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About This Episode
This century has had its share of crises already:
September 11, 2001 — the 2008 recession — COVID-19.
What’s really important for sales in times like these? (Hint: Not revenue.)
Listen in as we unpack the ideas of emotional safety.
Emotional safety isn’t squishy
Your sales team comes to you and tells you that their materials are stale and making them look bad.
You could say: Life is tough and sales is tough, so you use the materials you’ve got and be successful.
Or you could say: Thanks for bringing those to my attention. I wasn’t really tuned into it. Let me see if I can impact upstream and get us something newer and fresher.
Both statements were true, but only one response is going to shut down conversations about any further challenges or problems.
“You’re that person that people feel safe or even rewarded for bringing bad news to,” Henry said.
That’s what emotional safety means in a work (and a home) context.
“Over time as you create emotional safety, your team continues to give you real time data. You’re operating in a very informed way, which is going to make you more successful,” Henry explained.
The 2 pillars of emotional safety
Emotional safety keeps the feedback loop open between teams and leadership.
C is for caring
“We can’t fake caring,” Henry said.
Caring about the other human beings we’re interacting with during a crisis?
It’s even more important now to ask about family and wellbeing before diving into a sales pitch. (Or just leave the pitch altogether and focus on caring.)
F is for feelings
“Feelings have to come before facts,” Henry said.
Before you launch into the facts of your sales pitch, understand what’s going on for that person you are speaking with.
“If you can find out what’s pressuring them, they’re going to give you more data and you will be more informed. That gives you a competitive advantage against other potential vendors,” Henry explained.
Proper discovery comes from creating an environment where prospects feel emotionally safe enough not to give you just the surface-level answer.
Bottom line: If they can share “bad news” with you, you can show that you care for their feelings with a nuanced solution.
3 techniques for creating trust
1. Problem solve through bad news
Collaborating on a solution together is a great way to build a connection.
If you learn to take bad news well, you’ll build relationships with others.
Henry gave some good examples of emotionally safe responses to the news that a rep won’t hit his quota.
- Thank you for telling me.
- It sounds like both of us are going to have to make adjustments.
- Let’s figure this out together.
2. Truly listen without multitasking
Since most of us are floating heads on Zoom nowadays, it’s easy to pretend to be listening.
Creating emotional safety means actually listening.
“I’ve always held the lens of my webcam as the eyes and soul of the person I’m speaking to. Make sure you’re maintaining eye contact,” Henry said.
Listening is about trying to understand what’s driving the other person’s emotional responses.
That just can’t be achieved with another browser window open while you’re on your call.
3. Use precise language
If you say you’ll get back to them ASAP, both of you may not share the same idea about what “soon” means.
“Here’s where you get masterful and accountable. You say, We actually have a review with legal every Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM PT. You’ll get a response from me by 12:00 PM tomorrow, the 17th,” Henry said.
Then when you get back to them, that person has an unconscious increased confidence in you for building trust and credibility.
Here’s how crisis communication should go:
“We would love to meet with you, but it’s not to sell you anything. It’s to find out how you guys are planning to emerge from this and to see if any of our solutions might help,” Henry said.
Oh, be sure to check out the complimentary Emotional Safety eSchool challenge, too.