7 February, 2017
The Power of Feedback and How to Use it To Improve Sales and Service
It’s said that feedback is the breakfast of champions. It fact, feedback is critical for us to improve in any area of life, and it is necessary if we want to grow our people into champions in sales performance or service delivery.
We can best think of feedback as information about a person’s performance, which enables them to change or improve their performance. Without feedback, people generally assume they’re doing okay, even when they’re not.
But there’s a problem with feedback, and that’s our negativity bias. The negativity bias developed for evolutionary reasons. As our ancestors migrated out of Africa into Europe, on a day-to-day basis survival was the most important issue for them to be concerned about. Noticing problems was much more important than noticing the good things.
So, in the modern work world we are more inclined to notice when people are not performing as we require, than when they do. As a result, our feedback is more inclined to be negative rather than positive.
For example, let’s say that your manager says to you, “I’d like to see you in my office, I’ve got some feedback for you.” How are you likely to react to that? Based on their past experience, most people assume that they’re about to hear bad news about their performance – not good.
Further, things of a more negative nature have a greater effect on our psychological state than neutral or positive things. So while our manager may actually provide a little more positive feedback than negative feedback, what we remember mostly is the negative.
In order to counter this, and dramatically improve sales or service, you need to pay attention to the findings of the Corporate Leadership Council. They’ve discovered that specific, informal, and immediate positive feedback is the single most powerful driver of employee performance. For that to work, you need to provide significantly more positive feedback than negative feedback.
Here’s an easy phrase to remember this by, “Help people reach their full potential, catch them doing something right.”
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