Have you had salespeople quit? Do you truly know why some of them succeed and others struggle? Even when all things are equal when it comes to their talent, motivation, qualifications, training, and knowledge, can you identify what some master and others do not?
By understanding what really matter in the world of selling (inside and outside of the staffing industry), leaders can dramatically improve the results of their sales teams.
First, let’s access some basic facts: for one, selling is a process. Within that process, a salesperson must be able to know and communicate the services you offer, understand the industry, and differentiate your company from the competition. Also, understand that your biggest advantage is your people. That’s how your different—what they say, how they handle calls with candidates or prospects or clients, etc., sets the tone for your organization’s success.
Now, let’s dive into 10 lesser-known, yet critically essential facts! As a leader you must learn all 10, but you may choose to only spearhead two or three with your sales team to put into practice.
Your salespeople must accept that this is where their financial needs are met, not their emotional ones. The mindset required? Don’t expect your prospects or clients to care about your feelings. Be emotionally detached and intellectually involved. It’s okay to be uncomfortable in the sales process; and to execute, you must endure. The size of a sales pro’s paycheck is greatly determined by their ability to handle conflict.
For nearly every salesperson, 99 percent of the time is spent handling failure—that’s just the nature of the profession. Help your salespeople learn that who they are and what they do are two different things. Instead of taking failure personally, use it as an opportunity to learn a lesson—i.e. what can you do better next time?
What we eventually accomplish may depend more on our passion and perseverance (a combination known as grit) than on our innate talent. Highly successful people usually have three things in common: they are resilient and hardworking; they know, in a very deep way, what they want; and they have determination and direction.
Selling means somebody has agreed to hear about your company, your services, and what you have to offer; prospecting is trying to get somebody in a position for you to sell. Inevitably, the prospecting side has the most rejection. While the two overlap, it is important to understand there’s a difference—and that each requires a specific set of skills.
Do you instill in your salespeople that it’s okay to risk and fail? They might need a reminder or a push! Most people are not risk takers; in fact, it’s human nature to avoid risk. Successful people understand the nature of risk and don’t look for guarantees; they maximize their chance of success when taking a risk. Encourage your sales team to step outside of their comfort zone to reveal fresh opportunities.
Do your salespeople operate with a salary mindset or a commission mindset? How are they spending time (phone calls, voicemails, emails, text messages, etc.,) and what’s the return on that time? Every salesperson must learn how to compress time. Consider this: are they saying the right things at the right time to the right person? There should be a beginning and end to the sales process. Also, it’s important to note that desperation does not work; rather, who qualifies for your time?
An upfront contract is a clearly identified, mutually-agreed-upon next step in the sales process. Failing to implement this is the biggest problem in the sales arena, and resolving it could increase a salesperson’s productivity by 50 percent! Have an upfront contract/next step for every effort in the process—after every call, every follow up, and every meeting. Everyone involved should know and agree on what happens next.
Your salespeople must learn that they have a right to want what they want: to have dreams and expectations, to make a change, to fail, to be imperfect, to choose, to ask, and to decide how to use their time and energy. Operating with that dignity creates a shift in attitude, outlook, and performance.
As a leader, you probably have this in your DNA—but you must also instill it in your sales team. Encourage them to grow personally and professionally, pay their dues, and appreciate that growth never stops. Every day is moving you somewhere: is it forward? Do you know your trajectory? These questions are necessary in getting your salespeople thinking about growth, where they’re headed, and how to improve.
Help each sales person on your team to embrace that they are an “intrapreneur”—an entrepreneur within the organization. Do you create an environment where they’d agree that they run their own business, build their own book of business, and run their own territory? With an “owner” mindset, they might sound and behave differently.
Take these 10 things that matter and help your sales team to learn, embrace, and apply as disciplines to achieve success in your organization.
Source: Presentation by Tim Alderman, President/CEO, Alderman Hockaday & Associates during SIA’s 2017 Healthcare Staffing Summit.