We are often asked by clients if there is a preferred sales type or profile that is the best predictor of sale success, unfortunately the answer is no.Certainly there are the vested interest sales gurus that spin their particular band of sales stereotyping for selection purposes. As an example, the ever present Myers – Briggs profiles i.e. ENTJ while interesting doesn’t really correlate with any real success.
The reality is there are a variety of profiles that produce exceptional sales professionals. The common denominators are more about the desire to succeed, self- reliance, and the commitment to hard work.
Without these internal drivers, stereotypical skills and characteristics while important such as: communication, listening, analytics, organization and personality pale in comparison.
Similarly top sales professionals come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines ranging from teachers, coaches, accountants, mental health workers, to administrators and so on.
The best predictor is to look at a person’s work history and search for a pattern of dedicated hard work and results.
You can always provide training and product knowledge, however, you can’t kick people out of bed in the morning!
Words to live by unknown poet,”The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were tolling upward in the night.”
I was recently doing some sales coaching with a business owner and he lamented that the sales manager allowed the sales team to spend a lot of time chit chatting with one another around the office and going out to lunch together.This brought back memories when I was a rookie sales representative and a member of a large sales team. Many of us would routinely gather at the office, our seasoned sales manager use to come storming in and proclaim, “There are no customers here get out and make some sales calls”!
He followed that up with, “The customers are out in the street where “real” sales people meet face to face with real customers about real business opportunities.”
Needless to say, we evacuated the office and attacked our respective territories with gusto! Of course, without pre-planning the calls or mapping out our time and territory management, simply blasting out on the streets was not very effective.
Filling a weekly calendar with meaningful appointments with the right decisions makers is hard work. Decision makers aren’t sitting around wondering when a sales person will approach them with some earth shattering product or services. It is absolutely staggering how many sales representatives do busy work at their desk, wait for the phone to ring, or an email to magically pop up. They almost do everything but focus on making more face to face meetings.
Unless sales people are exclusively doing telemarketing or order taking (not true sales professionals) statistics demonstrate the more time spent in front of real live customers the more lasting business relationships are and the higher the close ratio becomes.
The conversations that lead to bigger deals and provide insight into customer requirements are mostly done in person. You can’t ask for the order unless you have done a least enough work to get a meaningful face to face meeting and earned the right to ask for an order.
One reason for sales people not get out in front of the customers is the business/ office culture promotes and accepts this unproductive behavior. Having specific expectations by the sales manager for the number and quality of weekly customer face to face meetings will get results.
Average sales people simply spend more time in the office and less in front of customers, than more successful sales professionals. Go to where the customers are and meet them in their environment!
Give NABC a call to get more detailed information about making more appointments and pipe line management.
A frequently asked question by business owners, C level executives, and sales mangers is ‘”How do you motivate sales people?”This is a very broad question with potentially very complicated answers.
Without getting into an academic treatise, here are a few observations that may help from a practical stand point to influence sales performance.
People in general are motivated by two distinct influencers; internal and external.
Internal are generally speaking self- generated:
External influences are within the province of savvy managers and can motivate at least in the short run:
First, engage in an open conversation with sales people about what motivates them. This is a simple, yet for some reason avoided discussion. Defining what motivates a person from their perspective is a fundamental starting point for any manager to effectively coach them. This requires spending enough time with them to truly develop a relationship to broach the conversation.
Second, Reward and recognize an individual’s performance both publically and privately. This can be done with promotions, compensation, praise, etc.
Third, create a vibrant team based environment where the culture of superior sales performance is expected and the norm. The company’s sales culture, coupled with some mutually shared objectives and goals is a distinct differentiator and a very powerful influencer to sustaining individual and team performance.
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In today’s fast paced technological world everybody wants everything now! Even our verbiage is abbreviated and fast as in texting … PROPS, W/E, TYVM, WBU, LOL, etc.I guess it’s no surprise that owners and senior managers would send out an SOS (Sales Our Sales) when things go bad and expect instant results from the sales team.
Is it that simple? Can a sales organization turn on sales opportunities instantly, NP (No Problem)?
The answer is of course not!
Filling the pipe line at a moment’s notice is virtually impossible. Yet management continues to embrace unrealistic expectations and places their sales professionals in an untenable situation to perform miracles.
There are four important questions that need to be answered to ensure a consistent flow of the right prospects.
Consistently filling the pipe line with prospects is hard work that requires day to day discipline and scheduled activity. Keeping the entire enterprise focused and accountable is a formula for success there are simply no fast and easy ways to SOS!
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