We all have weaknesses - it's what makes us human. We tend to be really great at a few things, and not so great at most things. But that doesn't mean we can't learn and improve through dedication and practice. The key to overcoming weak areas, especially when it comes to our professions, lies in the ability to identify and own them. This is especially true in sales - and why it's so important for sales managers to help their sales staff identify their individual weaknesses in order to make improvements and benefit the overall organisation.
Why should we point out weaknesses?
There are a couple different reasons for pointing out the areas that are not our strengths, especially in a sales organisation. If you have several members of a sales team, one benefit is so that you can identify gaps in skill sets, and how team members can actually rely on each other. If you have many associates on your sales team, chances are they will have varying strengths and weaknesses. By identifying these aspects on the individual level, you can then see who on your team can compliment each other and who may work best together by having different skill sets.
The second reason we should point out weaknesses is so that we may improve. Without admitting what we could be better at, we can't foster an environment that encourages growth and learning. If we all just focused on strengths, it leaves little opportunity to say there can be improvements made through upskilling and coaching.
How to help your sales staff identify weaknesses
For some, identifying weakness or areas needing improvement can be difficult. Staff may feel embarrassed or ashamed, or sometimes even be in denial. But in sales, knowing the areas where associates are lacking is what will help sales performance improve drastically.
- Be objective - When we call someone out on qualities where they are lacking on a purely subjective basis, this is where feelings can be hurt. Use sales performance metrics to show sales staff the areas where they are truly not doing as well. In this way, they can see accurate performance measurements that may actually act as a motivator for wanting to improve and compare performance over time.
- Give them a chance to self-evaluate - one of the best methods in engaging sales staff to help them identify weaknesses in their sales process, is to give them a chance to continually reflect on their performance. When you require sales staff to really think about how they are doing, and self-identify areas for improvement, you foster an environment that encourages accountability and trust. This is the environment needed for true growth and openness that creates better sales performance.
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- Provide coaching and other learning opportunities - It doesn't really do any good to help sales staff identify their weak spots if you don't provide them methods to improve. First, by knowing they have support in getting better in specific areas, they may be more likely to admit to weaknesses, and feel less embarrassment. Instead, they may be excited or interested in the opportunity to learn something new. Coaching also encourages a better relationship between leadership and staff, and shows staff you are willing to invest in them and support them - two things that lead to much greater feelings of job satisfaction.
- Always come back to the sales process - When you start applying the cyclical sales process model, your sales team can be continually making improvements and seeing realtime results. With a linear sales process, sales staff tend to get stuck in patterns and habits that are more difficult to break out of. But when you show how continual goal setting, evaluation, feedback, measurement, and learning benefits them and reaching targets, they may be much more likely to actually enjoy this part of the overall mission.
Sometimes identifying our weaknesses can be a tough pill to swallow, but it serves a really great purpose for sales organisations. When you can be encouraging and supportive with staff in helping them to identify the areas where they need improvement, you're bound to increase overall performance significantly through growth and learning.
Want to learn more about how Goalplan can help you in your sales process and boost employee performance? Request a demo today.