Sharing ideas is a means by which you can model and participate in value creation in your sales team while growing your own competencies. Yet, some salespeople remain hesitant to share their ideas with others. Why is that?
Does sharing your own ideas seem too risky; do you think your opinions being shot down by your manager or team members will expose how little you really know? Or, are you part of a highly competitive team, where everyone tends to keep all their best ideas to themselves?
These are two of the main reasons many of us are hesitant to share our ideas with others.
This is no way for any salesperson or sales team to get ahead, however. Growth-minded reps share their insights with others, involving the whole sales team in their conversations with customers. Sharing and debating ideas are part of the problem-solving process, allowing you to provide customers with better solutions. Ideas, solutions and responses that survive group discussions are often stronger, better thought out and more likely to work.
Being intentional about information and idea sharing and creating a team environment in which this can happen will help everyone in the sales team to:
1. Grow in confidence
The first obstacle to sharing what you know or think about something with others, is often one of perception. You have a perception about yourself and how valuable your knowledge and ideas are to the team.
Sharing in a group is a form of public speaking and something you might need to grow into if you’re not used to it.
Make a point of approaching people with relevant information you obtained and of sharing your opinion in sales meetings. You’d be surprised by how often others appreciate your input and will become more confident to share your ideas with others.
2. Develop as a leader
Sharing ideas and knowledge is a proactive way of investing in others and in your company. It is an act of leadership to initiate conversations which stimulate innovation and growth.
It also acts as an invitation to others to participate in conversations necessary to develop the sales strategy and reach sales goals. Leadership is as much about inclusion as it is about directing and sharing information to generate better plans and strategies.
3. Refine your thinking
‘We speak not only to tell other people what we think, but to tell ourselves what we think. Speech is a part of thought,’ observed neurologist Oliver Sacks.
Articulating what you’re thinking about or what you’ve heard or read, is necessary to translate exciting, abstract ideas into reality.
You might think you already know what the solution to your customer’s needs are, until you tell it to a colleague. You will find that your colleagues’ ideas and perspectives shed new light on the matter or recognise details you weren’t taking into consideration until you heard yourself process it verbally.
4. Maintain perspective
When you spend a few hours out on the road on your own every day, it is easy to get caught up in your own thoughts and become anxious about challenging situations you run into when visiting customers.
Being able to share what is going on and what you’re struggling with, invites sales team members to encourage you and bring you back to the bigger picture. It is good to be reminded about the strategy, what your daily goals are, and which things are in your control and which aren’t. It’s also great to know there is a team ‘with’ you out on the road.
5. Create a transparent environment in which trust can grow
Sharing your ideas is an invitation to be engaged with in conversation, communicating a willingness to listen to others in turn. It creates a platform for general communication between employees to improve.
Irrespective of whether sales team members agree or not, a more transparent environment is created within the sales team. Trust is not based on agreement but rather on openness and honesty.
Transparency between sales consultants and their managers, in particular, creates trust and a greater freedom and willingness to share ideas and valuable information freely.
Sharing ideas is a means by which you can model and participate in value creation in your sales team while you learn and grow your own competencies.