The 20 Ways Many Salespeople Shoot Themselves in the Order Pad
Why do the overwhelming majority of salespeople fail to make it to the "great" classification?
Let me share the primary reasons I have uncovered over the past 20 years.
- There is a lack of sales leadership. If the sales manager doesn't score a 10, don't expect the salespeople to become 10s. It s not the sales manager's fault. He may have been a great salesperson and then got promoted without receiving sales management education. He doesn't know what he doesn't know yet.
- There is a lack of desire, by the salesperson, to excel at the profession. They go at it to be average or to even be pretty good. That's okay, I guess, if you want average to pretty good sales results. Recruit more people that only have two basic needs: money and oxygen. And keep expectations very high.
- They have insufficient sales and business skills. They receive adequate product training, but they haven't received the kind of training and education great salespeople receive. When you invest in them, you become entitled to raise expectations. And remember that motivational speeches don't work. There is an abundance of un-learning to do in most cases.
- Planning for the year may be tough for those who have never done it, but it works for the winners. Most say they don t plan because "I don't have time". Plan the year and then break it down into quarters and months. Which clients are you going to land in each quarter? How much revenue from each by month? How are you going to do it? Most people can t answer these questions. If a bunch of salespeople can't answer these, you have massive drift.
- Most people squander time. Don't do it. Treat it like gold because it is your major currency. Invest most of it with major clients you want to land and with those you never want to lose. Not with small clients just because you like being with them. Comfort zones are a killer.
- A very high percentage of salespeople talk too much. They forget that most people only have a 3 sentence attention span. They forget that clients have pretty much heard all that "products, great service" blah-blah before. They don't understand that great selling consists of doing very little talking. It s far better to ask great questions and be a great listener and note-taker.
- Audiences answer "yes" to these 3 questions: "do you find most business telephone calls boring?", "do you find most business letters boring" and "do you find most salespeople to be boring?" Solution: be anything except boring. If you think boring is okay, I suggest you go into the oil drilling business. There, boring is good. Excitement, on the other hand, gets others excited too. I even saw an accountant get excited recently. It proved that anything is possible!
- Most salespeople only have one personality style with which they sell reflecting the way they personally like to be sold. Not good. There are 4 distinct personality styles and smart people adjust their style to better fit the client's style. Most fail to study clients like a book.
- There are many "cookie cutter" salespeople that call on people to sell them something. They don't focus on personal, value-added services and joy. Try to find special things to do for clients so that they will want to buy from you and need you.
- A majority put in a good days work and it is usually 8:00 to 5:00 or there abouts. Great salespeople understand what Kemmons Wilson, founder of Holiday Inns, meant when he said "to be successful, you only have to work ½ of a day; just figure out which half you are going to work the 1st half or the 2nd half". Every day? No, just when you should do.
- Most salespeople are not that passionate about their profession. No passion in the day time equals low sales just as no passion at night does. That's 24 hours of "yuck". Come on, boss. Help this person! Almost anyone can be great in this profession if the desire to be so is there.
- They don't know what it's like to make a great sales call. They have never seen one. Nor have they been educated to conduct one themselves. Consequently, they can't sit down and plan out the "best sales call I will have made to date". The Sales Manager (leader) comes into play here.
- A monster killer is the lack of prospecting. In most industries, prospecting is the major component for growing sales. Sales chiefs must install prospecting quotas. Telephone, write and go see 25-50% more potential clients than you did last year. "Don't have the time", you say. Nonsense. I help clients establish National Prospecting Week. The President, Sales Manager, salespeople, customer service personnel and I have at it for 4 to 5 straight days. We can t wait to get bunches of "no's" because our "yes's" also go way up.
- A large number of salespeople believe they have arrived in their profession. They don't understand that they never will arrive. The great ones do understand. Who do you think buys 80% of the sales books and tapes? It's the old 80/20 rule. The top 20% invest 80% of all dollars dispersed for self-education. I read Working Woman and Redbook because I don't fully understand the opposite sex. I don t think I will ever arrive in that area either. I just keep getting a little bit better.
- Most have never been told the truth about their shortcomings so they think they are fine. None of us score 100% in all areas. Get a 1 on 1 session with a consultant who will not hold back on you. Get the consultant to run your personality profile by profession. Get a good one and you can be in for a life-enhancing session. Also, Sales Managers must have the courage to tell the truth to each and every one.
- Well over 80% of salespeople are not trained to be consultative-type salespeople. They fail in this area because, again, they are talking features and benefits. I don't think you would want a doctor operating on your brain unless she asked questions. It's the same in sales. Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice. Ask about their corporate goals, personal goals, challenges and go help them.
- Ask and ye shall receive. It's in the Bible so I have always taken for gospel that a salesperson's responsibility is to ask for the order. There are many "professional visitors" out there who make social visits as compared to sales visits. Fall in love with the word "no" because it takes a lot of them to hear "yes" a few times. Did you get every wanna-be date to say "yes"? No. Did you get a "yes" from that person or another person later? Yes. Don't give up.
- If you have seen one, you have seen them all. A representative needs uniqueness to set herself apart. Most corporations don t have a unique service so the salesperson must offer a service so valuable that he wins tons of clients when he asks "does your current vendor furnish you with this service (fill in)?" And this service (fill in)?" The more valuable the service, the harder it is for them to turn you down. This is a tough challenge, but when you determine the services, you will clean up. Do things no one else does.
- The #1 thing that consistently shows up as an area for improvement in corporations is communication. The same goes for individuals. Many have a hard time in sales because they do not communicate in a clear, concise manner. They may ramble, speak in a monotone way and lack style. Studies show that 7 out of 10 people who lose their jobs do so because of poor communication skills.
- Only 1 in 100 people are very creative. The salesperson who utilizes tons of creativity when preparing for a sales visit will beat the totally logic-driven competitor every day. Creativity hasn't been taught in schools or in the corporate classrooms. So most salespeople are stuck in the same box as when they entered the profession. Most people have the same thoughts today as they did 5 or 10 years ago. Nothing creative.
Everyone can get better in this profession. I suggest you evaluate your sales group in all 20 areas and figure out how you will score "9s and 10s" in every area.
Why, because most of your competitors will stay as they are. That, alone, is reason enough.