Tag - selling

Are Your Salespeople Riding the Wave?

The worst seems to be over but our economy is, inevitably, cyclical. Like the rest of us, it has its ups and downs. Yet, when we are in a down cycle, do you get nervous about the economy? And do other factors external to your industry, including world events (such as elections for example) cause you to tighten your belt?

Cycles in the economy and moments of national or world uncertainty are not a time for either anxiety or celebration but a time to be realistic and acknowledge that what goes up, must come down. I certainly don’t mean to be a downer but if we learned anything in the last few years I hope we learned that you need to be lean and mean all of the time, not just when the going gets tough. Your sales team needs to be able to respond to this volatility. If it does not, the competition’s sales team surely will.

During these last few months, with things seeming to lighten up, the opportunities are more fruitful. I am sure your sales team feels pretty good about themselves lately but what is the truth? If your salespeople are accustomed to having sales fall in their laps, especially newer ones, they have yet to be put to the test.

With the buying opportunities seeming to now be coming along more frequently, are our salespeople really good or just reaping the benefits of a comeback?

Right now, your sales team could be the weakest part of your company. It may not seem that way since you have most likely seen an upswing in sales, even slightly and are feeling relieved. Well don’t!

Many salespeople are showing their feathers like a proud peacock but fail to recognize that their sales in these times simply may be coming to them along with the ebb and flow of the economy but with very little true sales ability involved.

A lot of companies wait until desperate times. Then the layoffs and cost cutting begins. Smart companies do not wait. They know that they should evaluate their sales force now, finding out who has effective selling skills to utilize in the slump that may lie ahead.

When assessing your team, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the necessary elements for selling in a good and not so good economy?
  • Which salespeople have those elements?
  • Which of your sales people may not have the necessary skills, and why are we waiting to replace them?

If salespeople are not strong enough to make it through tough times, they probably do not belong on your team at all. Evaluate their skills. Go on a sales call with each salesperson and see how he/she performs in the real world. Another option is to have them each take an assessment that shows the skills they truly have—and don’t have*.

Hold your ground and act as though the economy were flourishing. Keep in mind that the economy is cyclical. When things are good, act as if you were looking for ways to build revenues and cut costs. Do it now, that way, you are not caught off guard when things recede —which they always do. Now is when real sales professionals can shine.


For further information on this subject follow the link http://www.schulzbusiness.com/interview-questions.aspx


* If you would like to take a free assessment for a salesperson on your team, email me at greta@schulzbusiness.com and I will send you the link.

5 Things; Getting ROI from Sales Training? Free White Paper


Unfortunately, too many businesses are currently caught up in the trap of being too focused on short-term cost-saving measures, rather than looking at the big picture and investing in their business. So, most are not putting their sales staff through a disciplined and strategically focused training program.


Today, they have to know exactly what to do to be successful in building their business. There is overwhelming focus on products and services, and not nearly enough time and attention being focused on the process of sales. The question is: Are you getting your ROI from training?


There’s a lot that goes into selling besides going out and making calls. Before, there was what I call low-hanging fruit that was easily gathered by salespeople who were nice and friendly. People liked them, and if they had a choice, they spent their money with them.


Today, people are a lot more selective about how they spend their money. They’re looking for professional experts, true consultants to help them build their business. Sales training should be more detailed than just an initial one-day training. Here are five things you can look at to build a successful sales force in this new economy:


Have the right management process in place. Organizations often take their best salesperson and make him the manager. This is a big mistake. If someone is an excellent sales person, they often have the traits that will make an awful sales manager. Management traits are very different than salesperson traits. It’s important to remember: Just because somebody is a good salesperson, it doesn’t mean she is going to make a good sales manager.

Focus on the salespeople’s activities. I often hear CEOs and sales directors say: “I don’t need to know what they’re doing when they’re out there,” “It’s not important for me to know what they’re doing every day” and “What’s important is to make sure that in the end they make their numbers.” That’s true. Activities are not just knocking on a door or picking up a business card and making a call. What it’s about is giving them the tools to help them understand what they are doing right and what to change.

Lack of true sales skills. We have often hired salespeople because, when they come in, they’re very friendly, very outgoing and we believe that personality will help them sell for us. That is absolutely not true. We need professionals who understand your products and services in a way that will help potential prospects ask the right questions to uncover what the real needs and the real depth of use would be. The depth of the question is what’s important, and the true professional salesperson understands how that value will be seen by the prospect, as opposed to a salesperson who is out there just being friendly and meeting people. It is not about glad-handing; it’s about being a true expert.

Lack of ongoing reinforcement. We tend to hire salespeople that have either sales experience or, more often, industry experience. Often, people with industry experience are bringing negative baggage with them. My recommendation: Find a process that you believe fits with your organization, that is the most professional and that you can track at every point in the process. Once you have that, have all of your salespeople use that process. It’s too difficult for you to manage salespeople when they each have their own way of doing things. They need to use their own personality and style, but within an approved process that matches well with the philosophies of your organization.

A poorly defined process. Make sure the process your sales department is using is the one that you feel most comfortable with. What are the pieces it should have?

First, it needs to have prospecting. There’s a variety of activities that people do, and you need to understand what your salespeople’s strengths and weaknesses are. They all need to have activities that need to be done all of the time, not just when they’re not busy.


The second thing is they need to prequalify every phone conversation. How often do they spend time in front of people that aren’t qualified – can’t make a decision, don’t have budget, don’t have enough money – and putting proposals out there and then following up. That’s not good for anyone.


And third: What are they doing when they are on the appointment? Are they actually interviewing the prospects, as opposed to just going in and telling them how wonderful the organization is and hoping they see an opportunity?


It’s very important to make sure the process is followed the way you want it to be. It needs to be an interview. After that, there needs to be a true discussion about dollars – about budget or investing. If that doesn’t happen, you don’t want to waste time on a proposal.


The next part of the sale process you want to look at is: Are they following up properly? Are they recapping the conversation and the commitments both sides made to move the relationship forward? Typically, a follow-up note or email from a salesperson says, “Thanks so much for the opportunity to speak with you. These are all the things we do, and aren’t we terrific?” That’s not what it should be. It’s a professional recap of what the conversation was, and the last step is your recommendation to the prospect based on what they said was important.


I hope that you’re taking your sales force, which is one of the most important things you have to grow your business, very seriously and spending time, energy and money on getting them trained properly. If not, you might as well just close your eyes, throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks. How’s that working for you?

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5 Issues That Prevent Optimal Sales Performance


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