Too many leaders today are still stuck in a “behind the desk” mindset. They fixate on managing data rather than on managing their relationships with people.
That must change because now—more than ever—the quality of your outcomes in sales are determined by the quality of your connections. The global pandemic is not an excuse to ignore this fact. Instead, it’s an opportunity to quickly and thoroughly embrace this important mindset shift.
Get out from behind the desk now and connect with others! Your choices now are vast. Can’t see people in person? Skype, Zoom, or other apps make connecting with your team easy, safe, and excuse-free.
As a leader, to do more than just measure things, you must get evidence for what’s actually going on in your marketplace right now. That’s the only way you gain a full understanding of how your customers are doing, how your product or service is performing, and how your salespeople are behaving. Face-to-face meetings—even when held through a screen—accomplish this best because they communicate much more in less time. You gain a better reading on body language and instill greater confidence while skillfully solving your customer’s problems or addressing operational issues within your business.
That’s what a client of mine in the natural resources sector did recently to gain a better perspective on their sales landscape. Each of their executive-level VPs reached out to their counterparts in their customers’ organizations, scheduling one-on-one video calls. None of it was done with the intent of selling something directly. Rather, it was to ask questions and build rapport. It was incredibly effective, and the benefits didn’t end with just those single calls. By seeing for themselves what was going on with their customers, these leaders were also able to give accurate and timely intel to their sales teams, which resulted in more sales.
Greater Scale and the Compounding Effect
Making better connections yields significantly greater outcomes in less time because, the more often you do it, the quicker the compounding effect kicks in. Case in point: a client of mine in the aerospace industry got up-close-and-personal in studying their customers, their product, and their sellers. Their leadership group held daily war-room meetings with the heads of every division in their company (all socially distanced). In every meeting, they reviewed current KPIs and identified issues that sellers were dealing with in the field. Day after day, they put their heads together to find better solutions.
Working by connecting often results in uncovering problems that would have otherwise been missed. That’s what happened with a manufacturing sector client I worked with. Their in-depth face-to-face meetings (conducted by video) held by managers helped troubleshoot a vexing problem involving one of their sellers who was underperforming. Up until that point, no one could figure out why he wasn’t hitting his numbers. But their leadership team effort—achieved only by getting out from behind the desk and doing the legwork—revealed that the seller had been regularly spending an inordinate number of hours dealing with a problem within the company that was not his to solve.
To sum up: you cannot make good decisions just by looking at data all day. Connections really are everything—even in a pandemic. Getting out from behind the desk and scheduling video time with your team and with your customers is not a temporary trend. This is how managing is done now.