Do you employ “technical” sales people. i.e. People who understand the complex technology they sell and can therefore relate to end clients on a technical level.
Often wonderful relationship builders, they enjoy talking to prospects and clients. People are always willing to chew the fat with them and enjoy their calls.
Great at customer service. Nothing is too much trouble. Valuable employees if they’re used in the right roles.
However, there’s a catch.
Many a sales manager will tear their hair out trying to get them to meet sales targets.
Before I get to why, if you manage salespeople I strongly recommend you read “The Perfect SalesForce: The 6 Best Practices of the World’s Best Sales Teams”. I promise you’ll improve the way you employ salespeople.
Here’s a quick synopsis regarding hardwired Innate Abilities or Talents which depending on what’s being sold, each sales person must have in the right combination.
- 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.
Back to our typical “technical” salesperson. We’ll call him Carl.
Carl’s likely to have two major preferences which make him great at customer service while hindering his sales performance.
He’ll be a “pleaser” and often have low “executive rapport”.
If selling industrial products he’ll go from factory door to factory door. If he gets past the receptionist, Carl will talk to the site foreman allowing him to stay in his comfort zone. Rarely will he go up the chain to executive decision makers.
He’s highly unlikely to pick up the phone and prospect. Cold calling is like a form of death to him.
Carl is happiest when dealing with people who’ve already bought. He’ll go out of his way to keep servicing them, sometimes to ridiculous lengths.
Now, while organisations need people who provide great customer service, the Carl’s of this world aren’t good at closing business. Aka, asking for the order!
In the Persuasion stakes he’s a “pleaser” not an “advisor”. Great at forming and maintaining relationships, but not good at taking charge and telling the customer the next step is “to buy”.
His Executive Rapport ability is low. He finds it uncomfortable and intimidating to speak to someone he perceives to be an authority figure or at a higher socio economic level. So he’ll never ask for them even though he “knows” this is what’s necessary.
Net result? Lots of activity but he’s unlikely to meet his sales targets.
Now don’t get me wrong. These aren’t “bad” employees. They’re just in the wrong role.
But they will shine if supported in the right way.
How? By putting in place effective outbound and inbound marketing systems which do the majority of the prospecting for them.
Remember, your goal is to get prospects to call you.
Outbound marketing could include telemarketers who cold call. Targeted physical, email and LinkedIn campaigns designed to entice prospects to request more information, joining your sales funnel where you educate them as to your solutions.
Inbound marketing using advertising (physical or web based) designed to do the same thing.
This way the Carl’s of this world have a far better chance of closing business as prospects are actively interested in what you have to offer.
Want help putting systems like this together? Drop me a note and we’ll help you attract and close more high value business.