The trouble is it’s very easy for even the best sales team to get stuck in a rut, find themselves in the comfort zone or start taking it easy. But, unless you’re in a dot.com collapse scenario, there’s always something you can do re-enthuse and re-energise these most vital members of your workforce. Here is our guide to putting some pep back into your salespeople.
1. Make them talk to people who matter
Salespeople often call the monkey when they should be calling the organ grinder. ‘One of the most important things’, says Colin Wells, chairman of JBS, ‘is to speak to the decision maker. Salespeople, especially newer ones tend to call one level down because they think its an easier call.’ In fact, continues Wells, the decision maker is often a far nicer person than those below him or her and as they have the authority will often say ‘bugger it, where do I sign?’ So do some research find out who this person is, then call them.
2. Get it write
Everyone agrees on this one. Nothing will put off a prospective client more than a simple error that should have been spotted by someone – anyone. Normally this is a spelling error in a letter – and a simple transposed i and e can undo the good work of a dozen hard phone calls. This kind of thing looks incredibly sloppy and does nothing to engender belief in the quality of your products. So try and create a culture where people proofread each others’ letters. Or set up a series of readymade templates. Either way you’ve got to eradicate it. Clients know theirs [intended] no excuse for this kind of sloppiness.
3. Tell them to listen
‘Salesmen,’ says Wells, ‘tend to be glib and they try to change people’s minds.’ But the fact is few are actually that persuasive. What they should be doing at the outset is listening and finding out what it is that their customers want, what problems they have and what solutions they need. Then, he says, ‘show it to them. Don’t start out by shouting in the dark, show empathy understand what turns them on, then work on how you can deliver that. That’s the essence of sales.’
4. Give them goals
There’s nothing worse than having your sales team shooting at a fuzzy target. ‘One of the prevailing truisms in my experience,’ says Jonathan Bunis, COO of Espotting, ‘is the clear and unquestionable clarity of the goal for a sales rep.’ They must know what is outstanding, what is very good, what is average and what is poor – and it can often be as simple as a whiteboard with targets on it. ‘They need to be goals that the team and individual buy into and understand’ says Bunis, ‘as long as that’s the case it almost doesn’t matter what they are.’
5. Energise Them
Create physical energy and excitement in the place they work. Apart from at the very top end, salespeople thrive on buzz and there is nothing worse than a sales department that has the vibe of an accounting department. You want people jumping up when they’ve completed a deal and you want chatter going on at all times. People feed on the what goes on around them and it helps them to give good phone.