Take Your Salespeople from “Wimpy” to Winning, Part 2
Make sure you’ve read Part 1 before continuing on for more advice on how to take your salespeople from “wimpy” to winning!
Now that you know how fear can afflict and hinder the efforts of even the most-capable person, as well the problematic qualities possessed by “wimpy” salespeople, discover how your sales team can work to get past the mental blocks and ensure success.
Counteracting the “Wimpy” Mindset
Fear, the desire to be liked, and the need to find emotional fulfillment are all normal human experiences; however, when it comes to the sales arena, it’s important to check those emotions at the door. Once salespeople can plant their feet emotionally and recognize their job is here to fulfill financial needs only, they can begin operating from a place of intellect and confidence, rather than fear.
From there, they will feel more empowered to take ownership of their reactions and establish their boundaries. For example, if someone on your sales team is on a call and sense that a call it going south, they need to deal with it tactfully. First, have them see if the client if they can ask them something off the record to regain their attention; then, have your salesperson tell the client they apologize if they’re wrong or misinterpreted, but it appears as if the client is not engaged in the conversation; next, the salesperson should immediately follow up by letting the client know if that’s the case, then it’s okay and that the conversation can be had later.
Additionally, if a client is no longer responding to a salesperson’s calls and emails, it’s encouraged to call out the prospect by saying it’s not okay for them to simply go dark. Even if that client opts to not go with your business, your team will see that it’s okay to take risks and fail, and that they have a manager who believes in them enough to have them stand up for themselves.
7 Steps for Working with Clients
Having a proven sales process and knowing how to handle tough situations can future ensure a salesperson’s confidence, and take them from wimpy to winning. As such, here are seven steps salespeople should take when approaching a new prospect:
Step 1: Stop acting like a salesperson and establish a rapport- Before trying to sell a product, it’s important to make the client comfortable. Let them know you understand their problems from their point of view, and continue to build rapport throughout the entire sales cycle.
Step 2: Establish an upfront contract- Make sure the terms are clearly defined and mutually agreed upon. This contract should also highlight next steps in the sales process.
Step 3: Uncover and probe your prospect’s pain- People first decide what they want to buy based on emotion, and then actually carry out the buying process via intellect. Again, it’s important to make sure you use discovery to find out what problems they have to gain their trust, not as an opportunity to sell.
Step 4: Get all money issues out on the table early- Learn what type of budget your client is working with ahead of time. If necessary, figure out what their biggest pain points are versus things they are will to spare.
Step 5: Discover the prospect’s decision-making process- Determine who is involved in making the final decision when it comes to awarding you the business, as well as others that can influence those stakeholders (i.e. gatekeepers).
Step 6: Present a solution that solves their pain- People make the decision to change when they can get out of the present pain they’re experiencing, or to avoid future pain. You don’t necessarily have to highlight all of your features and benefits to do this—just speak directly to how you can alleviate their problems.
Step 7: Know when to close- Once you’ve done all of the above, that natural next step is to suggest moving forward. However, make sure you do so with conviction; ultimately, when your convictions are strong, decision making on the client’s end becomes easy.
What Sales Leaders Can Do
The best thing you can do to counteract your salespeople’s fear-based mindsets is to take out the unknowns, offer support, and provide them with the resources they need to succeed. As such, here’s what you can offer your sales team to avoid the wimpy-salesperson mentality:
- Train your salespeople beyond the product and the process (e.g. allow them to shadow or join you on sales calls with potentially challenging customers, provide them with a list of questions to asks clients, etc.).
- Assure them that failure is not only inevitable, but encouraged (salespeople strike out 95 percent of the time, but if you never take a risks, there will never be any reward).
- Provide them with a full view for what’s ahead of them (i.e. the value you see in them and the opportunities that lie ahead).
Source: Ideas presented by Tim Alderman (president and CEO of Alderman Hockaday & Assoc.) at SIA’s Healthcare Staffing Summit 2018, via his “Diary of a Wimpy Salesperson” workshop.