Your sales and cold-calling feedback can boost team engagement. Or it can derail your efforts. Here’s how to make it a positive experience.
Your job as a sales or call center supervisor includes helping your team grow and do the best job they can. Part of that involves providing cold-calling feedback to your agents. Feedback is crucial in any training situation, whether you’re an Olympic athlete, a chef, or a salesperson.
Feedback offers us awareness of places where we can improve. Sometimes these are areas where we are stuck and don’t know how to move forward. Other times, feedback helps open our eyes to something we didn’t notice at all.
Good feedback also points out our strengths. It’s important to know that there are tasks and skills that we perform well.
At the same time, the wrong kind of feedback can demoralize us and lead to disengagement. Instead of giving us something to work on or be proud of, this type of feedback can make us feel like we aren’t good at our job, or that we’re a poor fit for the team.
If you want your team to grow, improve, and be stronger, it’s essential to understand the difference between these two approaches to feedback.
Call Logic’s auto-dialer and call management software offers dozens of helpful tools that help you and your team improve your sales call skills. Call for your free consultation today to learn more!
Helpful vs. unhelpful feedback: How to tell the difference
Before we get into the details of cold-calling feedback, let’s look at the differences between feedback that can help boost team engagement and feedback that breaks people down.
A good place to start with feedback is to ensure both you and your employee are ready for a discussion. For you, offer feedback when you have the time for a conversation, not when you’re rushing to a meeting. You may not need much time, but it’s best to have the option.
For your employee, just ask if now is a good time to talk. If they aren’t feeling well or they’re having a bad day, it might be best to wait, unless the issue is urgent.
Second, understand that feedback, whether it’s good or bad, can also be helpful or unhelpful. “You’re doing great,” doesn’t give your employee the information they can use to improve. Similarly, “You’re cold calls are okay, but try to improve your sales,” isn’t very helpful.
For feedback to be useful or helpful, it needs to be specific and actionable. For example, “You’re doing great connecting with customers. I admire how you get them to open up and talk to you. I think the next step is to work on turning those connections into conversions. Here are some things that have helped other people on the team with conversions.”
In addition to specific and actionable, a few other tips to offer helpful feedback are:
- Use examples. The above feedback could be improved by offering a specific moment when there was a real connection with a customer.
- Include goals. If the feedback is part of a review, it’s helpful to set goals, as well.
- Make it a conversation. Effective feedback can’t be one-sided. It needs to be a conversation where both people can express their thoughts and ideas.
- Make it about tasks or expectations vs. the person. “You’re a good employee,” may sound nice. “You’re a bad employee,” isn’t so great. A better approach might be to mention specific tasks they do well or not. For instance, “I appreciate your willingness to learn.” Or perhaps, “I’d like to see you expand your knowledge about the sales process.”
In addition, here are a few “don’ts” for offering feedback:
- Don’t be vindictive.
- Avoid non-job-related comments.
- Don’t use email unless absolutely necessary. This is the time for an in-person conversation.
- Don’t deal in superlatives, such as always or never.
Cold-calling feedback that works
Now that we have a base from which to start, let’s get into the specifics of cold-calling feedback and improving team engagement.
One excellent tool you have if you use software like Call Logic is call recordings. With call recordings, you can pinpoint specific moments to offer praise or steps for improvement. This takes some of the pressure off you of describing a situation, since you and your employee can listen to it.
Further, with call recordings, it’s easier to clear up misunderstandings or confusion. Maybe your employee is missing customer cues that they’re willing to take the next step.
By listening to recordings together, you can both ask questions and enjoy in-the-moment learning opportunities. In fact, questions are an excellent place to begin. Ask your employee what they think of their performance. Where could they improve? What are their strengths? Getting your employee involved in the process can help things go more smoothly.
Discuss, together, the topic you’re providing feedback for. Be direct and transparent. This might be challenging, but a good leader needs to be clear about how things stand. Does job performance need to improve? Say so. Just be specific about where. Remember, “improve job performance” is too vague, and doesn’t provide any actionable information.
Next, set cold-calling goals. And be sure they are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
And perhaps the most important part is this. Once you set goals, make sure your employee has the tools, training, and guidance necessary to achieve those goals. Successful employees are engaged employees.
Lastly, give them time to process the conversation then check in. This is a vital step, whether the feedback was positive or negative. Why? Remember, you’re a leader. You want your team to feel good and succeed. Checking in a day after providing feedback gives your employees a chance to clarify things, ask questions, or voice other concerns that can be hard to share in the initial meeting.
Get the tools you need for specific, actionable feedback with Call Logic. From call notes to reports to call recordings, we’ve got you covered in every aspect of your business. Call for your free consultation today to learn more!