Responsiveness is Key to Effective Sales LeadershipJune 5, 2019 | Posted by Jeff Seeley in Leadership Development, Sales Differentiation
In a recent article, Five Tips to Improve Responsiveness and Improve the Customer Experience, Carew CSO Scott Stiver identified responsiveness as the greatest indicator of respect and commitment to customers and provided specific actions to facilitate success on this front. The practices we preach for our sales team are often equally applicable to our own leadership effectiveness, and that has never been truer than on the topic of responsiveness.
As leaders, there are two primary means of encouraging specific behaviors and practices on our team:
- Model the behavior we want to see
- Provide a structure/system to facilitate desired behaviors
Just as a sales professional’s responsiveness speaks volumes about his or her commitment to customers, the same is true for sales leaders when it comes to our level of responsiveness to sales team members and their customers. Responsiveness is absolutely essential for building trust, credibility, rapport and loyalty with your sales team. It also has very tangible and immediate benefits relative to closing business, removing barriers or defusing customer anger.
One challenge many sales leaders face relative to responsiveness is basic time management – there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to respond to everyone’s needs in a timely manner. We need to ensure we are engaging in those activities and decisions that garner the greatest impact. If you find yourself struggling to respond in a timely manner, it could be a symptom that you need to adjust the level of empowerment among your sales professionals or provide additional coaching/structure around which items warrant your personal intervention and which can and should be handled independently.
We also need to be sure that we have in place the system/structure to support the behavior and actions we encourage. For example, Stiver recommends that sales professionals provide contact information for a backup contact person so that customers always have the option to speak with a human being when they need assistance. This is only feasible with the support of leadership via dedication of human resources for this purpose.
Common Sense Leadership recently published an excellent article specific to the importance of responsiveness among leaders. Author John Keyser writes, “…. whatever our field, we are in a people business, and what is more important than our attention to our people – if we take good care of our people, they will take good care of our clients.”
Sales team members need to know that we are committed to them and they need to see evidence of it through our ongoing engagement and responsiveness. As Stiver recommends, “that means minimizing the times that we are unavailable, picking up the phone whenever feasible, answering emails sooner than later and articulating to our administrative support person(s) the priority we place on responsiveness to sales team members.” Take a moment to read the entire article, Five Tips to Improve Responsiveness and Improve the Customer Experience, and then assess your own habits as they relate to responsiveness as a factor for your own sales leadership effectiveness.
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