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Getting Results from Your Sales People

Are you trying to scare your salespeople into getting results? Where there’s fear, there can be no enthusiasm. And where there’s no enthusiasm, there are poor sales.

1.) Take a good look at yourself. Are you really projecting enthusiasm for your company and its products? Do you come in everyday with a smile on your face? Are you truly happy to be where you are? Your reps’ attitudes will mirror yours. And sincerity is everything. We all know when someone is faking it.

2.) Old school selling tactics comfort sales managers and CEOs, but they aren’t necessarily the best way to sell. I’ve seen lots of sales managers require their reps to make 10 or 20 cold calls a day. At the end of the day the rep has made a lot of calls, been rejected a lot, and is slowly becoming a broken man or woman. But the manager knows there was activity! Yahoo! Someone made some calls! Never mind that they never saw a decision maker and their morale is destroyed by the failure to actually sell anything. The manager is overjoyed that he has something to show his boss. Call were made! Pavement was pounded!

Ice cold calling is the least effective way to sell. People buy from people they know and like. In fact, 80% of buying decisions are made because the buyer LIKES the sales person, not because the price was the lowest or the product superior. Who likes someone who shows up without an appointment? Who even SEES someone who shows up without an appointment? Building relationships is the key to selling success.

(And FireStar has a sales training seminar designed to teach reps how to do just that.) If you are pressuring your reps to generate call reports rather than helping them close sales, you are micromanaging, not leading. And many reps with good potential will leave.

3.) Good salespeople have to learn to listen effectively. Develop your listening skills and those of your salespeople. More sales are lost by an inability to hear objections, closing signals, questions, and true customer needs than by not making enough cold calls.

4.) Are you giving your reps all the tools you can? Some sales driven companies have the worst marketing programs imaginable. They send out sales reps with no backup. There aren’t effective direct mail pieces to help warm up prospects. There are no newsletters or e-zines to communicate with prospects and to further develop current customers.

There isn’t even a good database to track activity. Companies may sponsor events, but the reps aren’t invited to attend. Effective marketing and an outside salesforce go hand in hand. Expecting a salesforce to do it all is like sending soldiers into battle with no weapons. It won’t win the war, and it will generate one hell of a body count.

5.) Do you treat your reps like the enemy? Believe me, they want to generate sales. They hate ending the day without a success. They dread facing your look of disappointment and the often public humiliation of the sales postings. Are you treating them like your team and coaching them to victory or are you convinced they are a bunch of slackers loafing and goofing off whenever possible? People rise to our expectations of them. What do you expect out of the people you hired? Are you willing to stop micromanaging them and start believing in them?

If you’re a sales manager, I don’t mean to be hard on you – I’m just trying to wake you up to your role as a leader. Your salespeople may be having a difficult time. Coming down hard on them and pressuring them is not the answer if you want to produce results.

I also know that that is exactly what is being done to many of you, you are merely passing it on. But does it work on you? Does it inspire you to be creative and produce your best work ? Are you happy to come to work in the morning and do you look forward to finding out what you can make happen that day?

Everyone wants to feel appreciated and believed in. I bet you’re already giving 110% and working extra hours. You want to impress the boss, not feel like you have to avoid the boss. You’d like nothing better if the boss would stop you in the hall and tell you he appreciates all the hard work you’re doing.

Support your people. Believe in them. Give them the information, marketing materials, and training they need to do their jobs. Remember it’s your job as leader to see that they succeed. They are your team, not your enemies.

Feel free to pass this article on to YOUR boss – even the best leaders sometimes forget.

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