It’s a common challenge faced by managers within businesses of all shapes and sizes: You want to implement a new way of working, a new system, or a new strategy. You are confident on the benefits and improvements it will bring for your sales team, and may even have seen it revolutionise a company before. So you’re buzzing at the thought of what could be.
Now you just need to get it launched and your team on board and fully bought in to the idea. But BAM! That’s when you hit that wall, with the team members who are just a bit reluctant when it comes to change or trying anything new. Sound familiar?
So what can you do to break through that wall, or to stop it from appearing all together?
It’s good to talk
There is no stronger way to combat any resistance than by talking it through. Make sure a dialogue is open and encourage conversation. You need to be approachable and to leave any judgement or assumptions at the door. Team members need to feel they can voice their concerns and worries, and that they will be listened to (even if you think they might just want a good old moan). If you tackle the resistance straight on, you’ll be able to answer any specific concerns and better adapt things if you need to.
Before you even approach your team you need to be very clear on exactly how the new system will work, but most importantly, how it will benefit them. Team members will be more inclined to at least have a go if they know what’s in it for them, and how their efforts may be rewarded. You also need to be fully bought in to the idea, even if it is something that has come from the MD and that you’re not 100% sure about. If you’re not onside and going to try your hardest to make it work then your team never will and it’s going to fail.
Avoid thirty second warnings
Start your conversations about a potential change early on – don’t land it on your team and expect them to get it, to fully engage and start doing something differently all in the same breath. Help build up their confidence and understanding over time before then taking the plunge. If it’s very different to the current set-up then consider introducing it in stages.
An important lesson
Resistance often comes from a lack of understanding and it can quickly build if team members think it’s too hard and give up. Remember everyone learns at different rates and what may seem obvious to you may not be so obvious to others. It’s like solving a maths problem – different team members will get to the answer at different times. It’s just the way we’re made. The main point here is to make sure you control any frustration you may feel. Be confident that in the end it will click. Ensure everyone has the training and ongoing support they need and be patient, as when all around them are on board even the most reluctant will be encouraged to try.
Praise where it’s due
And finally, we all like to hear a little praise from time to time, and to have our efforts recognised. Make sure you celebrate even the smallest steps that are being made by those who are finding it hard. As well as bigging up the ones who have really run with the idea. If a team member has an idea or suggestion that could be integrated then do it and help grow the feeling of ownership across the whole team.
You may also be interested in reading What does you perfect sales team look like?