I have managed a sales team before, and I must admit, it was not a joy-ride. Sales meetings can make anyone squirm, and periodic reviews are not something anyone would look forward to. Not all salespersons are created equal. And it can be a source of pain that while there’s a sales superstar that has already reached his target, the others are still struggling with their numbers.
Success in selling should not be a complicated process, and if you are struggling to get your sales team to get their act together, here are some tips we can learn from Stephen Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People”.
It worked for me, and I hope that it’ll work for you, too! Here they are…
Habit 1: Be proactive
Encourage your team and tell them not to let others dictate their actions – or inaction. A sale doesn’t just happen. They have to make it happen. They shouldn’t blame the economy, the buyers, or worse, the product they are selling, for not being able to close a deal. Instead of focusing on the negative, a proactive salesperson focuses on the things he can control. He starts by having a complete understanding of his product, then listing to prospects with specific problems that he knows his product can solve, and finally creating a strategy on how to best approach them.
Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind
Make your team understand the wisdom in knowing that all things are created twice. First, inside their head. Second, in its physical manifestation. With a clear vision in their mind, they are sure to make every move that is actually a step closer to their goal.
Habit 3: Put first things first
The third habit combines the first and second. Once they have learned to be proactive and became clear with their targets, it’s time to act and ensure that no time is wasted in actions that wouldn’t add to their bottom line. It’s learning to say “no” to things that’ll take time to finally materialize into revenue, and saying “yes” to the “low-hanging fruits” that are already there for the picking.
Habit 4: Think win-win
Remind your team that sales may be a very competitive field, but you don’t really have to make others suffer just so you can win all the time. In selling, you don’t just sell for profit but rather for the value the product can bring to the customer and the problem it can solve for them. Sales is never a one-sided affair. Make your customers win, and you’ll win more big time!
Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then, be understood
Tell your team to listen to their customers, and listen hard. Most of the time, communication just get cut short somewhere, and it’s very hard to go back to the main point of why they’re talking in the first place. Teach them to listen with an intent to understand rather an intent to reply.
Habit 6: Synergize
The adage “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” can never ring more true when applied to a sales team. It doesn’t matter if you have one kick-ass salesperson if all the others are lagging behind. At the end of the day, all the revenues they generate are the entire performance of the whole team. And no matter how you look at it, other departments will see you as one. Let the sales superstar share best practices, and let the ones who are struggling share what they think their roadblocks are, so that solutions may be made and processes to be put into place.
Habit 7: Sharpen the saw
Let your team learn continuously. Make them learn about new technology, attend training, seminars and events. It may make them take a day or two off from their sales goals, but you’ll never know if attending those events may be the exact thing that will take them to that “Aha!” moment to close that long-coveted sale.
Which amongst these tips do you find to be the most relevant for your sales team? We would definitely love to see what you think in the comments below!