The secret to any great relationship is, without a doubt, communication. That is especially true in hiring, training and retaining great salespeople. I find that many owners and managers spend the majority of their time answering questions. Some of the questions are truly legitimate, others not so much. People tend to ask questions, where they should know the answer, just to get attention, because they are lazy and not wanting to think and be responsible, or because they haven’t been trained to the degree where they should be.
I suggest as a major means of communicating effectively, owners and managers need to implement and adhere to the Three W’s.
The Three W’s are:
- What is the issue?
- What are the options?
- What do you recommend?
Whenever someone comes to you with a question I would think that you would want to know what the issue is, what are the options that we have, and what do you recommend as a possible solution. In this way people are more likely to think on their own, come up with the correct answer anyway, and quite possibly stop wasting the valuable time of the owner, manager and fellow associates.
In this way it is easy for the owner and/or manager to come up with the solutions. At the same time training the staff to take responsibility for the issues that present themselves on an ongoing basis or using the issue as a training opportunity so you will never have to answer the same question again. You may or may not use their idea for a solution, but at the very least you will know that people are thinking about the possible solutions and not just using the owner and manager as the answer person.
From an operations standpoint, the last thing I would want is a staff of people that are always complaining, or moaning about an issue and not thinking about how to make things better. Customer issues are the same, handle the situation once or twice in this manner and suddenly the staff member will be trained and better able to make the right decisions without interrupting everyone else in the organization.