Creating Clear, Open Lines of Communication

Three Steps to Make Sure You're Staying In Touch
Creating open lines of communication

Have you ever wondered, “How can I create clear, open lines of communication with my new manager?” Or if you’re a sales manager, “How do I create a new line of communication with my new hire?”  Establishing that open line of communication requires a lot of initial work upfront, so it is best if it happens when you are new to an organization or role. But if it’s established correctly, it typically results in a long-lasting relationship that is beneficial for both parties involved. Nobody really wants to work for a sales manager that doesn’t communicate with them. And no sales manager wants a sales rep that doesn’t communicate with them. Open doors of communication are what produce revenue. Open doors of communication produce profitability. Open doors of communication produce higher commissionable dollars. So today I am going to share with you three steps to establishing clear, open lines of communication.

Set Clear Expectations

The first step is to set clear expectations. From day one, the sales manager should explain to the sales rep how often they expect to hear from the rep, the preferred mode of communication (such as a text message, video message, updates to the CRM etc), and what kind of information they expect to get on a regular basis. If your manager hasn’t outlined this for you right away, ask them to clarify for you. “What do you look for in terms of communication and working with me?” By having this conversation early, you are setting the foundation for what is likely to be a long-lasting profitable, successful relationship. Miscommunication takes place is when clear expectations aren’t determined in advance, but it’s easy to avoid with open lines of communication.

Over-deliver, Under-Promise

The second part really falls on the shoulders of the sales manager. The sales manager’s job is to over-deliver and under-promise. This relates to open lines of communication because any time you talk to your rep— be it about challenges, overall feedback and just a general catch-up call— consider it a coaching opportunity where you will deliver more value than the rep is expecting. If there is a problem, solve it. If they’ve done well, congratulate them and establish a new goal. Give them coaching pointers on how to reach the next level (which deals with how to motivate and enhance a new sales rep, and we can talk about that on another blog). But the bottom line is that every communication creates a coaching opportunity, and you need to take advantage of that. So by having an open line of communication, when you speak with a rep, they know they’re going to get value from you every time.

Hold People Accountable

And the last part to establish an open line of communication is you really want to hold people accountable in the early stages of your communication relationship. If your sales rep says they’re going to call you in the afternoon at 3:00, and they don’t do so, you call them out. If your sales rep is supposed to check in with you first thing in the morning, and they don’t do that, you call them out. You want to ensure that you’re establishing a level of accountability that both you can stand behind and your new sales rep can stand behind. If you don’t establish a level of accountability, then there’s really no reason to have an open line of communication. This is also true for sales reps. If your manager is missing appointments, and she’s not showing up, or not doing what she’s supposed to do, call her on it. “Hey, I thought we were going to speak at three o’clock.” By simply holding somebody accountable, you’re letting that person know you were looking forward to the conversation, looking forward getting the most out of the relationship with them, and looking forward to growing with a company. There’s no ego in leadership. If you have forgotten to make a phone call, and if someone calls you on it, simply acknowledge it and own up to your mistake. We all make mistakes. We’re all human.

Having an open line of communication between a new sales rep and a sales manager is one of the key fundamentals to establish a relationship that leads to higher profitability, higher commissionable dollars, and overall happiness in your quality of work life.

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