Sales Consultancy · Sales Recruitment · Sales Strategy · Sales Training · Solution Selling

Core Sales Competencies – a Force for Good or Not?

Lots of companies I work with already have very rigorous sales training and people development programs. People are inducted properly, trained, placed with a coach/mentor and supported until they are hitting the required standards.

So it would be sensible to imagine that the results produced across the sales team would sit within a very tight range – after all the business proposition is exactly the same, the pricing is the same, as are the terms, delivery conditions and the product or service.

Yet nothing could be further from the truth, frequently the spread of monthly sales figures is astounding, and whilst the figures may drift up and down, one thing that is usually fairly static is the order in which the sales team perform. So whilst the figures may change the ranking in the league table is fairly steady and much less likely to change.

Why?

Why is the training and development working very well for some people and less well for others?

Why is the performance spread so wide?

Why are the bottom quartile performers likely to remain there – despite getting additional development time?

Reading this I know you will have your own thoughts, so I’ll share mine with you…..

– Selling is personal – very personal – every single aspect is about two people being on the same page to such a degree that trust is established quickly, to such an extent that there is an exchange of a service or product for money….

– Training and development programs tend to concentrate on skill sets, what to say when, how to structure the benefits, words and phrases, handling objections – these are all great and do genuinely need to be covered…..

– In the initial stages, a sales persons sign off is typically based on a sales competency framework that looks at the ideal sales call – scored tick box style sign off….

Because many companies are facing challenges there are distinct economic drivers to getting new recruits into the sales arena in the shortest possible time, these economic pressures can’t be ignored, but what are they costing in terms of long term performance?

If you are looking at the same names at the bottom of the league table every month then you may wish to consider the following as possible solutions to changing the ranking:

Understand that we are assuming they have been through initial training and signed off as being a pass against the standard process: then

1. Look at their general business acumen – how much do they understand the market they are selling into, encourage them to role play but let them play the part of the buyer so they can get inside the buyers head. Spending time inside the buyers head allows them to see both sides of the story – this is one of the most productive exercises I use to transform lower quartile performers

2. Look at their overall confidence levels – there is a method I call ‘punch drunk’ – have a series of typical customer responses ready to throw at the sales person, the challenge is to have them respond fluently, confidently and knowledgeably as fast as possible, as fast as they can, and as comprehensively as they can, such that their responses become second nature. It helps to mix the order of the buyer responses up so there is no logic and they have to respond from cold – this is one of the quickest ways to increase confidence and fluency in sales delivery.

3. Think about working with the individual and not just the sales person – a major insurer was failing to get the sales results they required despite having the best products and services on the market so far. On investigation, the single biggest thing we did to increase performance in he sales team was to sell the company proposition to the sales team – get the poorer performers excited and engaged in the sales offering and see what happens – they won’t be able to stop selling!!

Of course, these techniques are very effective where the psychological contract between your managers/the company and the sales people is strong, where that is lacking there are obviously other issues that need to be addressed.

I’d love to hear how you get on converting your lower ranking sales people, and if you need any further help – just give me a shout – see the contact page for details

Happy Successful Selling

C

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