You may all have heard of ‘Hire on Skills – Fire on Attitude? Well, I’ve always found it to be very true, and even more so in recent months….
I spent some time monitoring a small sales team last year. One Business Development Manager had an identical sales pitch regardless of who he presented to, with no regard to job title or industry of the prospect. After a few presentations I knew his pitch in my sleep and I could even predict where this guy would pause in a sentence and at what point he would take a sip of water. Bored? Hell, yes!!
Was it a bad sales pitch? Not really, but it wasn’t a good sales pitch either, plus it was evident for all to see that the sales pitch was stale, the delivery was by rote, juvenile and immature even though the BDM was an experienced business person. The pitch was rarely hitting the mark and the discerning buyer could easily listen to it, switch off and remove this sales person and their company from the list of potential providers to his company.
Could sales training, coaching or mentoring have changed his behaviour? Possibly.
Could good intervention have changed how he presented? Maybe
Was it worth the effort, time and money? Well, that’s another questions
It’s not just about the sales skills of your sales team any more, it’s not really about what they can be taught to do, how they can be taught to perform….more and more the art and science of selling is reliant on characteristics that are associated with the person, not just what they say, or who they represent, but who the sales person actually is.
Their social self, their intrinsic communication skills, their ethics, their standards, their understanding of person to person interaction, their genuine level of interest, their natural level of curiosity. You get the drift – we are essentially talking about all skills and personal dispositions that typically can’t be trained in easily or quickly.
Knowing how to structure a great sales presentation is one thing, creating a buying experience that energised, engages and opens the mind of the buyer to new opportunities and ideas is quite another.
Doing this in such a way that beckons the buyer closer, deepens the curiosity of the buyer and helps them navigate the perceived risky buying decision-making process takes a skill, a personal disposition and a commitment to client engagement that many sales people just do not appreciate and don’t have the emotional depth to comprehend.
The impact of this is:
- Lower than expected conversion rates
- Long sales cycles
- High level of rejection at each stage of the sales funnel
- Low level of referrals and testimonials
- Lower than average customer satisfaction scores
- Reduced margins and profitability
- Incidents of buyers remorse
Therefore the best sales presentation, sales training, product and service in the world may still struggle when the sales person is ‘going through the motions’ as opposed to interacting with the prospect through an authentic and open interface.
The thing to be aware of is that unless your sales people are monitored on an ongoing basis – accompanied visits, accompanied call listening, ongoing client reviews you (and they) may not realise that the level of engagement they have with the client is not congruent to a positive outcome.
Sales people can help protect themselves from this by reviewing their client interactions using several key reflective practice methodologies that will help them understand how they are currently interacting with buyers and how they can increase that level of positive engagement so as to become the trusted adviser, gain the confidence of the buyer and build the relationship to be sufficiently strong to gain partner status.
This is a skill that can be taught…to a certain degree, however some sales people may struggle with the concept that they need to change and to accept why they need to change, but once this barrier is overcome then they can work more productively and pro-actively to eliminate some of the sales performance issues that stop them achieving the results they deserve.
It’s an easy issue to fix, where the sales person has an open mind and is struggling to see what else they can do to improve their sales performance. However, without the correct attitude, change is unlikely to be fast, effective or longstanding.
For more information – please call us for a confidential chat
Carol Griffiths – Director and Lead Consultant
Morton Kyle Limited
0779 002 1885