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Harness the power of gratitude

Demonstrating empathy and acknowledging your team’s accomplishments will start the new year right


As you’re finalizing budgets, making forecasts for next year and developing next year’s sales strategy, don’t forget the people who make up your organization. Seize this opportunity to take stock of your team members’ importance and acknowledge that many organizations not only survived but thrived during the pandemic because of their continued efforts. Remember that your team is the core of your success.

I believe that genuine gratitude and empathy for your sales team can be the foundation for an effective and sales strategy for 2022.

As you’re in the thick of forecasts and contingency plans, take a moment to be in awe of exactly what the human mind and spirit can accomplish, especially when your sales teams adapt, work together and meet objectives despite inclement economic conditions.

Remember that, typically, at the heart of any great salesperson, is a genuine, amenable, caring person who wants to help others. That acknowledgment, empathetic connection and understanding between sales leader and salesperson fuels confidence and ignites sales activity.

Why is this important? Because your sales organization is about to embark on a brand-new year in 2022, full of opportunities and the promise of re-acclimation to normalcy, but perhaps with greater expectations. Your team needs to feel your gratitude for what they’ve endured before they can reengage with the sales strategy, goals and objectives to come.

We’ve all had leaders who have been both good and bad at communicating gratitude. I once listened to the leader of an organization give an emotional commendation to everyone in the company for their efforts and contributions. He said he was proud of our organization and thought it was one of the best companies in the United States! And from that point on, I operated as if that were the case because I believed it was.

The true testament of a great sales leader comes from the ability to illustrate and communicate strategy with an empathic heart, full of grace and perspective. That ability to make a human connection is monumental in any aspect of communication and especially important to the sales organization. Therefore, I highly recommend that your sales kick-off strategy for 2022 comes from a deep emotional construct built on pure, honest empathy and gratitude.

How do you do this? Simple. Once you've had a break in your day from all the budget and projection meetings for next year, give yourself a chance to slow down, relax, think about your sales team, get into a headspace of gratitude, and take a deep breath.

 Acknowledge what your sales team has gone through and what they’ve been able to achieve and accomplish over the course of the pandemic, approaching the two-year mark.

Individualize your gratitude and focus on individuals on your sales team. Acknowledge their contribution independently and as an integral part of the team.

Reaffirm your appreciation after you communicate your sales strategy and objectives for 2022. Be tactful and deliberate as you roll it out but be cognizant of how fatigued the team may be feeling. Validate them. As their leader, you can’t give too much praise! 

Remember that selling is still a job dependent upon human connections, and as sales leaders, it requires a deep understanding of the minds of others. So be compassionate, grateful, and encouraging to set the right tone for your team as you embark on 2022. Renew their spirit and your own.

Richard E. Brown is a News Media Alliance Rising Star recipient, the former director of renewals and digital sales strategy at LPi and the former director of digital operations and sales of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He currently serves as the senior manager of digital churn for Gannett | USA TODAY NETWORK. You can reach him on Linkedin®.


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