Ultimately, the only way an organisation can grow is by increasing sales.
While marketing’s job is to bring prospects to your door, educate and build up trust, if you’re selling high value products or services at some point prospects will want to engage with a live person.
And that is where we’ve seen so many organisations go wrong over the years, hiring salespeople who simply aren’t suited to that specific role. The result? They can’t perform, you lose money and nobody wins, including your clients who would benefit from what you could provide, but don’t buy.
Let me explain…
I never thought the perennial debate of nature versus nurture would apply to sales. Could there be such a thing as a “born salesperson” or can anyone be taught to sell effectively?
Until very recently I would have firmly come down in the nurture camp. As a sales trainer and coach I firmly believed that anyone could be taught to do anything. Sure natural ability to deal with people is important, but that can also be learned. After all, sales is as much about process as it is about relationship building. Or is it?
Reading “The Perfect Salesforce – The 6 best practices of the world’s best sales teams” by Derek Gatehouse has made be re-think my position.
Sales is about people. And different types of people excel very naturally at different types of sales jobs.
Selling low priced commodity items to the “common man” is a very different proposition to selling high priced items to very senior executives where a need to be established before the “selling process” can even begin.
Some people excel at prospecting, while others positively hate it. Some are born closers who move their clients towards signing up with no sign of aggression or pushiness. Others are “pleasers” who could be excellent at gaining rapport, determining value, presenting benefits, but never close the sale.
In any large sales team the 80/20 rule will apply. 20% of the salespeople will do 80% of the business. So what is it about these people that makes them so successful compared to the rest?
It all comes down to a level of innate ability. Some people are naturally talented in certain sales areas and if they’re matched with your type of sales process they’ll excel. Just because someone is good at selling one type of product or service, doesn’t mean they’ll do well somewhere else.
Over the next few weeks I’ll cover the 6 areas people are hardwired in, as well as the 4 selling preferences in more detail with examples from our own files.
But first let’s cover the issue of innate ability or talent.
It would be absurd to believe “anyone” could become a world class athlete. Usain Bolt or Tiger Woods have a large measure of natural talent to begin with. But talent alone in not enough. Talent must be honed through constant training, coaching and continuous practice which takes their performance to greater heights.
The same could be said for world class musicians or artists. Sure anyone can be taught to play or paint, but they’ll never achieve quite the same level of mastery as someone with natural ability who also practices and hones their skill.
So why should it be any different with selling?
Here’s a summary of abilities you should be looking for – which I’ll expand upon over the next few weeks.
Hardwired Innate Abilities or Talents which each sales person must have in the right combination are:
- Work Ethic: Quality vs. Quantity.
Do you make lots of quick sales vs. long term deals which could take months or even years to complete.
- Tolerance: High vs. Low.
Will you do whatever tasks necessary to get the job done – including stuff you dislike such as cold calling?
- Persuasion: Advisor vs. Pleaser.
Are you a born closer who naturally closes the sale or do you love “consulting” and never get the business?
- Executive Rapport: High vs. Low.
Can you naturally relate to people at the top or prefer dealing with the “common man”?
- Need: Create vs. Established.
Do your customers know they have a problem or do you need to create awareness first?
- Explanation: Obvious vs. Concept
Selling cars or houses is obvious. Selling performance improvement services is not.
- Sales Cycle: Short vs. Long
- The Solution: Unique vs. Commodity
- Products: Many vs. Few
- Decision Makers: Many vs. Few
Always necessary: Good speaker and Good Listener
If you’re responsible for a sales team (or indeed sell yourself), you need to match up an individual’s innate abilities with the type of selling your organisation requires.
You need to fully understand your sales process to land new business, fit the right people to the right role and give them the marketing support necessary to produce the results you want. And of course, train and coach them to greater success.
Which is exactly why our clients have relied on us to help their sales teams deliver bottom line results.
We have accomplished this through a combination of marketing which delivers qualified prospects to the sales team, sales management, sales training and coaching which hones sales skills and ongoing follow up systems to keep prospects and clients engaged long term.
Over the next few weeks we’ll drill down into the 6 innate abilities and 4 preferences with real examples from our files.
We’ll also demonstrate how effective marketing combined with the best allocation of sales people will considerably multiply your results. I believe you’ll find it instructive.
In the meantime, book in a marketing & sales improvement audit where we will analyse your marketing and sales systems, look at your people (skills and abilities) and show you where you have room for improvement (and I guarantee there is).
Call us on 0414-913-334 to book in.