Mary always succeeded in finding new opportunities, but her weaknesses, especially her Need for Approval, Discomfort Talking About Money, and Tendency to Become Emotionally Involved, would usually interfere with her ability to gain traction and close the sale. During the past year, she has improved enough so that she is not only finding new business, but closing it too. But she isn't out of the woods yet.
One weakness where she hasn't yet made progress is her Discomfort Talking About Money. When that weakness gets in the way, it begins a chain reaction from which recovery is nearly impossible. It could start as innocently as this:
Mary: I'm looking forward to working with you and helping you. We haven't finalized the terms yet, can we talk about that?
Mary: I'll need a deposit for $20,000 along with your acceptance on this agreement.
Prospect: OK. How about if I just send the check out in a couple of weeks?
Mary: (Knows that a check must accompany the signed agreement). Umm, OK, (Not only is she uncomfortable talking about the money, but now her need for approval gets in the way and prevents her from pushing back for fear that she will no longer be liked.)
Mary: (Oh no. Mary knows what just happened and that it must be corrected. But how can she accomplish that without them becoming angry with her? And now she is talking to herself and in a panic because she promised her boss a signed agreement today, so now she is acutely emotionally inolved.) Well, ah, is there any chance I can get a check today?
Prospect: It would be very inconvenient and I don't have time to walk it through.
Mary: (Worse now and still needing to repair the damage) Um, OK, well, we can't start anything until we have a deposit.
Prospect: I understand.
Mary: (Trying to recover without getting her prospect upset) I'm supposed to bring the agreement back with a check.
Prospect: I told you I would send you one.
Mary: I know, it's just that, well (really uncomfortable now)...
Prospect: Look, I told you I would send a check and if that isn't good enough, then we'll find someone else to buy this from!
Mary: (Devastated - it happened - he hates her now.) I'm so sorry - no -this is fine. I'll wait for your check.
One weakness, yet it has the power to bring down the entire house of cards! The salesperson goes from in-control to out-of-control in seconds. The closed deal becomes an unclosed deal. The salesperson is a wreck. That causes another weakness to kick-in. As Mary beats herself up, her Low Self-Esteem causes her psyche to further deteriorate.
Her sales manager sees another opportunity slipping away and doesn't understand how a sure sale could have been blown. It wouldn't have happened if he was on the call and he can't be on every call, so he blames Mary.
Are hidden weaknesses derailing your salespeople's opportunities? Are they preventing your salespeople from gaining traction? Are you unable to identify what is actually going wrong? Are hidden weaknesses preventing you from further developing your salespeople? Could those weaknesses prevent your salespeople from selling more consultatively?
A sales force evaluation will identify all such gremlins and help you eradicate them.