Sales manager trust – everyday, all the time, everywhere

Sales managers and developing trust

Sales managers and developing trust

Sales managers must develop the trust of their sales team and help their team members to trust each other.  Trust takes time to create but can be lost in a wink of an eye.

While trust takes time, it doesn’t just evolve over time.  It takes explicit thought and action.   When trust exists, everything on the road to excellence is a little bit easier; without it some things are more difficult and others are out of reach.

Because of all this we are always looking for ideas that can help sales managers do a better job in developing trust.  Recently we came across a Harvard Business Review blog by Carolyn O’Hara.  Although it was directed at employees in general, we thought the learning points were particularly important for sales managers.

So, how can sales managers develop trust?

6 tips to help sales managers develop trust

  • Make a personal connection – If is difficult to develop trust without interacting with the other party.  This can be a challenge on some sales teams because they may be scattered over a wide geography – separate from the manager and from each other.  Here technology can help.  And, the sales manager must leverage ideas like peer coaching, new hire on-boarding programs, and team meetings.
  • Be transparent and truthful – Share as much as you can about the company – strategies, financial results, new initiatives, and performance metrics.  Share why things are happening, as well as, as what is happening – this is important for both good and bad news.
  • Encourage rather than command – Don’t just tell people what to do –motivate them. People work harder and smarter when they are empowered to succeed and empowering requires trust to be extended.
  • Take the blame, but give credit – One of the best ways to encourage high performance and to develop trust is to give credit for successes and own up to your mistakes.
  • Don’t play favorites – This is an easy and quick way to lose trust.  Here appearance matters.  In some cases the sales manager may not being playing favorites by intent but the optics of the situation may project a different image.  Again, this is why communication is so important.
  • Show competence – Trust will not be sustained by just doing all the above.  Sales managers must be competent at performing their own piece of the sales productivity puzzle to be trusted.   This means sales managers must continuously update their knowledge and skills

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About Richard Ruff

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. During his career Dick has authored numerous articles related to sales effectiveness and co-authored "Managing Major Sales", a book about sales management, "Parlez-Vous Business" which helps sales people integrate the language of business into the sales process, and "Getting Partnering Right" – a research based work on the best practices for forming strategic selling alliances. Dr. Ruff received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee and a B.S. from Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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