A sales professional’s priorities can be identified by how they spend their time, the amount of time devoted to customers, and just as importantly, their response time when customers reach out. Responsiveness is a key indicator of respect and commitment to customers, and it’s also a key indicator of a sales leader’s respect for and commitment to their team members.
Our degree of responsiveness to sales team members and their customers speaks volumes about our dedication to their success. Responsiveness is absolutely essential for building trust, credibility, rapport, and loyalty with our direct reports. It also has very tangible and immediate benefits relative to closing business, removing barriers, or defusing customer anger.
A Barrier to Responsiveness
One challenge many sales leaders face relative to responsiveness is basic time management. There simply aren't enough hours in the day to respond to everyone's needs in a timely manner. We need to ensure we are engaging in those activities and decisions that garner the greatest impact. If you find yourself struggling to respond in a timely manner, it could be a symptom that you need to adjust the level of empowerment among your sales professionals or provide additional coaching/structure around which items warrant your personal intervention and which can and should be handled independently.
Prompt Responses Show Our Respect
Prompt responses to our sales team members help them feel valued and that their work matters. Conversely, the opposite is true. If an employee has to follow up with their manager numerous times to get a reply, they will feel as if their manager doesn’t appreciate them or perhaps that they don't care. Over time, this erodes morale and adversely affects efficiency and quality of work. Whatever our field, we are all in a people business. If we take good care of the people on our team, they will take good care of our clients.
There’s no universal solution to ensuring every manager has the discipline and organization to respond when people reach out. We all operate differently and have to determine for ourselves what works best. Here are some examples of small ways we can improve our responsiveness and show we care:
- Send a message such as, “Tied up now. I will get back to you _________.”
- Pick up the phone whenever feasible.
- Articulate to our administrative support personnel the priority we place on responsiveness to sales team members; ask for their help keeping us on track with responses and follow-up.
Our sales professionals need to know that we are committed to them, and they need to see evidence of it through our ongoing engagement and responsiveness. Our responsiveness reflects our character and values, particularly our desire to be servant leaders and to respect each other’s time. It also shows we care about our team’s success and ability to service their customers.