The Alphabet Article Series – The ABCs of Solving Sales Problems – The 3 G’s

Last week’s “F’s” were measurable and quantifiable, lending themselves to those of us who are more left-brained. While numbers are critical in any sales strategy, there are also more intangible factors that consider the humanity of all of this, people are ultimately buying from people. So, I want to add some right-brained thoughts for us to consider as we develop a complete sales strategy.

The 3 “G’s” are: Gender, Grace, Gratitude

Now you’ve gone and done it, Mike…first stereotypes in your “F’s” and now G’s with emotional and even spiritual overtones?

You bet. Just hear me out…

Gender. I know we live in a world where television ads and the media would have us all believe that we are all the same. Here’s a news flash folks, WE’RE NOT. I could write a whole article series on why the difference between men and women and cultures of all kinds are very different and why it’s OK to say so. I’ll spare you the diatribe. What I will say, is that unless you have all men or all women on your team, you need to account for the differences in gender, and CELEBRATE them.

I would go as far to say that you better consider the reality that men and women are different in a myriad of ways and, to have a coherent, well-oiled team working on your behalf, it is critical to recognize the differences and account for them. Please note that this is not a professional competency discussion, it is a biological reality. And the best way to address it, in my opinion, is talk to your team. Talk to them as a unit and talk to them as gender-specific contributors, and then LISTEN to their needs. Their needs to feel they are contributing, their needs to feel accepted and celebrated, their respective needs as men and women who want to be a meaningful part of a larger whole.

The consequences of overlooking this “G” have the potential of undermining everything you are trying to accomplish as an organization.

Grace. As a Catholic businessman, this word has a ton of significance to me, personally. However, recognizing and respecting the differences in theological approaches, the grace I’m referring to here has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with manners. It has to do with respect and dignity. It has to do with humanity.

Grace should be woven carefully into the fabric of your sales culture. It should manifest itself in your demeanor with your team, the way you deliver messages to the group, both good and bad, and with your interactions both up and down the company hierarchy. I liken it to the lessons many of us learned as children, the fundamental things that often get lost in the numbers side of business. If you believe in putting people first as much as I do, working grace into the fabric of your company culture will reap meaningful, long-term benefits, especially as the culture of your company changes with growth. It’s a fundamental cornerstone that will manifest itself in employee tenure and happiness.

One last note about grace. It can’t be faked or forced. Your team will see that coming from a mile away. Moreover, it must be consistent. You can’t pick and choose which of your team you will consistently show grace to and which member you will not. The same is true of the kinds of messages you deliver, especially when the news is bad. If your team gets any inkling that you lack consistency or sincerity here, it will undermine your credibility with them, making any kind of change more difficult. You team simply won’t buy in if you are on-again, off-again, or worse yet, you’re a fraud when you utilize grace.

Gratitude. This is one of those words that can easily be misconstrued as some sort of patronization. In other words, it is easy to say and even easier to try to display with perfunctory intentions. But let me be the first to say, much like grace, if you fake or force this, or undermine it with a lack of authenticity, it has the potential of creating a counter-culture, especially when you are trying to earn buy-in (remember the B’s?) from your key team members who have influence in your ranks.

There are a few ways you can implement this “G” properly. The first is focused on your team. Good business owners and leader know that without their team the company is not possible. This is true of OPS and sales teams alike. Without your people doing what they do there is no company, no service or product. NEVER lose sight of that. In fact, I would encourage you to look for ways to thank your teams, look for opportunities to praise in public and private, seek out the differences that your people are making on a daily basis.

Next are your clients. When is the last time you truly “thanked” a client? For their business, for their loyalty, for their continued commitment to you, for the references and testimonials they provide? And I’m not talking about some one-off email, or a card, or some swag with your logo on it. I’m talking about picking up the phone and calling them to thank them for their business. Been a while? Have you ever done that? Hmmm….

Lastly – I believe in paying things forward and paying them back. If you are going to establish a culture with gratitude that is inherent, your company and your people should be used to, and enthusiastic about, giving and serving others. This could be in the form of monetary donations, but I would encourage you to think more along the lines of sleeves-rolled-up, elbow-to-elbow demonstrations of gratitude. Not only will there be goodwill involved, but it will become a part of your team along the way. Serving others will help them remember that, at the end of it all, we are all people. It will show up in the day-to-day interactions among your staff and the kind of work they do for your clients. I promise.

Put people first, use the 3 “G’s” as they can benefit you best, and know that I am here to help or just chat, should you ever want to discuss what’s best for your team.

To raising all ships!

P.S. Be sure to join us next week when we talk about the 3 H’s – Happiness, Humanness, Honor