With so much time and money spent to get your sales team together, as the sales leader, shouldn’t you set the standard by engaging with your team and being present?
I often facilitate a variety of meetings, team building programs and workshops. I’m frequently shocked to see sales leaders distracted by their phones, computers and iPads. Or they’re not present in the curriculum at all − constantly walking in and out of the meeting, never truly participating. Their teams are taking time away from clients, proposals, RFPs, research, and maybe even their families if they are traveling. Sales management should set the standard for their teams.
Now, one can say that there are deals to close and key client executives that require immediate feedback. But in all my years selling large complex deals, I found that most things could wait unless an important call was scheduled or a deal was closing imminently. Or, others could say that they are adept at multi-tasking − reading emails and proposals − yet still participate in a meeting or workshop. However, when most people multi-task, they are not able to give 100% to any one thing.
When sales leaders are disengaged doing a million other things than participating in the meeting, routinely not contributing to the meeting nor participating in team discussions, then others most likely will follow the same behavior.
When I see this happening, one thought comes to mind: If the managers were in the room and engaged, then they set the standard. Chances are, everyone else would be present and engaged as well. Otherwise, who’s to stop account managers and sales reps from walking out of the room at any time? Or working on their computers/phones/iPads? Now, they are not participating and present, and this siphons the energy from the room. When you are doing team building exercises, you need the team to be present. But how could any sales leader criticize them if they are the ones setting the bad example?
Sales leaders are part of the sales team. Their presence and participation set the standard that the activity is important. It sends the message that others are expected to not only be there, but actively participate as well. If not, then the meeting/workshop will be dysfunctional from the moment it starts. Whatever mindset the sales leader sets can become so ingrained in the culture that it becomes the norm.
At the beginning of any meeting or workshop, the sales leader has a distinct opportunity to begin with a statement about his/her expectations for the team. And, the sales leader should follow those same expectations. After all, everyone is taking valuable time away from sales activities. Therefore, the sales leader must ensure everyone gets the most they can from the time or experience.
To those sales leaders who are currently reading this while in a meeting or workshop − wake up and realize that you set the standard for your team. Like the childhood game “follow the leader,” sales people pay attention to what is important to their sales leader and follow them as a result.