuous culture.
Drive collaboration into your team through three simple principles:
Respect each teammate:
- Work your hardest: When you’re out prospecting, networking, or pitching business it is not just your reputation on the line. Keep the brand above your own personality, and drive healthy awareness for yourself and your teammates.
- Follow the rules that have been set up: Seem simple? It is. However, when you decide to bend around what is a hard and fast sales rule, you end up putting your leadership and your teammates in a precarious situation. This is especially true when there is revenue procured. Do it right the first time and then help others follow your success.
- Partner on presentations: If you’ve got a chance to speak in front of a group or pitch new business; take a teammate with you. This is a great way to teach someone a new skill set, and it will absolutely provide an extra layer of accountability for you as you speak with clients. You never know when you may need an extra perspective to connect with the client on a personal level.
- Get feedback from other team members: Feel like your pitch went poorly? Get better. Ask someone to listen, and have them critique your skill sets.
- No fake smiles/ sales speak: You know what I’m talking about here. We’ve all been on the company-wide sales call when someone is talking out of their lower hemisphere only to turn around and do the opposite of what their puppet-like smile had communicated earlier. Be transparent and communicate what you actually mean when you choose to speak.
- Be a good person: Again, seems elementary. However, every sales dispute arrives when one person is acting like an absolute d-bag to another person who is supposedly on their “team.” Additional paper work, digging out emails, filing suits, arguing territories, etc. Absolutely unnecessary. Treat each other with the same honesty and care you provide to your best clients.
- Be the best: At the end of the day, you want to make money. You will push the other members of your team to new heights If you’re constantly reaching to be the absolute best.
The beauty of sales is that it truly mimics the competition and mentally-taxing nature of athletics. Naturally, the highest accolades in athletics are reserved for those individuals who reach the highest pinnacle of their profession in the context of a team. For whatever reason, we’ve historically neglected to view this portion of athletics when drawing comparisons to sales.
It’s time to buck the trend. Make yourself a better sales person, and add to a healthy culture of teamwork at your organization. True collaboration will lead to increased revenue, earned respect from your colleagues and superiors, and ultimately leave you with a legacy of culture change (big or small). That (legacy) is worth far more than the sale you could have stolen from a team-mate for a quick buck.
How do you drive a culture of team work in your sales force? Have any of these tips worked for you in the past? Let me know in the comments section below!