Posts Tagged ‘salespeople’

Why Do We Fail to Understand Salespeople Are Multi-Dimensional?

Salespeople are human beings.  Yet so often those in business fail to accept that human beings are not just one dimension but rather multi-dimensional.

In working with organizations as well as with top performing sales performers, I hear about how one assessment was used to determine the salesperson’s potential. Using just one assessment especially one that is neither statistically reliable or valid is a disservice to the organization and especially to the salesperson.

As in life, one size does not fit all when it comes to clothing, assessments or salespeople.

For example, the DISC Index is a great tool to understand how the individual communicates and reflects his or her behaviors.  For salespeople who understand DISC, they can leverage that knowledge to improve their relationship building as well as sales conversations with sales leads to centers of influence.

The Values Index is another tool that looks to what a person values or what intrinsically motivates that individual. This psychometric assessment tool helps both the salesperson and those in sales management to align the sales job description to the salesperson’s motivation.

Today there is much discussion about emotional intelligence.  Again, this is another dimensional of each salesperson.  Salespeople who are top performers leverage their emotional intelligence to increase sales.

Read Jeb Blount’s book, Sales EQ, to understand emotional intelligence within the sales process.

Finally, knowing the talents of the individual is also necessary.  What I know is most people know with far greater clarity what they don’t do well instead of what they do well. My favorite psychometric tool is the Attribute Index which utilizes the work of Dr. Hartman and the science of Axiology.

Possibly now is the time to expand one’s beliefs about people and recognize each human being is multi-dimensional.  Remember one size does not fit all in clothing or when it comes to measuring salespeople.

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Why Are So Many Salespeople Hungry for the One Size Fits All Solution?

Right now I cannot count the number of articles, books to sales training workshops that promise to deliver what I call the one size fits all sales solutions.  From the top five closing questions to a proven sales process, each of these sales solutions fail to recognize these three critical buying axioms and one selling axiom.

#1 – People Buy From People They Know and Trust

The fallacy of these one size fits all selling solutions presume the salesperson has established a sound relationship with the buyer and every relationship is the same.  Building rapport in sales (I truly dislike that designation because most people can build rapport with a dog) takes time, a lot of time. Sales research continues to suggest very few people can earn the sale on the first contact.

#2 – People Buy First on Emotions, Justified by Logic

More and more sales research is being complied about the importance of emotions and how those emotions (emotional intelligence) are connected to the brain (neuro science).  Books like Sales EQ by Jeb Blount help salespeople to understand the power of emotions for both the buyer and the seller.

#3 – People Buy on Value UNIQUE to Them

Since each of us are unique individuals, what we value is unique to us. One of my dearest friends will only buy white or silver cars as her current house is white.  She has shared with me numerous times how car salespeople try to sell her a red car and ignore her desire (think value) for a white or silver one.

#4 – Most Salespeople Do Not Know Their Talents; Thereby Fail to Leverage These Talents

After working with hundreds of salespeople, I can honestly say the super majority, well over 90%, do not know their talents.  The one size fits all solution works against not with the talents of these individuals.

Yes I know salespeople are hungry to increase sales. However, when that hunger ignores these three buying axioms and one selling axiom, the goal to increase sales will not be achieved or it will be much harder to achieve.

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Salespeople Have a Higher Meaning

This past week I attended a “Power Breakfast” sponsored by Pipeliner CRM where the CEO Nikolaus Kimla made the following statement:

salespeople

“Salespeople have a higher meaning.”

Kimla was discussing how those in sales have been viewed less than positively when being compared to other professions such as doctors, lawyers, etc.  He then added his rationale for this “higher meaning.”

“Salespeople produce wealth and peace.”

His two statements gave me pause.  I had never thought of sales in those connected terms.

Possibly the reason I had not thought in those connected terms is my economic and altruistic drivers are low compared to my other motivational drivers of knowledge, independence and leadership. Note:  The Values Index is a great tool to identify basic motivational drivers.

From a knowledge perspective, when we in sales provide solutions to wants or needs and those solutions meet those wants and needs, we are producing peace.  Depending upon the intensity of the results from those solutions, we not only produce wealth for ourselves, but for our customers.

Your Purpose Statement and Higher Meaning

Upon further reflection, remember I said I have a high knowledge motivational driver, I realized my purpose statement indirectly reflected Kimla’s higher meaning. As I look to be a “trailblazer,” I am willing to tackle the difficult tasks before my clients must experience them.  That is the peace part.

As to the wealth, I am always focused on a positive return on investment for my clients.  Here is the wealth piece.

Those in sales do receive considerable negative attention.  Yet professional salespeople are in high demand because nothing happens until something is sold.

Possibly forward thinking sales professionals such as Kimla may help all in sales to view themselves differently.  As the noted French author Marcel Proust said:

“The true voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes, but seeing with new eyes.”

Kimla provided an opportunity for those in sales to do just that

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Are Salespeople Really Expensive?

First glance at this headline many mid-size to small business owners to even sales managers probably internally believe “heck yes, my salespeople are expensive.” Possibly some may even have a second thought about how to reduce that cost.

salespeopleCost is the word that determines if those in leadership roles have either a scarcity mentality or an abundance mentality.  Good salespeople should be expensive because they are an investment. If the salespeople are not performing, the cost is because of poor hiring decisions, poor leadership, poor sales management and a poor workplace culture.

In the past 48 hours I heard two unbelievable stories regarding the treatment of those in sales roles. After just publishing this post, What Sustainable B2B Model Believes Sales People Are Unnecessary?, I wondered if something is happening in the mid-size to small business world?

