Do you have any “nay-sayers” on your sales team? You know, the cynic, worry-wart, gloomy Gus wet blankets on your staff who revel in finding the negative in everything you do, even when you’re trying to do something really good for the team?
Almost every staff has one, and that person can be disruptive to your efforts of supporting a positive environment. Even worse, many nay-sayers tend to be veterans on the team … sellers who have “been there, done that” and view the world with a bit more skepticism.
Several years back, I witnessed a piece of sales management brilliance that tempered the nay-sayer. It was during a meeting to kick off a new business contest.
Before the meeting, the sales leader “randomly” selected a couple of sellers in the room to participate in the delivery of the details (one was the nay-sayer). These sellers were handed pompoms and told to cheer as loud as they could every time an identified trigger word was said.
By engaging the nay-sayer, he completely preempted this person from punching holes in the contest or being disruptive in a negative way. In fact, he pulled the person into cheering, smiling, and being an active and positive part of the contest.
And it only took a couple of cheers from these “random” sellers to get the entire team involved. Soon, everyone was cheering when they heard the trigger word—it became fun.
It’s not our job as managers to stifle questions or avoid conflict, but in certain instances, you need to do everything you can to protect the positive environment you’re trying to promote.
If you want to control the impact of your negative sellers, consider this technique—choreograph the positive engagement from them. Especially during times of big importance.