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How Do You Enable The Sales Team?

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Tue Sep 22 2009

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How do You Enable the Sales Team?

Millions of Internet pages are dedicated to the subject of sales coaching and sales training. Have you conducted an Internet search for it lately?

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With all that content available, it's amazing that sales team have any trouble hitting their performance goals. Have you ever thought about it from a salesperson's shoes? Think about it: there are many different resources available for salespeople in how to close, how to manage time, how to ask questions, how to manage a territory, and how to stay motivated.

Yet, despite all this, the next evolution in selling is upon us, and it requires all salespeople to conduct a thorough review of where they are, what they stand for, and what they are trying to achieve. If salespeople aren't actively embracing this evolution, they will be passed by. This is a harsh reality that sales training sometimes doesn't address, luckily there is an answer -- sales coaching.

Have you had the opportunity to work with people who are now just just coming into the profession? Have you stopped to look at what the "new" sales reps are seeking and asking questions about? If you listen to what they are asking, you might be surprised. New hire salespeople often seek to understand "WHAT" selling actually entails, before they want to learn "HOW" to apply selling techniques. They seek first the "WHAT" and then the "HOW".

New hire salespeople want to know:

  • what are my expectations?

  • what are the goals?

  • what does success look like?

  • what is in it for me?

  • what do I need to do?

This is big difference that is often overlooked. Most sales training focuses on "HOW" to sell. This change has been born from each salesperson's ability to fully customize their own selling system to the needs of the clients and their territory. Seasoned sales pros of today have a deep command of the basics, and they've come up with something that is uniquely their own over time. They did it by seeking "WHAT" and then "HOW."

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Sales coaching can help you fully customized an approach that maximizes strengths and minimizes weaknesses -- it just took 10--15 years (or longer) to do for many people.

In the next evolution of selling, each of salesperson must have a foundation of sales competency and an understanding of the framework of selling is, before they learn a single technique.

So where does, my advice for any new person coming into sales would be to first strive and understand the universally applicable knowledge, skills, and abilities you must have to be successful. When you read as many books as you can, attend as many seminars as you can, and ask as many questions as you can, then do it some more. You must work hard to to understand the common "sales language" that other salespeople have. You must be able to engage in a professional discussion with another salesperson who might even be your competitor because of this common language. One way to think of it --- work hard to learn and discuss what it means to be a professional. Just like doctors who all understand the contents of "Gray's Anatomy Book."

The harder you work at the beginning of your career, the better we all are. Other people outside the profession will soon begin to see selling for what it is - a major catalyst in the global economy. Until that time, be proud of selling. Do not be afraid of who you are. Take comfort in the fact that there are over 30 million of you across the globe.

I also challenge each person to look at his or herself and engage in a dialog with their customers around what a great sales professional is in their mind.

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Are you contributing to the sales profession? If you are not contributing to the profession, you are not being professional. You have to take ownership and you have to take responsibility for yourself and your success. With this becoming outwardly visible, believe me, your sales will increase, the trust of your customers will increase, and your impact to others will increase.

Finally, I would submit that many salespeople have become their own worst enemy. Work hard to not let this happen to you!

It's just to easy to be complacent, apathetic, and unaware of what your professional calling entails. So do not let yourself become one of the masses.

Winston Churchill said:

"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.''

Your enemy is your own ignorance about your profession.

To overcome this ignorance attend sales training (not product training). Read sales books. Get a higher level business degree. Never stop learning. Be a student of selling - and you'll reap the rewards.

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