The first horror story was the firing of the sales manager because he was too expensive.  This individual consistently brought in the majority of high value accounts for a $50-100 million dollar businesses. The CEO fired him because he cost too much money and a cheaper salesperson could be found. Of course the cheaper sales team already in place accounted for only 20% of all orders.

Another story involved a top performing salesperson who consistently increased sales by 30% to 55% each year.  The small business owner started changing her job description to reduce her cost to his bottom line.  These changes eventually had her making 70% less dollars while doing the same amount of work.  She was no longer allowed to travel and meet face to face with the customers.  This particular individual finally quit because the stress was too much.

While I was in corporate, I also witnessed this “scarcity mentality” by the third generation of family leadership.  The outside salespeople were 100% commissioned and the “young college educated” new leadership looked at them as costs because those commission checks were”too expensive” and rightfully belonged to them.  Yes I know convoluted thinking.

Greed is a scarcity mentality.  Top performing salespeople are hard to find.  They should not be viewed as a liability, a cost to the profit and loss statement.  No, they are an asset, a gem to increase sales while strengthening existing customer loyalty through relationships.

If you want your mid-size to small business to go beyond just surviving to actually thriving, then lose the “expensive” and “cost” thoughts and start thinking investment about not only your salespeople, but all the other employees in your business.

* * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Why Do Salespeople Fear the M Word?

Mention the M word (marketing) to salespeople and immediately see negative body language to verbal denial to even actual fear. Last week when I questioned a vendor about his product being more about marketing than actually selling, he said “No, it provides the opportunity to gather sales leads.”

salespeopleDuh, gathering sales leads is marketing!

Unfortunately, way too many salespeople confuse marketing with selling even though they are probably engaged in marketing more than they realize.  The selling phase of the sales process does not really happen until you have a qualified sales lead in front of you. Those in sales should be running toward good marketing practices instead of running away from them.

The “M” word is necessary. Without a process to attract attention and begin to build relationships, the ability to increase sales would be dramatically reduced.

For a quick review, the “M” word within the sales process has two steps:

  1. Attract attention
  2. Build the relationship

The goal of this first phase within the sales process is two-fold:

  1. Make a friend
  2. Asked back for a one on one visit or have that person walk through your business (brick & mortar)

Within this first phase, there are certain behaviors and skills that are consistently demonstrated:

  1. Smile & handshake
  2. Message focused on results
  3. Active Listening
  4. Asking a few open ended questions
  5. Positive body language
  6. Ask to proceed
  7. Secure agreement

Until a solid relationship is established the salesperson will not be successful. Sales Coaching Tip:  Social media helps to build a relationship.

Beyond the confusion, there is another reason why some salespeople fear this dreaded “M” word.  That reason simply is their own beliefs.

Marketing has been viewed by many as advertising because advertising firms made money off this limited viewpoint. Then there is all the bad, pushy marketing from the infomercials to the email spam to the call centers dialing for dollars to those business to business networking events where it seems most are “showing up and throwing up.” (Jeb Blount)

These beliefs have equated marketing to something less important than the actual selling or earning the sale.  I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard “I am not a marketing. I’m in sales.”

Noted business expert Peter Drucker recognized the true importance of marketing and why it should be embraced and not feared when he said:

“The aim of marketing is to make selling effortless.”

With 97.7% of all US businesses having under 20 employees, marketing is even more crucial to the success of salespeople than ever before. Now is the time for all salespeople to hone their marketing skills and by taking that action there will be more qualified sales leads that will lead to increase sales.

Download this 7-Step-Sales-Process-ADVSYS. And no you do not have to signup to some marketing list.

 

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The Greatest Challenge for Top Salespeople

With the business world dramatically changing from local to global and from big to small, the greatest challenge for top salespeople hands down is marketing.

top-salespeopleWhy?

Unless people (potential customers) know about you, your company, your solutions (products or services), you will remain as poor as a church mouse.

Much of the sales training coaching advice, blogs, books, seminars, webinars and workshops for top salespeople tend to focus on the second phase of the sales process – selling or sales skills.  The first phase, marketing, is often ignored and in many cased the experts go to great length to avoid this word – marketing.

Social media has made the dual purpose of attracting attention and building relationships both easier and harder.  Technology especially smart mobile devices has made attracting attention much easier. Also with everyone out there (your competitors included) technology has made attracting attention even more difficult. Sales Training Coaching Tip:

Top sales people who ignore marketing from where to place your activities such as blogging, micro blogging, social media sites to email campaigns are potentially making critical if not fatal missteps. This is probably why having both a traditional marketing action plan with a greater focus on outbound activities and a social media marketing action plan along with the much needed sales action plan are no longer luxuries, but necessities for all small business owners or not to mention top sales people.

Gone for the majority of top salespeople are the days when corporate invested in marketing departments or outside marketing firms to find sales leads. This is especially true for top salespeople who sell for companies with under 20 employees or who sell cars and real estate.

Marketing is a separate skill set and is 100% not about selling or specific technical sales skills.

Both marketing and selling share some of the same talents such as:

Yet how, where and when these talent skills are executed are quite different.

If you are in small business and seeking to support your top salespeople, then when you suggest for them to attend that next sales training coaching event or to pick up that next book, consider suggesting to them to attend a marketing workshop or read a book on marketing. By taking a balance approach to your own professional development, you may have greater sustainable results and overcome this ongoing challenge of marketing.

P.S. The Attribute Index is a proven tool to identify your top talents within the roles of sales, executive leadership to even management.

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People buy results or rather people buy the feelings the results deliver.

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