Let’s debunk a few old fashioned sales management myths:
Myth 1 – “We must have clearly defined sales areas”
Most companies steadfastly stick to the policy that a certain sales rep must service a certain territory. Wrong! Research has shown that the higher the similarity between the customer and the sales person, the more likely it is that the sales effort will be successful.
Have sales territories, but retain some flexibility to maximize better fits and relationships between certain clients and consultants. The outcome will be bigger sales.
Myth 2 – “Our sales people don’t have enough time to sell”
More often than not I find this statement to be nonsense. I work with many sales teams and a consistent behaviour is poor self–management. I find on average that a reasonably good sales person only spends three hours a day on the essential key result areas of selling, namely – prospecting, presenting and closing. Sales revenue is only achieved when you are busy prospecting, presenting and closing. Nothing happens in business until somebody sells something.
You don’t need additional sales people. You need sales people who are optimizing their time doing the essentials. Double your time prospecting, presenting and closing and you will double your sales. Most sales managers don’t measure these three key activities so they constantly overlook the biggest area of growth in your business. A sales person’s diary will always be proof of how much prospecting, presenting and closing they are doing.
Myth 3 – “Our sales consultants are well trained”
As a regular trainer I am exposed to various industries and generally speaking I’m in a position to evaluate the competence of sales consultants in the field.
I constantly see:
- Poor or no leading edge sales skills training given to sales staff
- Poor negotiation skills
- Poor rapport skills. Rapport is the single biggest sales skill of them all. I challenge you to ask your sales team if they’ve ever received rapport skills training. I guarantee that the answer will be NO.
- Poor sales readiness. At training seminars I ask delegates to come forward and instantly present their unique selling propositions (USP’s), the key benefits and differentiators of their service or product. My most common response is nervous silence. How sales ready is your team?
- No brilliant sales presentations in portfolio form or PowerPoint. Your sales pitch should be “The greatest show on earth”. Ask a consultant to do a presentation and the answer will be “Yes, two weeks on Thursday as we need time to get a PowerPoint presentation together”. Your presentation pitch is your key differentiator, yet most consultants head into the field with a tariff card, a calculator and hope.
Management can’t expect to send their consultants into the field with the same sub-standard sales skills and tools and somehow expect different results. It doesn’t happen!
Bust these self-limiting paradigms and I assure you that your sales and profits will grow. I wish you smart selling.
John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.
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