The number one skill leaders should possess is the ability to converse and thoughtfully react to situations. We call this Coaching Situationally.
Let's be honest, tracking sales such as leads does not drive sales performance. Tracking won or lost sales also does not drive sales performance. So why do I bring this up? Recently, I met with a sales organization in the manufacturing sector that was telling me they meet with the people every single week for coaching sessions. When I asked her what was the basis of the sessions in terms of what was conducted, she started to tell me typical answers that are related to the top and the bottom of the sales funnel such as:
We all talk about angry customers. Let's be honest, sometimes we don't even want to talk to angry customers, but what if there were a way that we could change our relationship with angry customers? What if we actually looked forward to an angry customer? You must think I'm crazy at this point. Let me explain. If everybody in the world gave great customer service and every customer was happy, how would we go about differentiating ourselves? What would separate us? What would make us unique from the competition, especially when it comes to customer service?
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I received a number of emails and inquiries from my last post on the Sales Difference and think you. The Sales Difference is really when you think about it a nebulous but also very specific concept. What I mean by that is we can make it more or less what we wanted to be.
What is a great team? What do clients want? So often we define things from the inside out versus the outside in. What if client defined their expectations of how teams should work together as teammates and then we did it - wouldn't that provide a great advantage in the marketplace?
We work with a lot of sales organizations and their sales teams, and one of the most common things we hear is about is a staff’s ability to deal with objections. Objections are tough when they are related to price, competitor, stall, prospecting, etc. just to name a few.
Managers are busy. Managers wear many hats, but the thing that every manager has to remember is their management style and dare I say coaching approach is a message they send to their people every single day. I share this with respect as managers have to navigate often very murky waters every single day. The thing we don't talk about are those attributes that are often viewed or seen at the water cooler. It's a double-edged sword because if an employee is acting up or has a bad attitude managers are often encouraged to send them to the human resource department. If they need additional skill development they are encouraged to send them to the training department. This sends a very strong message to each and every employee in these situations.
One of the most fundamental things we see in our business is something that I've coined assumptive management. Let me give you one of my most infamous examples. I will ask a salesperson what are they specifically going to say in the event of a price objection. Typically, what I get is a response such as:" what I try to do is leverage the relationship…" Here's the problem with that response it simply does not answer the question. You are not going to look at a customer when they give you a price objection and say "Bob, can we stop and back up and talk about us"? Hope you are laughing?
So often we spend billions of dollars in this country on sales training and sales management programs when in fact one of the most fundamental things affect our ability to sell. It's our culture. Yes, I know many people write about culture but do we really think about culture as a strategic tool when selling to enable our sales teams to be successful? For example, if two employees were sitting in cubicles right next to each other but do not work well together or even get along for that matter how comfortable will they really be making phone calls within earshot of one another?