Canopy

Software for Sales Managers

Articles

Answers & “Aha Moments”

by Pat Rodgers

Everyone has something that gets them truly excited. Heck you probably have more than a few things that give you pure joy. There are some that are personal: children, a loved one, a special memory or place. Maybe it’s a hobby like cooking, reading, or running…if you’re into that sort of thing….at the end of the day we all need things that motivate us and keep us coming back for more. 

From a career standpoint that “thing” for me started out as sales. I love everything about sales, human interaction, relationship building, problem solving, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say winning. Sales is competitive and that was a huge motivator for me as a young professional. Then very early on a new passion emerged: team building. There are a lot of correlations one can draw as it relates to selling externally and managing teams internally. There is once again human interaction, relationship building, problem solving, and even winning. However, the one thing in common that it took me a while to realize, that maybe the most important of all, are the “Aha Moments”. 

There is nothing more special than watching someone have the epiphany they’ve been searching for and to see the pure joy on their face. When that lightbulb goes off it’s like you’ve unlocked their future. What I’ve come to realize is that my new “thing”, that truly motivates me, is watching someone find the answers they seek and have their own lightbulb moment. 

In sales, you have the opportunity to do this on both sides of the table. Our goal is to help clients find answers to the problems they need solved. To ensure the approvals they need are granted, which normally means answering the questions their leadership needs to feel comfortable buying your product or solution. I’m actually in the process of writing another post specifically about coaching a buyer on how to buy. It is in these situations that you get to help your clients find the answers they seek. 

This idea holds true as you move internally and focus on team building. When given the opportunity to lead others it was a no brainer. I wanted to lead for one simple reason: I love watching members of my team have that “Aha Moment”. The moment where they connect the dots, it all becomes clear, and with a little direction they figure it out on their own. It’s magical. I really want to emphasize the point I just made “they figure it out on their own”. 

As leaders and coaches it is our job to guide our sellers to the desired outcome. Guiding is very different than telling. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that if you give a man a fish he’ll eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime. I believe this couldn’t be more true in sales. If you tell a rep the action to take they may get it right once, but without guidance, context, or discussion they’ll be right back at your desk as soon as they run into this issue again. 

The biggest challenge we face as leaders and coaches is knowing where to look and what to focus on. If there is a weakness that needs to be addressed it has to be found and observed first. In sales leadership, especially as a frontline sales manager, you regularly find that the questions your sellers are asking are incredibly generic…I don’t know why it’s not working….Why can’t I get them back on the phone? Why did they go dark? The reason is that in most cases we don’t have the data to support or analyze why or when things are going poorly. By the time we’ve identified the problem it’s usually too late.

When asked, as individual contributors, to reflect on issues we are having it can feel personal and there is a lot of emotion wrapped up in relationships and sales processes, which pushes sellers to stay quiet and not ask for help. I’ve felt this challenge for years. The inability to be proactive, or get ahead of an issue. It used to keep me up at all hours of the night. Yet, the best way I have found to give someone the ability to find the answers they need, to actually change behavior, is through a narrative supported by facts. Facts being hard data that help them see the bigger picture and how they may compare to others around them. No matter the topic, if we can have a dialogue about why something went wrong, with data that takes the emotion out of the conversation, those that want to succeed will have “Aha Moments” right in front of you. It may take a few repetitions but it does work. 

This is why we built Loupe. I wanted to solve this problem for every leader, coach, and frontline sales manager trying to help their teams find the answers they need to be successful. To identify the underlying reasons things are going well or things are going poorly. If we can help leaders identify these risks they to can course correct, teach and coach, and ultimately drive greater success across the entire organization. We’re in the answers business and I couldn’t be happier. 

Share this post on social

Sign up to have the latest Manager’s Minute sent right to your inbox.