Taking Steps Toward Leadership–appreciation

*Text:  Hey, I got a guy here who wants an interview.  When are you available?

*Text:  You do it.

*Text:  He needs to see this is the real thing.

*Text:  You’ve been talking to him for months…if he can’t see it’s the real thing, is he right for the business?

*Text:  Well, I told him about you and he’d like to meet you

*Text:  I will meet with him, but you need to know you’re perfectly capable of doing these interviews and training them after they are brought into the company.  I believe you can do this, you should too.

How many times do you get that from a supervisor?  Never?  Why not?  Do you allow your underlings to do important business on their own?  Are you afraid they’ll say the wrong thing?  They will.  If you do it for them, will you be successful in qualifying an individual for a position or closing a sale?  Most likely, but your associate will not see this as a win.  It may come across as validation that he will never be good enough to do the job himself.  If the associate handles the business, is there a good chance he’ll lose a sale or two or hire, or fail to hire good personnel?  Yes.  Will he get better?  MOST CERTAINLY!  The cliche is that you can’t say the wrong thing to the right person, or the right thing to the wrong person.  If the client or prospective new hire truly sees the benefits and the values of what you’re offering, wild horses couldn’t pull them away.  It might go smoother with a supervisor with lots of experience, but how else do you give experience to people new in the position?

In Toastmasters, everyone works on 1 skill at a time and is evaluated (humanely!) in order to improve. This approach teaches the speaker how to focus on one thing in his skill set, and it teaches the evaluator to listen for that one thing!  2 people are trained.  When you have an associate performing solo for the first time, you might listen in, then after the client or new hire leaves, you offer some suggestions for improvement.  If this person is really anxious, you might role-play so he gets a chance to practice before dealing with a stranger.  But like the Toastmasters, focus on one part, one they can fix.  If you come out after a sale and said, “You didn’t set it up right.  Then you talked too much after they gave the buy signs.  Then you fumbled your words and left too much space for them to come up with objections!  Oh and never handle objections they haven’t raised!!!  Then don’t follow them to the car pleading and crying on your knees…it messes up the crease in your pants.”  Does your associate know for sure that they should have stayed in the stock room?  Oh yes.  Will they be reluctant to try again?  OH YES!  Have you lost the opportunity to self duplicate?  Maybe.  It might be salvageable.  It won’t be easy though.

If, however, you go in afterwards and say this:  “I really liked the way you put that guy at ease, breaking the ice with his pictures of his kids was brilliant.  That was a good transition to the questions.  I’d just ask a few more on why he wants to change services, get a little deeper so you know what we have that will fill the void.  Come in on Tuesday and I can run through some of those questions with you.”  Your associate is more confident now and will make fewer panic mistakes, and given this ray of hope, will eagerly seek your guidance instead of locking himself in the closet.   The other benefit is you!  You learn to listen critically and focus your thoughts on the techniques and the word choice and the vocal variety and the phrasing that make your associate’s presentation successful or unsuccessful.  In this way you can make specific suggestions to improve instead of the general, “Well, you didn’t do that right…”

And that last line of the texting conversation?  You can never use that enough.  People need to know they’re appreciated, and that they are capable and qualified to do the job you’ve assigned them.

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