A strong sales team with the proper tools and training is much like a well-oiled machine. They know what points to hit and how exactly to talk to prospects or returning customers. It’s more of a habit than the thought out process of carrying out an objective — at least that’s what they can do under the right circumstances.
Truth be told, there are hundreds of ways a salesperson can sabotage or utterly destroy the chances of finalizing a sale. Some distinct ways to kill a deal include showing up to face-to-face meetings unprepared, failing to listen, dropping the ball with follow-ups — the list can go on forever.
But all of the apparent sales killers should be controllable and avoidable when the sales team is managed properly. The real issues are the things holding back teams that are under the surface, lurking and waiting for the right moment to strike and ruin the chances of closing a sale.
For entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses or vibrant new startups, sales teams that fail to perform within their capabilities can make or break your company. There are ways to make the appropriate fixes, but it’s essential first to identify what’s holding your sales team back before you can begin to fix these concerns.
1) Lack of Desire to Get Better
First things first — does your team want to succeed?
Now that’s a bit of a loaded question because workers can be successful without having a high level of motivation. Or their motivation is fueled by obvious factors like commissions, reaching sales quotas, etc.
You could have the most highly trained sales force under the sun, and they may have the skills necessary to crush sales goals every single month. But the core concept of being a salesperson is knowing and understanding people. Your skills and knowledge may ring true today, but there’s no telling what the future has in store.
The best salespeople need to have a certain level of self-awareness and honesty with the determination to always improve and learn how to do their jobs better. Understanding the customer will always lead to more sales.
How to fix it: The first step starts with hiring and selecting candidates who at least have some interest in perfecting their craft. If you have candidates who have impressive resumes but only there for a paycheck, they may not have that desire to continually improve. The second thing entrepreneurs can do to boost sales performance is to reward and incentivize salespeople who want to take on training or peruse additional resources if it contributes towards self-improvement.
2) Relying On Outdated Or Bad Sales Techniques
Sales training has been around for centuries, and it’s true that some things will always remain true. Having said that, it’s almost a guarantee that some sales training techniques may have been suitable fifty years ago but may not be so great to rely on in 2018.
There’s a lot of conventional wisdom floating around out there, but some of that “wisdom” is just bad advice when it comes to maximizing sales.
For example, if you rely solely on your prepared, tried and true “elevator pitch,” you may run into a few problems. The problem is that the standard elevator pitch only tells your company’s story and not a story which finds meets your prospects' needs. Instead of refining your pitch, focus on building the story that features your customer as the hero.
How to fix it: Revisiting these older sales techniques requires merely rethinking the kinds of conversations your sales team is having with its prospects. Try to focus on telling stories that allow your customers to understand what they could do better or solve a problem they currently have.
3) The Constant Need For Approval
On a basic human level, we all have this innate need for approval, or the need to be liked by your friends, family, and peers. It was found while only 8% of really strong salespeople need support, over 74% of weaker salespeople have this need. The underlying problem with a need for approval is that being liked is more important than the need to make the sale.
We all want to be liked, but for salespeople with this need, they are literally standing in their own way in closing more sales. These salespeople are often uncomfortable if forced to ask tough questions. They don’t want to rock the boat and scare off their prospect.
Buyers may think they know what it is they’re buying, but in reality, it’s your sales team who has a responsibility to set the record straight. Customers sometimes need to hear things they don’t want to hear, and your salespeople will sometimes find themselves in the position to be the one to say these things. Salespeople can’t perpetually walk around on eggshells, frightened to ask the tough questions.
How to fix it: This problem can largely be avoided during the hiring process when trying to remove candidates with an apparent need for approval. Beyond that, it may be time to have an honest conversation with your salespeople and explain that this job is not a popularity contest. Developing relationships is at the heart of every sale, but
Take Control & Empower
No matter the size of your sales team, these workers will always look to someone for leadership. Whether it falls on you or your management team to rally the troops, it’s important to address things holding your sales team back and reach their maximum potential.
After receiving his Bachelor's in Journalism from West Virginia University in 2013, Stephen has been hooked on writing professionally ever since. Stephen is a content creator from Wheeling, WV, who specializes in blogs and loves connecting with folks via social media.