How to empower your sales team through a very efficient approach?
It goes without saying that in the challenging times we are living in, our People need ENERGY – SUPPORT – TRUST – PASSION 😃. During my 25 years in Retail, I always kept a constant communication with the field teams (Sales Associates, Store Managers, District Managers) with always the same mindset : Listen – Support – Challenge – Empower.
Today’s team expectations are : “I want to be heard”, “I want to be recognized”, “I want to be valued for my hard work”, “I want to be involved”. So please check the following steps to be a real Leader who gets a real commitment form his/her teams!
1. Be close to your sales team
Our teams (especially top performers) have real time response to customer needs and can give you great ideas to ajust/emphasize any decision made at a Corporate level. I am talking here about real empathy. This is a natural approach that sits in your agenda anyway. Be close means as many interactions as possible. Voice this toward your group through internal communication including success stories, business initiatives.
2. Look for feedback
I always got the best results thanks to bottom up feedback. This feedback has to be regular through calls, visits, reports. This means not being afraid of facing issues, negative feedback regarding some of your initiatives. This means being humble enough even if you are the Senior Director or VP of your business unit.
3. Visit as many points of sales as possible
A visit is THE most powerful tool a Manager has on hand. You have a fantastic opportunity to listen, deliver messages directly, impact and empower teams. Genuine is a key word. Teams hate Leaders who are interacting with them but are not mentally present. They love Leaders who really give them a voice 🤩
There are 2 types of visits : announced visits and surprise visits. Both are fundamental and complementary. I appreciate that, at the moment due to travel restrictions, this might be challenging BUT there are modern ways to keep the communication open (video calls, virtual visits of a store, sales team interaction).
Your visit is more a solution driven approach than checking store performance. Today, People need Leaders who are pragmatic with a strong business acumen. Just visiting for a specific check list is not enough anymore. Retail now requires a strong ability to bring added value whether you are a Manager, Director or Vice President. We are on the same boat and solutions can come from everywhere.
4. Behave as a real Leader during your visits!
The time you dedicate to People is Gold for you and for them! So please no phone calls (unless your boss is calling you 3 times in 5 minutes), no emails reading – 100% focus on interaction! Just you and the team 😊. Anytime, I am visiting stores, my obsession is to make a difference. Even though People would see me as a Director who evaluates their performance, I have constantly in my mind : “Today, you have to make a difference! Bring something to the team!”
The advantages of my approach:
✅ Check your business strategy is in place
✅ Celebrate successes
✅ Understand the issues and bring ideas, solutions
✅ Set up a short term action plan and follow up closely
Please see below two testimonials from previous team members who explain exactly my philosophy and conviction.I think this shows results and meets today’s People needs from their Leader.
“Even though Sylvain was the line manager of my boss, I was impressed by his People’s skills and high emotional intelligence. At each summit, Sylvain found time to speak to each member of the middle management – District Managers. During his field visits, there was no call or email checking. Sylvain focused on store/shop managers and their business presentations making them feel valued and important to company‘s success. My teams and I felt privileged to be mentored directly and to exchange business views with Sylvain on the spot. After the visits, the teams and I felt energized and motivated to go the extra mile. It is his direct, human yet demanding approach with tons of business knowledge that is the most remembered by myself and my teams”
” I’m lucky to have worked with him, a manager who’s not only interested in the company’s bottom line, but also in his employees’ professional growth. No matter how intense a store visit was, Sylvain made sure everyone left with a smile and an ambitious action plan.”
In my career, I met so many great People in stores. They gave me so much. I guess my natural way of interacting with them helped me to get their commitment and results. So put it on top of your actual priority list and if you do not have it naturally, make sure you invest time on it. This is Gold!
If you have this natural mindset with your teams, that is great. Keep on going! If you do not, I encourage you to think about it and work on it. Benefits are huge! Please watch the below video from Andy Stanley who is Author and Communicator. He explores Leadership in a detailed way. He also declared : “Leaders who do not listen will eventually be surrounded by People who don’t speak”.