Are There Any Magic Wands for Sales?
Yesterday was week two of what’s going to be once a week massages for several weeks. My upper back has 2 knots that feel like big concrete blocks. At the end of the treatment I asked how much movement was she able to make on the 2 knots. Her response was – they are only hands, not magic wands. I got the message – not much – the knots didn’t get there overnight – and I might have been expecting too much.
Selling is the same. Your sellers didn’t stop responding well to objections or reduce asking solid investigate questions in one day. They began acquiring bad sales habits over time. And you as a sales manager either overlooked it, didn’t notice it or hoped they’d figure it out on their own and get better. Warning: that isn’t going to happen. Just like the knots in my back are not going away anytime soon. I expect I’ll have the “hands” – not “magic wands” work their magic on me for at least 6 weeks if not more.
Tips to get the kinks out of your seller’s bad habits:
1. Field Rides. When is the last time you made joint sales calls? Not the one to make a joint presentation. I mean the days or weeks when you ride for the day, or several days, observing a variety of sales situations. You aren’t there to sell for them. You are an extra set of eyes and ears discovering what the seller is doing well and looking for areas for improvement. Open or turn on your electronic calendar now and begin scheduling sales rides.
2. Sales Meetings. Most sales meetings that I’ve observed are all information dumps. Sales meetings can be your low cost/no cost training opportunity if they include a selling skills workshop. It’s an easy way to fix bad sales habits, curb their re-occurrence and develop best sales practices. If you don’t have time to figure out how to teach the skill here’s a resource for you: Sharpenz.com. They have 33 Ready-to-Go Sales Training Kits for 30-minute sales workshop meetings. Each kit is complete with the leader outline and reproducible handouts.
3. Coaching. Too often when sales leaders say they are coaching, they really aren’t. If you think conversing about what did you sell for me today, what are you working on, or putting out the latest fire is coaching – it isn’t. Business Week’s article, Five Steps for Effective Sales Coaching, reports coaching needs to be an “ongoing, continuous process where one coaching conversation is a continuation of the last” and that it needs to “remain an ongoing priority, not a passing fad.” If you or your sales leadership team isn’t already coaching – beware – you can’t just tell someone to start coaching. Coaching is an art and a science as is selling. Provide the right coaching training.