The Green Sheet Online Edition
June 08, 2009 • Issue 09:06:01
Strength in cooperation
||Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.|
– Henry Ford
As an ISO or merchant level salesperson, you are an independent, entrepreneurial person. But have you considered lately how much it helps to be part of a winning team?
In good economic times and bad, being part of a strong team can help ensure that you acquire and maintain the level of residuals you desire to thrive both professionally and personally.
Bringing qualified individuals together in cohesive workgroups can enhance businesses in many ways. It can:
- Increase productivity
- Improve the quality of customer service
- Leverage individual strengths, abilities and experience
- Reinforce and expand product and service offerings
- Improve the ability to specialize and reach new vertical markets
- Foster greater innovation
Despite good intentions, not all teams become stellar. Many factors contribute to whether a team fails or succeeds: These include:
- The selection process - akin to matching players to appropriate positions in baseball
- Strategic planning - critical in the formation stage
- Ongoing leadership - to motivate and inspire the team
- Management skills - to organize, track and adjust initiatives, as needed
- Communication - for a free flow of information between the team and management, as well as among team members
- Conflict resolution - to avoid hidden agendas, resentments or even sabotage
Shaping the team
If you're in the process of forming, joining or revamping a sales team, consider the following factors:
Team members' work-styles can range from early risers to midnight-oil burners. Some people thrive on multitasking while others need to complete projects one step at a time.
Some desire a quiet environment; others do their best amid lots of hustle and bustle. Whatever the style, pairing like with like translates to increased sales.
Find out what activities your potential teammates enjoy and which they dislike. Does one member enjoy setting up the weekly team meeting?
Does another like to organize the supply room? If people like what they do, they'll do it well.
A winning team is all about ethics: making a connection between personal and professional values. A team doesn't stand a chance unless each member embodies honesty, integrity, respect and trust.
Some people have amazing technological aptitude. Some can put together a marketing plan in minutes. Others are fabulous number-crunchers. Match the right technician to the right task.
It could be courage or a diplomatic nature. It could be intuitiveness or superior communication skills. Whatever the positive attribute, find each teammate's personal strength, and implement it fully.
Maintaining the team
Now that you've assembled the right team and assigned members to the tasks that suit them best, it's time to think about how to keep your team in play.
The following 10 guidelines may not be the definitive golden rules of teamwork, but they will support a winning strategy:
- Do every task with enthusiasm - joy, optimism and enthusiasm are contagious.
- Help each team member be right, not wrong.
- Look for ways to make new ideas work rather than reasons why they won't.
- Try not to make negative assumptions about your colleagues.
- Support teammates in their individual victories while taking pride in collective group achievements. Think we, us and our - not they, them and their.
- Speak in positive terms about your team.
- Maintain a positive mental attitude no matter the circumstance.
- If you want it, give it away: respect, recognition, compassion and power.
- Act with initiative and courage. Courage isn't the absence of fear; it's recognizing there's something far more important and effective than fear.
- Don't lose faith in the team; never give up on your common goals.
Doing just a little more
Even with the best teams, slumps happen. What then? No matter what arena you're in, the mantra that makes the difference is "just one more": just one more sit-up, just one more lap ... just one more cold call.
Unfortunately, you don't have a gravelly voiced coach barking commands in your face. You have to be your own taskmaster. You have to keep yourself on a successful selling track when you veer toward a dead end.
When you are feeling frazzled from a difficult day, take a deep breath, and put "just one more" to the test. The results may surprise you. Try the following:
- Read just one more article about new technology. Then take that knowledge to your existing merchants. It could translate to a value-added sale.
- Send just one more e-mail. The response could be a request for more information about your product and services.
- Dial just one more phone number. That call could be the one that closes your next sale.
- Clear just one more piece of paper off your desk. Less clutter means less chaos.
- Walk into just one more new business. That simple action could create a positive chain reaction.
- Ask just one more question during your next presentation. The answer could open the door to understanding your prospect's special needs.
- Compliment just one more fellow team member, one more prospect or one more stranger you encounter while going about your business. Making people feel good about themselves makes you feel good about yourself.
Your skills, knowledge, experience and heart are unique and irreplaceable. But you don't have to go it alone. Find and shape a stellar team, and see if it just doesn't make your bottom line shine.
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