Unexpected lessons from COVID
One of the things I drive and encourage in my client work is a practice of review and reflection.
It encourages and promotes a greater level of self awareness, learnings to take forward into future situations and link new concepts to existing knowledge. It supports retention, and leads to wisdom.
Lately, I’ve been curious to discover what sales leaders have become aware of about themselves as leaders, their teams and the market. The work I focus on is always about better connections, about listening, about showing up to give over being transactional, order takers. Over being just the driver as a leader.
And yet, it’s not been until COVID that that deeper level of connection across all stakeholders has occurred. There’s something that being apart, distanced so suddenly that has made us realize that connection is a practice. And now that they live this new way of showing up to others, there is no going back….even when we eventually “go back”.
I want to share with you some of my clients’ awarenesses about themselves as leaders and about their teams for your own reflections to contrast and compare with your own experience during COVID:
Being quick to adapt and deploy served us well
When we accept that things have shifted and as such, our response to that shift requires adaptation we can be faster to act. Not such an easy task for a large organization but possible when leaders work well internally to support those supporting their customers. New markets were discovered, new offers were developed for those new markets and increased market share is achieved.
Realised the importance of filling your network before you need it
How often others think of us without us prompting that thinking depends on how deeply we interact with those in our network. And, we must constantly grow the depth of that network. Staying in touch with someone is far easier than reaching out to new contacts, and introductions make new contacts that little bit warmer. Rather than thinking of this as merely something to get, how can we think about this as something to do for others in our network? And if we do so, is that a way to prompt others to think of us?
We’re now closer as a team, closer to our customers
My programs are all about ways to connect faster and better with others. It’s the ticket to the dance. And yet until WFH, it was all too tempting to remain transactional. Because when you can’t just go over to someone’s desk, or catch up for lunch or just see their face as they come in and say “hi”, you need to work to foster deeper connectison. This behaviour spiraled out to customers too: everything is deliberate. In one case, the customer began calling in as the cadence of the salesperson just touching base every week was one that became important to the customer. When those in our orbit experience that we really care about them first, trust follows. The best relationships are based on trust – regardless of the context.
Listening is powerful
Telling isn’t selling. And yet, some people clung on to the fact that this is how they feel great about their sales ability. It doesn’t work now. The ability to listen well fosters trust, builds understanding and fosters an interaction that enables both parties to open up. It can be learnt. Powerful.
The restrictions from COVID continue to be tough for many. That’s not changing any time too soon. But focusing on what we’ve learnt from this that we may not have been able to so quickly has helped my clients. I hope with all my heart that it helps you to reflect on the lessons you’ve learnt during being forced into new ways of being. Sometimes we need to really look for the good things, but in the searching we find them.