Most salespeople are NOT tough acts to follow! Most salespeople are simply moving through the profession of sales rather than working hard at it to earn their fortune. In fact, in my opinion, 80% of salespeople UNDER PERFORM! Here’s TEN reasons why:
1. They’re focused on SELLING rather than HELPING THE CUSTOMER BUY.
The typical salesperson comes into almost every sales interaction with the same intent: To tell the prospect as much as they can about the product or service that they offer and then get them to buy it. It’s no wonder that customers hide behind voicemail and screen us out! Who wants to go through that?
2. They have very little, if any, pre-call planning.
We wouldn’t expect our attorneys to go into court on trial day winging it, would we? We don’t expect our doctors to go into the operating room without a plan. We assume that the sports teams that we watch have a game plan that they execute for every opponent, don’t we? If we wouldn’t expect any of these professionals to “fly by the seat of their pants” when it comes time to earn their pay, why in the world do we allow our salespeople to do it?
3. They act and sound just like everyone else.
Most salespeople are NOT tough acts to follow. And yet, most salespeople go through the same routine. Most salespeople come in and try to “make a sale” (see #1 above) and hope that a customer appears. SMART sellers come in and first “create a buyer” (ask questions and listen) and thus, the sale becomes the result. Make it (your sales call) about them (the buyer) and you will stand out!
4. They do not LISTEN to the customer.
The customer has all of the answers as to why they want to buy. Sometimes they are aware of these answers and sometimes they are not. If you ask enough of the right questions and ARE WILLING to truly listen to the customer’s answers, they will often times explain your business to YOU! By the way, “Listening is different than waiting to talk!”
5. They try to sell to someone who cannot buy!
Qualification of the prospect is one of the top priorities of sales professionals. Often it is those that are hardest to get a meeting with that are the true decision makers. And yet, salespeople meet with and try to sell to those who cannot write the check! All of their correspondence, all of their time, all of their efforts, and their proposal has been geared toward the wrong people. Find out who can say yes and spend your time courting them.
6. They bring NOTHING of value to the table.
Salespeople today need to understand that simply being there to take the order is no longer enough. Anybody can do that! A true sales professional in today’s marketplace needs to become a valuable asset to the customer by adding value at every opportunity. Giving information is no longer the main job of the salesperson. Nowadays, if you don’t bring something to the table that will help the customer see that you are a vital component to their success, you can and will be replaced often.
7. They are unaware of who (or what) they are up against.
The competition for a prospect or customer’s time, attention, and money is greater now than it ever has been. We not only are up against competing companies and vendors in the marketplace, we are also up against things like internal competition, the current vendor, internal pressure to fund something else (another project), and indifference (no action). When we are up against others, we need to be aware of who they are, how they sell, what they say, what they offer, and what it costs. Getting blindsided by any competition is a direct result of lack of preparation (you need to know what your going to run into) and a failure to listen to the things both said and un-said by our prospects and customers.
8. They steer the conversation to price and then complain about price sensitivity.
This is a big one. Price seems to be come up more often and sooner in every sales conversation today. Look at the buying environment today with customers having immediate access to information about product and price on the web and you can understand why price is (and always has been) an issue. But YOU don’t have to be the one that brings it up! Be prepared for price concerns, but don’t lead with your wallet! The less you focus on the cost or the price, the less they will. The more you focus on the benefits of ownership, the more they will. And the more they focus on that, the more they will be willing to pay.
9. They don’t have enough opportunity in the pipeline.
It has been said that the best sales strategy is a full pipeline of business. What does this mean? When salespeople have a lot of prospects that are in their pipeline of business, they make moves that position themselves and their companies in more of a positive, confident light. When every meal depends upon every deal, the customer is fully in control—and you are NOT!
10. They’re in the wrong job!
The profession of selling is for sales professionals. Sales pros have certain characteristics and traits that are necessary for sustained sales success. Too often we have people in the position of salesperson by default! The position of sales professional for any company must be one that is filled with great attention to detail. It used to be said that “any idiot can be a salesman!” That cannot be further from the truth today. We are in a world of hyper-competitiveness. Only the best will make the cut! Others need to move on and fill other roles—or go play the role of salesperson on the competition’s team.
Add up your scorecard. How many of these areas are YOU (or your people) guilty?
There is a rule to winning: Don’t SUCK! If you are guilty of three or more of the areas above, get your act back together, pay attention, and make the changes necessary. Sharpen up your skills, take control of your actions, and start to fight a better fight.