Is It a Sales Plan or a State of Mind That Needs Support?
by Jeffrey Gitomer
All salespeople are given a plan, a quota or some kind of numbers to achieve as a major part of their job requirement.
The key word is part. The plan or the quota is a small part of the achievement process.
How the company and leader support the salesperson’s effort is another part – the major part.
The tools, the training and the encouragement to achieve will determine the salesperson’s ultimate belief, effort and outcome – aka results.
Sales leaders will always make value judgments on their salespeople’s ability to produce numbers, but rarely will they step up to bat and self-evaluate their own effort to support and encourage their sales staff.
Sales leaders are quick to judge the capability of their salespeople strictly by the numbers. They get reports to keep accountability high. They get reports to check on activity. They get reports to check the numbers.
Classic Example: If the number each salesperson is to achieve requires cold calling as a major part of the sales function, more than 50 percent will not make the grade. They will become discouraged by a 95 percent or more rejection rate, be unhappy, feel pressure, most likely lie on their sales report and ultimately quit or be fired.
Sales Reality: Most salespeople resent that they are held accountable for certain numbers that don’t have anything to do with actually making sales. In addition, most resent that their sales training is focused on the product rather than selling skills.
Bigger Sales Reality: Sales is not numbers, it’s a rhythm. Any kind of sales requires you to get into a rhythm, and that rhythm must be consistent. It’s not the song, it’s the backbeat. Backbeat provides the glue to music. Bass and drums, not lead guitar or vocals. Consistent beat, not a one-minute solo.
Biggest Sales Reality: For salespeople to feel “in the groove” and get the sales rhythm, there has to be leadership support, and there has to be leadership encouragement.
Leadership has to change the word accountability to responsibility. The salesperson is responsible for himself or herself, responsible for the outcome and responsible to the boss and the company for productivity.
Once salespeople become responsible, they are automatically accountable to everyone without ever saying the word accountable.
But the boss and the company also have their own responsibility to support that salesperson 100 percent.
Here are the 7.5 responsibilities that sales leadership has to sales staffers for them to make their numbers happen without ever saying the word “accountability:”
1. Impeccable company, product and service reputation. This is foundational and fundamental to a salesperson’s belief system – and a prospective customer’s belief system. Belief fuels enthusiasm. Note well: Reputation arrives way before salespeople arrive.
2. Social media attraction. Active participation in social media is no longer an option – it’s an imperative. And active participation, including one-on-one communications with customers, creates attraction. Attraction is also known as leads.
3. On-demand, Web-based sales and personal development training. Salespeople need information and answers to make sales. The right training will help the salesperson and encourage the salesperson. If the staffer can access sales information on a mobile device while waiting in the lobby for a sales appointment, that staffer will gain a new self-confidence that will help him or her make the sale. (Go to www.gitomerVT.com to see an example.)
4. An easy-to-implement philosophical approach to the sale. There must be an approach and a strategy to the sale that salespeople are comfortable with, and will employ during the selling process. One that takes the emotion of the selling process and converts it to a customer buying process.
5. The ability to differentiate from the competition. Salespeople need a value proposition, value-based statements and value-based questions to genuinely engage any customer or prospect. And the customer must perceive that value as value.
6. Genuine, real-world, hands-on leadership encouragement. Salespeople want to feel the love and the support of leadership, not the pressure. Senior-level executives and sales leaders must be out on sales calls as often as possible. This way they discover the real world – the real world of making sales that will help them when they make the next sales plan.
7. A generous comp plan. When the comp plan changes, make sure the compensation goes up. Salespeople need a monetary carrot to perform at their highest level.
7.5 Internal harmony. Whatever your internal process is, there must be a harmony between sales, accounting, shipping and any internal administration that deals directly with salespeople and/or customers.
I’ve just given you the tip of the sales performance iceberg. Most of the iceberg is not visible if the salesperson is fighting market conditions, customers and competition to gain a competitive and profitable edge. Non-secret formula for sales success: Give salespeople encouragement and support – and they will give you sales.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 best-selling books including “The Sales Bible,” “The Little Red Book of Selling” and “21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling.” His books are available as online courses at www.GitomerVT.com. For information about training and seminars visit www.Gitomer.com or www.GitomerCertifiedAdvisors.com, or email Jeffrey personally at firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2015 All Rights Reserved. Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer. 704.333-1112