30/04/2014 - 09:25

More than a sales target, it’s total support

30/04/2014 - 09:25

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The overall support and encouragement a company gives its salespeople are the main ingredients to making the sale.

More than a sales target, it’s total support
HARMONY: Any kind of sale requires you to get into a rhythm and that rhythm must be consistent. Photo: iStockphoto

The overall support and encouragement a company gives its salespeople are the main ingredients to making the sale.

All salespeople are given a plan, a quota, or some kind of “numbers” to achieve as a major part of their job requirement.

The key word is “part”. The plan or the quota is a small part of the achievement process.

How the company and leader supports the salesperson and his or her sales effort is another part – the major part.

The tools, the training and the encouragement to achieve will determine the salesperson’s ultimate belief, effort and outcome – their results.

Sales leaders will always make value judgments on their salespeople’s ability to produce numbers, but rarely will they step up to bat and self-evaluate their own effort to support and encourage their salespeople.

Sales leaders are quick to judge the capability of their salespeople, strictly by the numbers. They get reports to keep accountability high. They get reports to check on activity. They get reports to check the numbers.

Classic example: If the number each salesperson is to achieve requires cold calling as a major part of the sales function, more than 50 per cent will not make the grade.

They will become discouraged by a 95 per cent or more failure (rejection) rate, be unhappy, feel pressure, most likely lie on their sales report and, ultimately, quit (or be fired).

Sales reality: Most salespeople resent the fact they are held accountable for certain numbers that don’t have anything to do with actually making sales. In addition, most salespeople resent the fact their sales training is focused on the product rather than selling skills.

Bigger sales reality: Sales are not numbers, they are like a rhythm. Any kind of sales requires you to get into a rhythm and that rhythm must be consistent. It’s not the song, it’s the backbeat. Backbeat provides the glue to music. Bass and drums, not lead guitar or vocals. Consistent beat, not a one-minute solo.

Biggest sales reality: In order for salespeople to feel “in the groove” and get the sales rhythm, there has to be leadership support and there has to be leadership encouragement.

Leadership has to change the word accountability to the word responsibility. The salesperson is responsible for himself or herself, responsible for their outcomes and responsible to their boss and their company for productivity.

Once the salesperson becomes a responsible salesperson they are automatically accountable to everyone without ever saying the word “accountable”.

But the boss and the company also have their own responsibility to support that salesperson 150 per cent.

Here are the 7.5 responsibilities sales leadership has to salespeople in order for them to make their numbers happen without ever saying the word “accountability”:

1. Impeccable company, product and service reputation. This is foundational and fundamental to a salesperson’s belief system and a prospective customer’s belief system. Belief fuels enthusiasm. Note that reputation arrives way before salespeople arrive.

2. Social media attraction. Active participation in social media is no longer an option; it’s an imperative. And active participation, including one-on-one communications with customers, creates attraction. Attraction is also known as leads.

3. On-demand, web-based sales and personal development training. Salespeople need information and answers in order to make sales. The right training will both help the salesperson and encourage the salesperson. If they can access sales information on their mobile device while they’re waiting in the lobby for a sales appointment, salespeople will gain a new self-confidence that will help them make the sale. (Go to www.gitomerVT.com to see an example.)

4. An easy-to-implement philosophical approach to the sale. There must be an approach and a strategy to the sale that salespeople are comfortable with and will employ during the selling process. One that takes the emotion of the selling process and converts it to a customer-buying process.

5. The ability to differentiate from the competition. Salespeople need a value proposition, value-based statements and value-based questions to genuinely engage any customer or prospect. And that value must be perceived as value by the customer.

6. Genuine, real-world, hands-on leadership encouragement. Salespeople want to feel the love and the support of leadership, not the pressure. Senior-level executives and sales leaders must be out on sales calls as often as possible. This way they discover the real world of making sales that will help them when they make the next sales plan.

7. A generous compensation plan. When the compensation plan changes, make sure the compensation goes up. Salespeople need a monetary carrot in order to perform at their highest level.

7.5 Internal harmony. Whatever your internal process is, there must be a harmony between sales, accounting, shipping, and any internal administration that deals directly with salespeople and/or customers.   

I have just given you the tip of the sales performance iceberg. Most of the iceberg is not visible if the salesperson is fighting market conditions, customers and competition to gain a competitive and profitable edge.

Give salespeople encouragement and support and they will give you sales.

Jeffrey Gitomer is an American author, professional speaker and business trainer, who writes and lectures internationally on sales, customer loyalty and personal development.
© 2014 All rights reserved. Don’t reproduce this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer. 

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