Are Your Salespeople Losing Their Edge?

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Sep 29, 2011 @ 15:09 PM

Most people see sales as less than a profession. It’s for people who have the gift of gab, are good at building relationships and effective presenters.

The reality is creating a relationship on demand is not easy. A more accurate picture shows the need to create significant value, overcome trust problems, manage constant rejection and prospect consistently.

Salespeople must be “on” all the time. They have a very small window to engage someone, get them to open up, uncover the real need and gain their commitment to fix the problem. All of this must happen in a fiercely competitive climate, in a difficult economy with prospects who are overwhelmed, worried about losing their job and expected to accomplish more with less.

If you have ever tried to restart an exercise routine it’s very hard. Moving a stationary rock might be easier. Momentum (forward) is required for long-term sales success and salespeople are constantly battling to maintain momentum.

I’ve overviewed the context and environment salespeople operate in to illustrate what they encounter and identify the challenges sales leaders must contend with. Remember that all of this affect you too. Small shifts in your attitude can have a profound impact on your team whether they are work based or personal.

Here are some symptoms of a salesperson losing their edge.

  • Variations in work schedule
  • Challenges interacting with team members
  • Bursts of energy followed by inaction
  • Visible stress
  • Less visibility in the organization
  • They seem distant
  • Rationalizing or excuse making

Missed deadlines

Losing your sales edge happens. It’s like rejection it’s not whether you are rejected it’s how long it takes to bounce back. Salespeople are prone to getting emotionally involved and lose objectivity. When this happens they become overwhelmed. As the sales leader you must look for the warning signs and take action. Focus on getting them to open up and talk about what’s wrong, be empathetic and allow them to vent. Check in more frequently and simplify everything.

Topics: sales, sales leadership, sales edge, sales motivation

Salespeople and Sales Leaders – Are We Humble and Coachable Enough?

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Sep 09, 2010 @ 09:09 AM


See full size imageYesterday I spoke with a client about the difference between trainable and coachable. In simple terms a trainable person has enough motivation and incentive to improve. A coachable salesperson will accept constructive criticism without pushing back or worse, giving you lip service and ignoring you. 

When I interview salespeople I spend time on whether the candidate is open-minded, introspective and honest. They seem to consistently struggle with opening up and talking about where they can improve. When I ask why, they really can’t give me a good answer. I commonly hear their fear of showing any weakness and how this will be perceived by the interviewer.

I certainly hope we haven’t reached a point where hiring managers expect perfection and negatively judge candidates who are willing to discuss where they can improve.

We are creatures of habit and when we struggle in one situation we usually face similar challenges in another. So if salespeople and sales managers don’t want to acknowledge their limitations how does this affect their ability to create high value trusted advisor status? It’s not that we need to over emphasize our problems; it’s that we need to create more trust and respect and our human side has a great impact on this.

Our prospects and sometime our clients have trouble trusting us. If we don’t show our human side, will others trust us and find us credible?

Topics: sales leadership, Bonding and Rapport, coaching salespeople

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