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I was at the Chiropractor this morning having a sometimes too frequent adjustment. Terry, who I’ve seen for years, has a photo of a perfect road that turns sharply, exposing torn asphalt, then straightens into a perfectly paved road again. The caption says, incident, acute care, rehabilitation and maintenance. Today I was in rehab. I’ve learned (Rather slowly) that when I stop the maintenance it usually leads to rehab or acute care.
The term manipulation (one definition) is to move something from one position to another i.e. my vertebrae need to be moved from out of alignment into alignment. When I’m on track this is quick and painless and when I am not on track I need multiple visits and the recovery (muscle, bone and ligaments) takes longer and is more painful.
Developing salespeople is challenging primarily because it requires that salespeople change their behavior in response to another person’s actions. Building a strong relationship tends to compensate for the need to change behavior. Salespeople have needed to develop expertise delivering a value presentation and invest time with their prospects. That has changed. Today, your salespeople must be capable of being the value in the same way that advisers do requiring salespeople to change their behavior. To succeed at this, practice, role-play, demonstration, risk taking, great planning and fundamentals must be embedded in the sales culture and sales management DNA.
Consider the following statements. Do they sound familiar?
- Sales managers are often too hands off
- Their coaching involves diagnosing the situation and providing feedback on next steps
- Role-play has a more limited role
- We don’t test people’s ability to react in the moment, i.e. “your price is too high, what do you say?”
- Weekly practice time is very limited or non-existent
- We don’t know enough about the details of our salespeople financial situation
- We as managers don’t practice
Unless your top performers lack the passion and incentive to be better as salespeople, and many do, the salespeople who need more rehab and acute care will generally be your mid and lower tier performers. However, depending on how much growth potential they have and how quickly this can be realized, you may get great value from investing your time in them.
For sales development to have an impact, you need highly motivated (to be better) people, a well-defined milestone-centric sales process, that you hold people accountable to following. Schedule and hold daily / weekly 1-1 meetings, regular small group practice, clear measurable KPI’s, salesperson-created personal development plans which are reviewed weekly, the ability to ask, not tell, lots of patience, the desire and willingness to allow people to make mistakes, learn in their own way at their pace and a high degree of personal humility. Sounds easy huh? Oh, and one more thing. You must love coaching people more than selling!