“Don’t come to me with a problem; come with a solution.” How many times have we all heard that throughout our sales careers?
If you’re the boss, you’ve probably said it too. I’m sure I’ve given directives like this—sometimes without laying the groundwork for problem-solving or setting clear expectations.
Help Them Help You
It is certainly management’s responsibility to get the rocks off the road for salespeople, so they can do what they were hired to do—sell.
However, we don’t have all the answers, nor should we.
It’s easy to get sucked into solving problems all the time, but that’s a waste of your management time and doesn’t help develop your reps’ problem-solving skills. The better strategy (for everyone involved) is to give your team the tools and training they need to find their own solutions.
Help Them Help Themselves
That’s why I resonated with Nicolas Gremion’s article, “Who’s the boss? It could be your team.” He outlines a plan for sales leaders to help reps solve their own problems. After all, they usually know the right answers already.
This strategy doesn’t just save you time and increase sales rep productivity. It also furthers your team’s professional development. As Gremion explains:
There are many benefits to having your employees look inward for solutions, rather than immediately seeking them elsewhere:
- It helps them learn.
- It provides a sense of empowerment and reward, particularly when the solution works.
- It helps them grow and prepares them to move up in the company.
- It makes them more adept at problem-solving.
- It saves management time.
- Employees may think of solutions management could not.
- It speeds up the implementation of the solution.
Remember the old Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Stop fishing for your team. Instead, teach them to reel in the big clients all by themselves.
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How do you help your team build their problem-solving skills?