Normally, feedback on a stage is a terrible, annoying thing. Audio feedback occurs when a sound loop exists between an audio input and an audio output. That shrill noise is loud and piercing.
Performance feedback, however, is a gift.
Opportunities to receive feedback on our performance are sometimes designed in our job roles: annual reviews, quarterly planning, et cetera.
Rarely, however, do we go out of our way to seek feedback on our own – feedback to improve our performance BEFORE we see the numbers or outcome results (ie – sales). Proactively setting out to get performance feedback, however, can have a tremendous impact on your success as you can adjust and improve incrementally or in “real-time” as opposed to waiting on historical data (as in sales results) to determine how you make adjustments.
Much of the time, asking for feedback without prompt or formal process feels scary and takes us out of our comfort zone.
Well, we fear the uncertain and unknown. Especially if we feel that creep of imposter syndrome rearing its head when someone taking an up-close look at our performance might discover we’re don’t know exactly what we’re doing. They see all our mistakes. Our flaws are out there in the big bright sun-exposed. We fear to seem dumb or sounding stupid – which could lead to a lack of trust in us or losing our job.
All those worst-case scenarios play in our heads when we think about inviting in feedback –putting our personal performance under a microscope.
But here’s the really good news.
You’re not going to die or be dismembered – torn limb from limb – as your caveman brain would have you think.
Chances are, with objective feedback, you’ll receive positive, constructive insights into improving your performance with a few tweaks. You ARE an expert in your field – or you will be when you keep improving.
We’re afraid that feedback will be terrible but that’s just nagging doubt and insecurity taking up space in your brain – a primitive response meant to keep you safe and alive. It doesn’t serve the same purpose in our modern – post cave bear world.
Push past your fears and seek out feedback on your performance.
You can start out small and progress to more intense scenarios. Here’s an example of progression:
Record yourself practicing. Use your voice record option on your phone or better, video – to capture your pitch, presentation, conversation, or call. Doing this just a few times helps cement the most salient points you want to make and makes them most accessible to memory recall when you’re in the actual call or meeting. You’ll be able to stay composed and conversational instead of rehearsed and stiff. Practice and listen several times and you’ll see measured and controlled improvement with live calls!
Record calls and listen. I’ll continue to preach this one until I am blue in the face. Often, playing back a call is the first time you’re actually, TRULY, engaged in listening to a customer and NOT preparing for your next response or rebuttal. Listen to your calls for clues and buyer breadcrumbs that they’re dropping in the conversation. Note your “should have said” responses and practice those via step 1 above for the next call.
Have a colleague listen to calls. After you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone to record your calls and note your own feedback, keep walking right out of that comfort zone and invite a trusted colleague or mentor to give you feedback. S-C-A-R-Y. Yes. WILDY Effective? YES! They’re not going to think you sound stupid, they’re listening for places you can improve and will give you insights you could not have come up with on your own. DO IT!
Ask a client for feedback. I mean, WHO is really the most important critic of your performance, anyway? Want to know what customers think? Ask. You can open up a whole new world of improvement areas. Ask, “Why do they buy from you? Why did they pay attention or listen in the first place? How can you improve? How do you compare to other sales reps?” It shows your customers you’re committed to improving (and KEEPING them as customers) and provides a perspective that should weigh very heavily in your sales strategy and sales process.
Take a colleague or director out on a sales call. This is my favorite place for feedback – both as a sales trainer and when I was a sales rep. There is NO BETTER way to improve your selling skills than to bring in a wingman or wingwoman. It’s live coaching when you bring in a trusted, experienced colleague or sales director. They can help drive results in the moment and give you feedback about your ticks, habits, and or positive actions – from a fresh, first-hand perspective. Do this regularly and you’ll improve by leaps and bounds!
Seek out external feedback – don’t get stuck in that loop of only internal dialogue – which screeches with distorted sound. Go get objective perspectives to make incremental improvements with big, BIG results.
Until next time, stop hoping and start SELLING!
PS – want more in-depth ideas about feedback or a pep talk about seeking out constructive criticism? Watch this episode of The SellOut Show with me and Dianna Geairn – who is the BOMB at asking for feedback and giving fantastic insights.