The Alphabet Article Series – The ABCs of Solving Sales Problems – The 3 “K’s”

Mother Teresa is quoted as saying, “ Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” I would add that the same is true of actions and the intentions we have in them. In the bustling world we call business, we chase our dreams, our goals, our sales numbers. And we should. But HOW we get there should also matter.

So, the 3 K’s are as follows: Kindness, Keywords, Kudos

Kindness. This isn’t just some “feel-good” I am trying to insert in the middle of my thoughts on how to enhance your sales team or your sales process. If you’ve read any of my previous work you will know that I believe in putting people first. And the type of kindness I am referring to here is not simply the “help the elderly lady across the street” kind of thing. It is action, for sure, but it is also establsihing a culture of kindness. And truthfully, kindness can be as much about what you don’t do as it is about what you do.

Let’s break it down a bit. From one vantage point, inserting kindness into daily activities and going the distance to help your team is imperative. Especially if you have a salesperson who is struggling. Extra coaching, extra mentoring, maybe even extra time out of the office to clear up matters that may be personal. Some acts of kindness should be done in private, and some in a subtle way that is in sight of your team, something they can recall as an example displayed by their leader.

From another vantage point, being kind should also foster a sense of altruism when serving clients or courting prospects. I can tell you from my years in sales, that being truly empathetic to a prospect who has personal or professional struggles during the courting process will serve both of you well. I’ve gone as far as taking the leap of faith and telling a client or a prospect that I would keep them in my prayers (and meant it). I’ve also shared personal stories of my own in an attempt to remind them they are not alone in this thing called life. It does demonstrate to people that you have compassion for the peron in the equation and will be indicative that your team cares enough to go the extra mile.

By the way, I am assuming here that you are kind in spirit in the first place and you see value in kindness to others. This isn’t something that can be faked or forced, so the first person you should consider when thinking about this “K” is yourself.

Keywords. There are two main aspects to consider here – in writing and verbal. Before I separate them to discuss, please note that the words you choose, inside the office and out, can have a profound impact on your overall message, your value proposition, and the perception of your company both by clients and by prospects.

In writing. These are much easier to control and standardize. And as a sales leader, you should make every effort to know which words resonate with your target popualtions and which ones do not. Once you’ve collected the words that you think best resonate with your prospects and represent your value proposition and company culture, do yourself a favor. Go ASK some of your prospects. In fact, ASK anyone who doesn’t answer to you and can give you candid feedback. Make your final selections from there and then do yourself the ultimate favor, STANDARDIZE them. Make sure your team knows which keywords are approved and how best to position them when putting your material in front of a client.

Verbal. Now this is a much trickier proposition. As a sales team you can certainly introduce the concept of keywords and how best to use them. But, as you know, guiding a sales team can sometimes feel like herding cats. Been there, done that. So, without stepping on the personality that makes them productive, you have to set clear parameters of the words and how and when they are used. Then, PRACTICE it. If you spend the time internally to make it a priority of company culture and representation, you will get more cohesiveness from your sales team. It won’t ever be 100% on point, remember salespeople are people first, you can at least keep things within acceptable guidelines and your team will work to get better and better in their verbal interactions with prospects and clients.

Kudos. I know, I know. I can hear the groans across the digital divide. Yes, Kudos. But to set expectations, I do not believe in the “everyone gets a trophy” philosophy. And yes, I know you’re thinking, “c’mon, Mike, salespeople get commissions and are some of the highest paid people in the company, what else do they need?!” Kudos, I tell you, kudos.

Let me explain. The kind of kudos I am talking about here can often be the intangible kind. A quick “atta girl”, a brief email calling out something small but significant, a short stop poking your head in the office and saying…here it comes…”thank you”. I guess what I’m trying to get across here is that it should be sincere, it should be personal, it should be random, and it should be meaningful to who they are as people. I know money motivates, and salespeople are driven (most of them, anyway). But that extra moment will often make all the difference when you aren’t looking.

Put people first, use the 3 “K’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 L’s – Lifecycle, Leads, Liaison