Imagine that one morning next week you leave your home to go somewhere and find that your bicycle has been replaced with a motorcycle. Or your automatic car has been replaced with a standard. Or your SUV has been replaced with an 18-wheel tractor trailer.
What would you do?
Some of you may be able to adapt to this situation quickly but the majority of us would not. If my automatic car suddenly became a standard, I’d have to learn a new set of skills. I’d need to set aside time for learning and practicing. More time would be needed to build my confidence to drive that car with ease and the necessary safety.
What does this unlikely scenario have to do with selling, customer service and teamwork? What actions can you take this fall to strengthen your skills and those of your team?
This scenario is similar to what we’ve all experienced these past six months. Almost overnight, the way we conducted meetings, approached clients, met with prospects, and interacted with customers changed dramatically. For some, the transition has been easy but for many, it’s been a struggle. And very little time has been devoted to learning – and practicing – the necessary new skills.
When it comes to excellent communication, we often have high expectations of ourselves and our team members without a clear plan of training and support. For example:
- Sales teams that met with prospects face-to-face, and had a high closing ratio, are expected to maintain or exceed these results using phone conversations and/or video meetings.
- The coffee and luncheon conversations with clients, essential for both repeat business and referrals, are expected to be booked and to yield the same results even though the coffee is virtual.
- Teams that had the ability to share news and stories throughout the day, as well as achieve goals, complete projects and plan for the future, are expected to bring the same energy and focus to their work while juggling more phone calls and video meetings … and unpredictable family distractions.
- Customer service representatives, who have increasingly become the target for an unprecedented level of stress and aggression due to economic hardship, anxiety and fear, are still expected to retain their composure and deliver excellence.
September offers the perfect time to step back and assess what you need to put in place to support and improve skills – and create a stronger year’s end. Has everyone truly adapted to the “new” way of connecting with prospects and clients? Are they having effective and efficient conversations? Or are they struggling to pick up the phone, uncomfortable on camera, frustrated, anxious or distant?
And how are your internal communications? Are your team members meeting targets, feeling energized and planning for the future? Or are they lethargic, burned out and distracted?
Ask them. Ask yourself. Gather detailed, honest answers and then search out the specific training and support necessary for improvement. For those of you that are team members, be bold. Present solutions, ask for what you need.
September is usually a time when we embrace a “new year” feeling, and approach our goals with renewed energy and excitement. This September is different but we can revitalize ourselves and our teams by prioritizing the training, practice and confidence necessary to move toward a more successful year’s end and a strong 2021.