Are you frustrated that your sales team are under performing or your business is not growing as quickly as you would like?
I want to tell you the story of how David (not his real name) seemed to hit a ceiling relating to the number of effective salespeople he could have in his business, causing sales to flatten and frustration to take over.
David was frustrated that he was not able to continue to grow his business. He found that every time he tried to expand his sales team the new hires would fail to hit targets, get discouraged and leave even though he had people in the sales room smashing targets earning big money and were counted as long term team members.
What was causing this imaginary ceiling?
I asked him about his training process and how he handles his on-boarding process.
His reply. “Well, we do some training on day one and two by getting the new people to sit with one of the top performers and listen to what they are doing and they just go from there.
This is an all too common training strategy and overlooks most salespeople’s potential. I call it the caddy or tag along method. Unfortunately, it’s quite flawed for the following reasons:
• If the personality of the new recruit and the “Expert/High Performance salesperson” do not exactly align then two things can happen:
1. The expert will doubt that the new person can cut it because they are not like them, and
2. The new recruit will think that the way that the expert sells is the only way, therefore doubting that they can succeed or trying to sell in a style that does not suit them.
• This system is in no way scale-able. You cannot recruit 10 let alone 50 new people and have them all sit with the best sales person to listen in on their calls.
• Your best sales person is often at a completely different level of competency and can’t succinctly explain what and why they do what they do. (Think Unconsciously Competent).
We spoke about how training and skill development is like going to a gym. You cannot expect to do 1-3 days of work and be fully capable of replicating the results of the top performers. Even saying this seems so obvious that I am questioning why I am saying it, but then I remember that 90% of business owners act this way.
This is where sales training, repetition and discipline comes in to focus. Companies need to develop 2-3-month coaching plans to on-board salespeople to ensure they and the business are successful. Now you may be thinking “What 2-3 months!!??”. But I am not saying that you need to be teaching new skills in every day but you discuss the need for a skill, develop it and then practice and don’t move focus from developing that skill until the recruit has mastered that piece.
Having a carefully thought out training plan with a weekly theme and a viable progression plan is vital to developing sales super stars who have fully tapped into their potential.
You should be basing your sales training around the Attitudes, Behaviours, Competencies, and Disciplines that have been proven thousands of times across multiple industries.
I also want to remind you of, or introduce you to, a saying that has been around management forever –
What you inspect people respect.
What are you measuring and what are you monitoring?
Here is something I did in my businesses that created an immediate lift in results and continues to pay dividends today.
Record your salespeople’s calls and play it back for them.
Back in the day, we didn’t have call recording on our phone systems. What I ended up doing was buying a Dictaphone – (For those of you who are reading this and that are sub 30 years of age it’s a mini tape recorder).
I would walk up behind the salesperson while they were on a call, show them I clicked record and place the recorder on their desk.
The change was startling. They would ask all the right questions and make sure all the important parts of the pitch were hit upon. The simple act of doing this a few times smartened up the room. They knew that their sales conversations would be inspected, they had the chance to review what was said with me. Together we would discuss what went well and what didn’t go so well.
Over the last few months David has taken on-board some of these suggestions and been able to grow his team and fill those empty seats with productive sales people who have the chance to realise their potential. The morale has risen and so have profits.
Simply put if your salespeople don’t get better, they’re not going to feel like they are a valued member of the team. If they do not feel like they are a valued team member, they are not going to produce sales and you will end up with another empty seat. And with another empty seat, you will be back in the vicious cycle of recruiting more salespeople.
What’s the biggest issue you’ve had with recruitment and on-boarding of salespeople in your business?