Sales Tips: Dealing With Prospects’ Parenting and Life Challenges
Welcome to the fifth installment in a series in which I am taking a closer look at the findings in a report recently released by Sheryl Connelly, Global Consumer Trends and Futurist at Ford Motor Co. I originally mentioned the report in this post. The Ford Trend Report highlights some revealing trends that help us understand how modern consumers think. And I think they also hold several sales tips we can use to help our own businesses.
Today, I’d like to focus on an area that doesn’t seem like a “work issue” but has a major effect on nearly all employees. I’m talking about parenting. It’s important to consider how raising children impacts your employees. That, in turn, leads to serious reflection on the importance of recognizing the very human needs and emotions of employees, co-workers and others with whom you deal.
Parenting Happens 24/7/365
A parent doesn’t “switch off” concern about children when he or she goes to work. A world of issues keep them in an employee’s mind at all times. According to the Ford report:
- 82% of adults surveyed globally agree that parents today are more open about the difficulties of parenting
- 72% agree that parents should take financial responsibility for children until they are aged 18-22, or even longer. (Nearly a quarter say “as long as possible.)
- Only 46% of adults in the U.S. agree that the influence of technology on children’s development is more positive than negative
- 69% agree that the success of their parenting is measured by the success of their children
What Do They (and You) DO About It?
An interesting article by Shane Rodgers provides a great bridge between the findings in the report and how to act on them. He lists pieces of career advice he wishes he’d had when he was younger. I’d like to pass along a few of them with sales tips I’ve added to each one here.
Deprioritize Your Career When Your Kids Are Young
This one is for employees (and managers–they have kids too). Rodgers makes the point that if you are talented and committed, your career won’t come to a crashing halt if you allow your family to take precedence during your kids’ early years. “They grow up so fast” isn’t a cliché’ – it’s a reality, and one you won’t enjoy living with if you miss important moments of a child’s growth.
You learn from your kids, too. Seeing things through their young eyes can keep you fresher and more adaptable. It just might make you more creative problem-solver at work, too.
Sales Tip: You’ll do a better job on a sales call when you know your kids are safe and happy. It’s not a conflict – it adds confidence. (And remember your prospective customer may have children, too. Be understanding – it may even form a common bond!)
Managing is About People
Here, Rodgers reminds us that people are unique, and each offers capabilities that are valuable. While “high performers” are desirable, don’t minimize the contributions of the 70% of employees who are doing “okay.” They are competent, hard-working people powering your business forward. Recognizing and celebrating that helps maximize their performance, and that of your company.
Think the NBA. Every team has a superstar or two (okay, maybe three or four if you’re Cleveland or Golden State). But the rest of the team members are all among the finest basketball players in the world, and critical to team success. They aren’t “underperforming” just because they aren’t the top guys.
Sales Tip: Value your entire workforce for what they contribute. If they feel valued, they will maximize their own efforts, which helps both them and the company prosper.
Employees Have Finite Emotional Capacity
Here Rodgers reminds us that when people are going through a challenge in their personal lives, their capacity to deal with work issues is diminished. At those times we need to support them, rather than draw hard lines or berate their underperformance.
I can’t say it better than Rodgers does: “If we learn to carry people when they most need it, we become a stronger community and we empower people in ways that we probably can’t imagine when we are young. A re-invigorated broken employee is a corporation’s most powerful force.”
Sales Tip: If you are a manager, help employees through any challenges. They’ll be more effective than ever afterward. If you are in sales, extend the same empathy to customers, prospects and even co-workers who are dealing with outside things. It will pay off in ways beyond your paycheck.
Perhaps these are more than sales tips – they are guidelines for how we ought to treat each other all day, every day. But it is a good idea to remember that when you make a sales call or visit, you are not engaging with a job title. That’s another person there. Act accordingly.
For sales tips that will help your sales team succeed, contact us today and ask for a free sales enablement review.