How to set your new Sales Rep up for failure

Imagine you are a new salesperson and on your first day after a brief orientation, your Sales Manager gives you a little pep talk that goes something like this:

“The customers are out there… all you need to do is go out and find them.”

Then after he loads you up with product literature and business cards, he finishes his pep talk with,

“Go get ’em tiger.”

Getting your new Sales Rep ready for battle

Sounds silly doesn’t it.

Unfortunately, many companies orientation program for new sales reps is not much different.

Sure they may spend a little time on product knowledge training. And maybe a little on how to write up and enter an order into the company’s computer system. But for many companies a formal sales training program designed to help their sales professionals succeed is not existent.

Or worse, it is so old and boring that nobody uses it.

The number one concern organizations have when investing in sales training is the cost. They think that developing a new program or revamping an existing one is going to be expensive.

What they don’t consider is the cost of having an untrained salesperson in the field.

  • The high cost of the negative marketing: The negative impression that the customer has of not only the sales representative, but your company. Untrained sales person tends to make a lot of mistakes and often a fool of them self, because they don’t know what they are doing or talking about.
  • The high cost of turnover: Salespeople will only struggle so long, getting rejected over and over again, before they will seek out easier challenges. Turnover costs can range anywhere from 30-150% of an employees annual compensation.
  • The high cost of loss sales: The difference between winning and losing in business (especially sales) can be extremely small, but the compensation is significant. An untrained sales person will lose out to the trained professional more often than not. This can be the difference between sales growth or sales decline. Between having a positive cash flow or going into debt. Between having a to expand, or laying off employees.

Effective sales training can be help your organization bridge that gap by:

  • Improving Credibility with your customer base: Customers love to work with professionals who are trying to help them succeed, not amateurs who are looking at them as a car payment.
  • Reducing Turnover of staff: Long-term employees have the opportunity to build a relationship and get to know what they need. This is attractive to customers who like to buy from people they trust.

Trust = Credibility  and Credibility = Sales

  • Improving Sales: Increasing the credibility of your sales professionals (and your company) will open the door for more opportunities, which will lead to more sales, which will lead to more revenue.

Just think of difference it would make to a new sales professional, when they enter the field confident that they know what they are doing, what they are talking about and how they can help their customers.

Armed with this knowledge and skills skill you will be motivated and prepared for success.

Then you really will be able to; “Go get’em tiger.”

How to get employees to care about your company

This excellent post was written by Karin Hurt, CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders

happy-employee

Great commercials, strong PR, a brilliant social media strategy all warrant effort when building your company’s reputation. But there’s no better PR than an army of loyal employees living and breathing your brand. You know the type–folks with enthusiasm bursting from their veins–talking up your products and services with their friends at every bar, baptism and bat mitzvah they attend.

“No, I’m telling you this works, I’ve seen it from the inside! This product has changed my life! Let me show you.”

Or  “I’m so sorry you had that experience, it’s not usually like that.”

Yes. Define your image. Yes, yes, advertise it. But don’t overlook the power of your employees to tell your story.

7 Way To Turn Your Employees into Advocates

Your best employees want to be part of the inner circle. If you want them to act like owners, treat them that way. Here’s how.

1. Acknowledge Reality

Don’t blow smoke. They know the truth better than anyone and how it’s been received. Don’t sugarcoat the issues. Share your concerns and get them involved to fix them.

2. Listen to What They Hear

Don’t discount their feedback as “noise” really listen to what they’re hearing from customers. Nothing is more disconcerting that watching employees share relentless feedback in focus groups and having execs finally pay attention when the consultant comes in and says the same thing.

3. Give Them Context

Share the bigger picture and dynamics of the parameters you’re up against. Creativity comes best when the constraints are clear.

4. Treat Them with Deep Respect

“PR or HR or Staff or the VP knows best” never really plays well at the front line. Respect their perspective, and they’ll respect yours.

To read the final 3 ways to turn your employees into advocates click here.

And I will add an eighth way:

8. Show them how they personally win

Employees make decisions based on how they win in any given situation. By showing them how the companies success can help them achieve their own personal goals, you make it an easy decision to care about the companies success. When the company wins, they win.

Motivational Quote: Profit

Customer-mania“Profit is the applause you get for taking care of your customers AND creating a motivating environment for your people.”
-Ken Blanchard, Jim Ballard and Fred Finch from the book Customer Mania

Motivational Quote: Organizational Assets

“People are not organizations most important assets… the right people are.” –  Jim Collins,  Author Built to Last and Good to Great http://www.jimcollins.com/

You Inc.

One key to becoming a success in sales is to approach your career as if you were running a business… You Incorporated.

Just think you are the CEO of your company (you get to make the overall, big picture decisions.)

You are also the VP of Sales and Marketing (You have to market and sell yourself )

You are the VP of Finance (Responsible for your finances)

And you are also the VP of Human Resources. (Responsible for your own Training)

And you can decide what kind of Education and training you are going to need.

