As the calendar indicates the New Year is fast approaching, it is prime time for sales management to ask some challenging questions about their team’s performance. Most sales managers find that checking the final numbers for their team satisfies their desire to evaluate what happened over the previous 12 months. But are those results the real story of how your team performed or could they be hiding some important facts that require a deeper look?
Julie felt conflicted as she listened to the other members of the sales team talk about how they were going to spend the big commissions everyone was earning this quarter. The sales managers created a program that paid bonus dollars to everyone’s comp plan if they sold the base products and three or more add-ons to at least 50% of their customers for this quarter. The payoffs added potentially 50% to the average commission for anyone that made the extra effort. Julie was not troubled by the amount of money on the table, but she was troubled by the way a few of the top producers were willing to take advantage of some of their customers to qualify for the extra pay. It seemed to Julie that these people were crossing the line, and to her that was greedy and perhaps unethical. Of course, she wanted the extra money, but Julie felt like life was good and that the incentive was nice, but not all that motivating.
Ruben was excited about the call he just finished with the Facilities Manager at a school in his territory. The situation was a perfect fit for his company's new line of industrial faucets. Plus, the Facilities Manager told him the hardware needed to be installed ASAP or the school would face a fine from the local building inspector. Ruben couldn't help but feel this was one of those sales that all salespeople dream about, a prospect that had to buy right now and they had to buy a product Ruben could deliver. And when the timeline was ASAP, Ruben thought this was going to be a quick and painless sale. So, six weeks later, why was he still wondering when the PO was going to show up in his inbox?
If you are near my age 60+ that line might remind you of the classic television show “Dragnet.” Sgt. Joe Friday, the lead detective, was constantly reminding the people (suspects, witnesses, victims) that he interviewed to just give him the facts, nothing but the facts while he interviewed them. Friday didn’t want any of the emotional debris these people would try to add to their account of what happened. “Just the facts” was all Friday could work with, and none of the emotions could change those facts.
I often debrief sales calls with my clients and hear of the great opportunities they’ve just uncovered, but the longer we discuss what happened the reality about the greatness of the opportunity changes dramatically. One particular part of a successful call tends to be missing when the salesperson shares the details of the call. That missing element more often than not is that no deadline of timeline has been agreed to or even discussed. And for my money, when you don’t have a deadline for a decision there is not much of a chance of completing a sale.
Don’t Be That Guy.
Too many salespeople run their sales model the same way they get cash from an ATM machine; they don’t really know how much money they have until they go punch in their PIN and see if there is anything in the account. In other words, many don’t even look at their account until they need some cash, and too often they are shocked by how low their balance is. You can’t run your sales machine the same way.
We found this amazing read on hiring and building great teams from The Metiss Group and thought we should share it with you.
In the world of high performance sales the reality is that not every opportunity is a good opportunity. Too often salespeople look at every lead or inbound inquiry as a sale half won before they even talk to the other person. That “got to get a yes” mentality is often more problem than positive attribute. The sad truth is most sales people will not get the order in more than 50% of the opportunities they pursue no matter how they go about trying to close the deal. If that is the case, the real work must be done to disqualify opportunities rather than looking for reasons to qualify them. Nothing is more expensive than time wasted on trying to convince someone to buy your product or service that has no money, no interest, no need or no compelling reason to change what they are currently doing. The real skill is in getting the NO before you expend your valuable resources of time and energy chasing something that can or should never be caught. Don’t let a prospect’s interest fool you into thinking they always have the intention to make a decision or fall in love with all your features and benefits. If you are going to get a no, get it early and keep moving on to the next opportunity. Make a prospect qualify for you.