Questions and answers from David Peterson's ask the expert forum.|
Topic: CONFIDENCE - The #1
tool in your sale's tool box?
I'm not a traditional sales manager
running a team of 10 in an office. I'm actually a direct marketer and I have
about 40 people under me. Unfortunately only about 7 or 8 of them are active at
any one time. So I have about 32 or so that sign up for my program, attend a few
meetings and then drift away.
I have tried everything,
acknowledging their achievements at team meetings, rewarding them with SPIFFs,
bringing in other successful associates to tell them their story but nothing
really works. Better said... nothing really sticks, they leave "pumped up" then
they just drift away again. HELP!
The good news for you is that you
are not alone. Regardless if you are in an office setting or in a direct
marketing setting managing sales representatives is basically the same with
one general difference. That difference is:
Professional Sales Managers
typically have about 80% of their staff on board and on pace of their
sales targets. You are sitting closer to 20%.
Still even professional sales
managers have some segment of their staff that is not performing. So again
you are not alone.
The really good news is that
there is one trait that all failing sales representatives are typically
lacking. Now this trait will not cure all of your sales ills but it will if
you can instill it on your reps give you an immediate impact on your SALES!
That trait is
confidence! Sales representatives that lack
confidence lack the ability to be "believable." If your reps aren't
believable then they can't build the trust needed between buyers and
That trust and believability
moves the sales process down the path towards the close. Reps without
confidence ultimately give up and drift away.
So how do you give your reps the
confidence they need? Obviously in depth product training is a must. The
more your reps understand your product the more likely they are to speak
with authority about your product.
What's after the product
After product training you have
to train the reps on your specific sales process. The process that the other
representatives are using to make an above average living. If 20%, 40% 60%
or 80% of your reps are having success with your sales process then 100% of
the reps need to learn it inside and out.
What's after the training on the
You have to train the sales
representatives to believe in themselves. This is even more important than
the product training. Reps that are confident in their
own abilities can sell anything.
It needs to be drilled into your
salespeople that once they understand your product and once they understand
your sales process then they know more than 99.99% of all Americans on your
product line and how it fits into your prospects and customers business.
That's the key...
getting reps to understand that THEY are the authority on your product
and your industry.
Once they understand that THEY
are the authority then they will start probing and pitching your product
line from a standing position facing your customers verses their current
method of avoiding them at all cost.
Teaching reps to believe in
themselves by proving to them that THEY are the authority in their field...
now that is the #1 tool in your sale's tool box.
Topic: Managing Experienced
I am a new Sales Manger. I just got
promoted. My problem is that all of the sales representatives are older and more
experienced in sales with this company than I am. I have years of experience
selling to this new company but I was just hired on to run their sales
department. I know most of the current sales reps from my previous position.
If you could tell me some words of
wisdom that could help me managed these older, experienced reps what would that
A lot of us have been put into
this same situation. You just got hired into a supervisory position in a
well established sales organization. Sales in the organization may be good,
in fact your sales department may well be world class. So here are the two
golden rules that you need to observe to "break"
into your new role.
Earn their trust, work hard
for them, go to bat for them, and they will begin to work for you.
That's what you are shooting for a team that wants to work for you, not
just your company, but YOU. Always
remember that Sales Managers are basically overhead. Needed overhead but
overhead nonetheless. Don't go in with guns-a-blazing. Go to bat for
them instead, earn their trust first.
Before you begin coaching
make sure you understand the departments entire chain of command, and
the reps internal hierarchy. There are always A,B,C and D players
in every organization. My advice (and you need to take this advice) is
to coach the "D" players out, coach the "C" players up, coach the "B"
players after the "Cs," and finally ask the "A" players for advice. Once
the department is yours then you can coach the "As" and really work on
the "B" players.
This type of situation, where you
are moving into a supervisory position in a well established sales
organization can be tough. You need to have supervisory experience to pull
For all hiring managers reading
this I will say it one more time... Hire an experienced Sales Manager if you
find yourself in this position.
It is a completely different
situation if you are trying to revamp the department or start over. But when dealing with a room full of type
"A" personalities it's best to remember the two rules above.
Remember the two rules and you
will be miles down the road in a few short weeks. Good luck in your new