Guest post by Scott Leese, CEO & founder of Scott Leese Consulting, and founder of The Surf and Sales Summit.
You’re home now, not in the office. Remote work is here for the foreseeable future.
You’re used to having people right next to you to get advice. Or you’re used to coaching your team on the sales floor.
Now you need to engage everyone from afar.
Want mentorship? Want a learning culture to continue despite the distance?
Get the Help You Need
Here are a few tips for easier access, quicker response times, and helping others help you:
- Make it easier on the mentor. Be specific and avoid vague requests like: “Any advice you have would be much appreciated.” A better question is: “What’s one thing I should work on if I’m struggling to get past gatekeepers?”
- Follow up. Don’t ask for advice then ghost people. Reply back and say how helpful it was or wasn’t. You’ll build stronger connections and relationships will bloom. Now you’re in the tribe.
- Be bold and ask. For me at least, I approach helping people like this: “Don’t worry about my time. Let me worry about my time.” It’s ultimately on you to get the help you need. Be proactive and do whatever it takes, being persistently pleasant to get what you need.
- Invest in resources as a company (or individual) who can offer guidance and advice. Whether it’s selling, management, scaling, strategy, or whatever — now is a unique opportunity to get support.
- Have more than one mentor. Some folks are about to get extremely busy. Make sure you have options.
Give the Help Your Team Deserves
If you’re running a sales team and have never run one remotely before, here are a few things to consider:
- Lead from a place of trust, not control. Trust your team to do what needs to be done, rather than try to control the results.
- Don’t implement a meeting-heavy schedule. You’ll kill momentum and rhythm because you think people need to be checked in on.
- Keep a hawk’s eye on your communication channels. Response time speed to texts, Slack, and email is critical. Don’t make your team wait for answers.
- Keep asking, “What can I do to help you?” Then do it. Somebody told me yesterday “Your do:say ratio is higher than anyone I’ve ever met.” I love this compliment. Aim to achieve it.
- Don’t be an ostrich. Some people (like me) have real fears about what the current situation means for their health. Have honest conversations with folks who are scared and asking questions. From the perspective of those most at risk, I assure you there’s anxiety and stress in their home.
I’m not sure anybody is qualified to give advice on how to sell in a pandemic, least of all me. But I have run remote sales teams before. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but if I can help anybody struggling to make an adjustment, please feel free to reach out.
Above All, Help Your Customers
Everybody wants to know how to keep business as-is and keep “crushing quota” and the like. Well, here’s a strange answer that will probably get me unfollowed and kicked out of the Coronavirus Tough Guys club, but I’m gonna say it anyway.
I don’t care about closing any new deals right now.
I have way more pressing things to worry about. We all do.
So, I’m altering my sequencing by shutting it down right now.
No need for me to take any fraction of mental bandwidth from someone else.
It’s not my focus.
For now, I’ll be spending 100% of my business effort on helping and supporting my current clients and the greater community. And that means you, perhaps.
Maybe your business can thrive with this mindset, too. Here’s why.
We all know that expansion revenue and low churn are paramount for businesses to thrive and grow at scale. We also know that sales cultures often whiff when it comes to positive contributions in this arena. What if we adjusted revenue quotas and put sellers to work in helping solve current customers’ business challenges?
If you’re a CEO telling your team, “You have to sell in Q1 and Q2 no matter what,” or putting fear into the market by saying, “We’re all gonna lose our jobs,” forgive me, but I don’t see that as the least bit helpful.
To me, it also feels a bit icky to the prospect right now. You know what feels right? Reaching out and showering customers with love. Going all-in on keeping the customers I have, and improving our implementation, training, retention, and expansion packages and process.
That’s open dialogue. That’s building trust inside and outside your organization. That’s inspiring (at least to me) and to the public.
I understand not everybody is in my situation. Some of you have to close new deals because you have to eat. I get it, and I’ll try to help you find ways to succeed.
But this is not a downturn circa 2008 or a dot-com bust or whatever other tripe some pundits are selling as advice.
This is uncharted territory for us all.
So, be kind. Be human. Be realistic. Be smart. Be safe. And be well.