Sales People Not Selling? – Blame their Parents!
You have a sales team right? Made up of terrific people all very nice, relationship focused and brilliant at a building rapport. There is something missing though.
- They are reluctant to pick up the phone and hate cold calling.
- They hold off on calling larger organisations preferring instead to call smaller clients keeping to a transactional sale.
- They do not like asking for the business and basically cannot close a sale for shit.
- They spend a long time asking a ton of questions but do nothing with the information except ask more questions.
- They intrinsically believe that people buy people.
Here is what they all have in common. They are far too nice. They have been brought up so well, have the most wonderful manners and wouldn’t say boo to a goose. Oh and here is another thing, the manager of these people is exactly the same and will defend them to the hilt, blaming the lack of sales on the market, or wrong time of year or that client’s haven’t got any money. Yeah right.
You Just Have to Have It!
On that last point about client’s not having any money; how many of you out there have at least once gone into a shop and seen something you simply could not resist and have to have, more to the point where you would go into debt for it? Yes? Well we all have, and some companies make their products so essential that we keep upgrading them very soon after the previous latest thing has just come out, they are THAT essential! The point is that if something is so good or essential that you have to have it then you will find the money. The same is true of organisations, if something truly great comes along that they simply cannot do without then they will find the budget. If they have spent their current budget they will find what is known as contingency budget. The reason they will do this is because you made what you have to offer resonate with them, in other words they really wanted it, you differentiated it above the competition and you substantiated your claims so that they believed in you. Oh and that is the reason why people buy from people, because they want it they trust you and they like you.
Back to the Parents
I wasn’t letting them off the hook that easy! How many of you out there were told not to speak to strangers as a kid? Most of you I suspect and with good reason. The thing is some people carry this belief with them throughout their childhood into teens and on into adulthood, resulting in a shyness in speaking to people they do not know. They wait to be introduced and find networking and making conversation hard unless they already know someone. When this person stumbles into a sales position they find themselves afraid or nervous of picking up the phone, this is known as call reluctance. George Dudley wrote about this in 1999 but it is often forgotten. They are then bundled onto assertiveness courses or personal confidence sessions in the hope they will help. Actually they just need to be reassured that the process is natural, everyone goes through this and simply pick up the phone, after all what is the worst thing a client can say?
Here we go, Mum and Dad also taught us not to answer back or ‘cheek our elders’ didn’t they? Yes they did, and why? Because we have to respect our betters. This is very true, we respect our betters, but in sales this manifests itself as ‘over respect’ and causes sales people to believe that a large company will not “have time to speak to little me, they will be far too busy and they are very important, I am just a sales person and will get in the way and take up too much time.” If they do call they end saying stuff like “Sorry to disturb you” or “It is just a quick call, I was wondering if…” and so on. This is all down to over respect and what Sales Managers have to do is teach their sales team to have some self respect and respect their own value to a business and to client, therefore giving them the confidence and self belief that what they do is worthwhile and worthy of talking to a client about. Further more they need to encourage their sales people to have a point of view or a piece of insight that they can offer to the client. Matthew Dixon writes about this in the Challenger Sale and it works!
Why Stop There?
I know right? How many of us had pocket money? Yes lots of us, but how many of us actually got shouted down for asking for more pocket money or a raise? Also how many of you out there were told never to ask how much something costs because it is rude? Again most of us. Can you see where I am going with this?
If someone is reluctant to ask for money for themselves and have been brought up to believe it to be rude, they sure as hell aren’t gonna ask for money for someone else, least of all a business, that has sales people in it and sales people are not to be trusted are they! Oh and if you were taught to not ask the price of something, because it is vulgar and rude to ask or talk about money then the sales person will be hesitant to ask about budgets, costs and will not be able to effectively close a sale. Therefore they need to be reeducated on the value of the offering to the client, in that it will potentially make them more money or save them money somehow. I suppose the added benefit is that in time, the sales person will have the confidence to ask for a raise for himself or herself and be able to justify why.
Sales Managers need to be savvier about human behaviour and the personal beliefs of their teams so that they can diminish any fears about selling that may fester. When I train new sales people they are often nervous of asking for the business, or cold calling and when I ask about their lives, beliefs etc. I can normally uncover one of these parentally transferred values.
Please don’t get me wrong, those values are correct and appropriate and we should not be holding off on teaching them to our kids, but as emotional intelligence plays a bigger and bigger role in business life, Managers, Supervisors and Leaders should be mindful of looking out for these signs and identifying ways to empower sales people with the right tools to make themselves, their organisations and most importantly their clients money.
This blog forms part of Sales Training offered by me Simon Hares SerialTrainer7. If you need help selling either for yourself or your business, get in touch, I would be really happy to help you. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07979 537824.