Have you ever had a sales meeting where you looked around at your team and thought, “Wow…this feels like anything but a team?”
Sales teams are a tough topic because while the group is working toward the greater good of the team, the division, and the company as a whole, the individual is clawing to keep his or head above water. There is a tough juxtaposition between working as a team and looking out for number one. And each is understandable.
Tension among sales teams can strike at any time, but it’s especially noticeable around large sales conventions, annual meetings and fourth quarter, when all reps are geared up, hungry and ready to strike.
Team building is always a great way to relieve the pressure, but when team building comes to mind, we often think of ropes courses and corporate retreats. And while these are all well and good, there’s simply no way you can take every Thursday off to cheer one another on while rappelling down a 30-foot wall in the middle of the nearest forest.
But team building doesn’t have to be a big event. Team building can happen around the office or even around at a sales meeting. What your group can learn from just connecting with one another may far surpass what they might learn while doing a trust fall.
The War Story
Every salesman or woman has volumes of war stories: The big one that got away. The one that battled to the finish at the eleventh hour. The one who strung them along. The one who closed at the first meeting.
These stories are a rep’s battle wounds and they are meant to be shared. Whether the story happened during their time their current company or in a position years ago, a salesperson’s best war stories could be gold for another person on their team.
Make time for storytelling. Give your reps the opportunity to sit and talk about their experiences. Give each conversation a topic like, “The guy who thought he knew way more than me” and ask everyone to share their struggle and how they overcame the problem…or how they would have handled it differently. That kind of personal experience could make the difference in another team member’s perspective and help him or her to handle a similar situation.
Take it a step further and appoint someone to take notes during the meeting. Save the discussions to a shared drive where team members can go back and reference the stories and solutions as they encounter all types of personalities in their calls.
Building a team while supporting the individual is no easy task but connecting your team to one another can allow for better camaraderie and learning from one another, resulting in greater sales and happier employees.
Share a story from your sales experiences in the comments below.