So in my last blog post I tackled the issue of money being perceived as evil. And hopefully you agree with me that it’s not. Nor is the love of money evil. Remember, it’s all about context and what’s going on in your head.
Now what about selling? Is selling evil? And what about salespeople? Are they heroes or villains? I think it’s safe to say that goods and services don’t sell themselves, so without selling the entire global economy would come crashing down. So selling is good and salespeople are a necessity.
Then why does selling get such a bad rap? Why do consumers loathe the thought of walking into a car showroom on a Saturday afternoon? Why do business owners hide in the back room when a salesperson walks in the front door? And why do CEOs hate their own sales staff?
The problem boils down to one simple, yet profound issue – bad attitudes and bad habits and both stem from bad training … or no training at all.
So Mr. Business Owner and Ms. CEO, if you have a sales team that’s underperforming or one you refuse to admit publicly is on your payroll, here are a couple of thoughts.
Teach your salespeople to shut up and listen. The simple reality is that people have problems they need solved. Your company might have the product or service that’ll solve those problems. But your sales staff will never know that unless they stop talking long enough to ask relevant questions and wait for an answer. A big part of selling is the discovery process. I call it gathering intelligence.
Imagine a general leading his troops into battle without first gathering intelligence on the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, location and movements. Or a doctor who prescribes medication without first interviewing and examining the patient.
Salespeople who like to talk it up instead of gather information are novices at best and time wasters at worst. No wonder people want to avoid them.
Teach your salespeople about every aspect of your products or services. How on earth can they fill a need if they don’t know what they have to work with? How can they get prospects mentally and emotionally engaged if they aren’t fully engaged themselves? How can the prospect have any confidence in your product, and by extension, your salesperson and your company, if your salesperson is clueless?
Sales is a professional career path. Wanna be smart? Then train your sales staff as professionals, treat them as professionals and pay them as professionals. Do that and they’ll present themselves as professionals and the “evil of selling” would vanish overnight. Think about it …
If your salespeople knew how to ask the right questions, made their presentations based on the intelligence they gathered and actually knew a thing or two about what they were selling, there would be no need for high-pressure sales tactics, for lying, for cheating, for “playing games” and on and on. There would be no adversarial relationship between prospect and salesperson. Your sales staff would be recognized and sought after as experts in the their field. If you want to increase your bottom line begin by investing in your salespeople.
All the best,