Sales leaders often tell us that they want salespeople to take a more proactive role – that they’re tired of having to deal with all the problems salespeople keep dumping on their desk because they’re thinking from a position of dependency and passivity. Fortunately, there is a simple fix for turning this dynamic around.
The number one question we give leaders to help them coach members of their sales team to be self-sufficient is this one: What would you do to solve this if I weren’t here?
Very often, we don’t realize when we are creating dependency as sales leaders. We may see our job as chief problem solver! When a salesperson comes to us with a problem, we leap into “rescue” mode – and we take the salesperson safely out of the problem they have placed themselves in. This is not the way to build a self-sufficient team.
Next time, instead of simply answering the salesperson’s question or solving their problem, reverse the question! Ask them what their course of action would have been if you’d been out sick that day. This will cause a little silence in the conversation. Let it linger until they respond.
Sometimes what you will hear after that silence passes is evidence that the salesperson still needs your help and guidance. But sometimes – maybe more often than you imagine – that pause will be followed by an idea from the salesperson that is appropriate to the situation. Either way, you’re helping the salesperson get into the habit of thinking for themselves, instead of simply coming to you and asking you to solve the problem!
Check out the on-demand webinar, Scaling Sales Success, to learn more about creating a self-sufficient sales team.