You are in control!!!

Oh and by the way, you are also the VP of Operations, which means you have to do the work as well.

Good Luck!!!

Because

This will be the toughest sale you will ever make!!!

 “The toughest sale you will ever make is to sell yourself on how good you really are.– Richard Elmes

Not believing in yourself, your skills and your talents will effect your career more than any other factor. And many people fall victim to the “Justa Syndrome,” where they feel that they are justa technician, justa clerk, justa manager etc. By discounting the value we bring to our organizations we are not only doing ourselves a disservice, but we are cheating our company as well.

So how can you raise our self-esteem and avoid this affliction?

1. Discover where you fit:

Every position makes a difference to the success of the organization. If it didn’t the position wouldn’t exist. Discovering who relies on you, whether it is your clients or other employees, will help you realize that what you do matters.

2. Determine what your Distinctive Values are: What are the distinctive skills, talents and attributes? What do you do better than other people? Find out what that those are so you can focus on your strengths rather than on your growth points. Enhancing your strengths and minimizing you weaknesses, will not only help you stand out, but it will also help you feel better about yourself.

3. Define your personal Values:

Defining what you believe and what you are willing to do or not do in order to get what you want and still be able to look yourself in the mirror and like who you see is a key factor to your self-esteem. Because if you cross that line and go against your values a small piece of yourself deep within your soul dies. And you can’t ever get that back. And unfortunately sometimes you may be asked to do something that violates your personal values and if you know what they are with crystal clarity, you can stand your ground and say, ‘no’. Because you know the repercussions of crossing that line, are far worse than the repercussions of saying no.

4. Practice continuous attitude maintenance

Just like the food we take into our body effects our physical health, what we take into our mind effects our mental health. Be careful to take in more positive messages than negative messages. One of biggest contributors to this negative ingestion is your own self-talk. The person you will listen to the most in your life is you. So be gentle with yourself and realize that we are all flawed in one way or another. You don’t have to be perfect. I know many people who have the perception that everyone else has it all figured out. This simply is not true. Keeping a record of your successes in a journal is another good way to give your esteem a much needed boost when you are down.

5. Build your Network

The key to networking success is not to ask what your network can do for you, instead ask what you can do for your network. Taking the attitude of helping others without the thought of what you will get in return will also separate you from the crowd, impress others and help you feel good in the process. The rewards of taking this approach far outweigh the I’ll scratch your back only if you scratch mine approach.

6. Discover your bosses Love Language:

Connecting is the key to effective communication. By discovering your bosses Love Language or preferred communication style, you will connect more often. The rewards will be fewer misunderstandings and a better relationship.

7. Discover the critical 20% of your job:

20 % of your efforts will drive 80% of your results. Discovering which 4 or 5 critical tasks are that 20%, and then delivering on those tasks will not only help you succeed in your job, but it will also get noticed by your peers and your superiors.

By using these tips you will not only be helping you sell yourself on how good you are, but you will be selling other on that fact as well.

How to make decisions with the best decision making tools

“So which option is better A or B?”

Your customers may not vocalize this, but they are thinking it.

When customers are hesitating to make a decision, you need to understand that there are many factors that they are thinking of.

“Should I choose A or B?” “Should I buy now or wait?” “Should I buy here or somewhere else?” “Should I buy or not buy? “Should I pay cash or use credit?”

A lot to think about. I know whenever I have a big decision to make I use a simple tool to help me decide.

I write a pros and cons list. This is a tool that I believe dates back to Ben Franklin days. Here is how it works:

Step 1: Get a clean sheet of paper

Step 2: Draw a line down the middle of it.

Step 3: Write a “+” sign on the left side and a “-” sign on the right.

Step 4: Brainstorm all the reasons why you should go ahead (benefits) and write them down, in point form, below the “+” sign.

Step 5: Continue brainstorming and write down all the drawbacks of going ahead below the “-” sign.

Usually the answer will be clear at this point, with one side dominating the page. However, if it isn’t then proceed to Step 6.

Step 6: Assign a rating for each point. ie. 5 pts. for really important point, 3 points for somewhat important point and 1 point for ever other point.

Step 7: After assigning a rating for each point, simply add up your total. And the side with the most points is the decision you should make.

So if you find your customers hesitating, you may want to help them buy using this simple tool.

However, if you need to narrow the decision between multiple options, there is an excellent tool called a barrier analysis, which can be found in the book, From Landfalls to Legacies by Rob MacLeod http://www.macleodandcompany.com/. (This is also an excellent read because he uses a parable style, but the book has more meat that most parable books that I have read.)

I’ve witnessed Rob work with a cross functional group from a large organization (who was legendary for not being able to come to a concensis) and using this tool, they agreed on which areas of their company to work on in a few short hours. The facilitation was so successful, that it even ended early.