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Will Your Sales Team Make it Through the Current Economic Turmoil?

What if I told you that there are just 4 key codes that must be in place if you want to unlock the power of your sales team and navigate your way through this current economic turmoil and beyond?

After all these years of searching for the elixir, the cure all, the silver bullet… I have come to discover that for you to run a successful online business you need to focus your energies on understanding and implementing the key code combination that I am about to share with you.

These 4 codes are the recipe that will unlock the power of your competitive sales team to deliver their sales results …consistently!

However, because there is far too much information to dump on you in just one sitting, I have decided to send you this newsletter over a number of installments which will

  1. give you time to digest the material and
  2. more importantly, execute the ideas contained herein.

Before I share them with you, let me establish a context for the information I intend to divulge. Come into my common sense corner for just a quick moment and let’s understand a principle truth that you as a sales leader must first to come to grips with. Whilst this core principle may sound pretty basic and “un-sexy” it is the fundamental ingredient of any highly functional team.

You can teach a pig to climb a tree but you’re better off to use a monkey.

Right now, do you have the right people in your sales team to carry your company through the rapids of economic turmoil the world is currently experiencing? Currently your team would be made up of combination of four types of salespeople.

Typically salespeople will tend to fall into one of the four categories below:

Firstly, the Rainmaker.

The naturally talented rainmaker has an innate gift for selling. These gifted salespeople will make sales whatever, wherever, and for whomever they sell. These make up between only two to five percent of the sales population.

The rainmaker is recognized as that rare bird that is exceptionally successful in bringing in profitable business to his or her organization.

Oh, how we wish we had three or four of them! How we struggle to find and keep them! How much pressure is relieved when we have a rainmaker on the team! These people are the naturals. They are the gifted and talented salespeople. These rainmakers can sell in any economic climate!

These are the Roger Federers, the Mohamed Alis, and the Tiger Woods of selling. When you watch Roger Federer on the tennis court, you know that you are in the presence of a “natural.” The media describes Roger’s tennis using words such as clinical, mastery, finesse, artistry, graceful, and so on. Similar things are said about Tiger Woods and other individual sporting greats. What makes these players so great are not simply their well-honed and practiced skills, but their awesome natural talents. These abilities when combined are harnessed to deliver greatness.

“Natural born” salespeople are like this too. That’s why we call them rainmakers.

We watch in awe as they build rapport with the “un-rapport-build-able.”

We are amazed at their ability to read the state of play, asking just the right questions at just the right time.

We are “gob-smacked” at their ability to make things happen, and to pull last minute rabbits out of seemingly empty hats.

We look back at what they do, and how they do it, and are struck with wonder.

Yes they have skills, yes they have knowledge, but most importantly, underpinning all of that is pure, natural talent. If you’ve ever had the good fortune to work with a rainmaker, then you have, most likely, at some time, had the desire to clone them. Rainmakers have an innate talent, a natural ability and insight that enables them to “sell intuitively.”

Unfortunately however, the universal problem that all business owners, entrepreneurs and sales managers face is that whilst there are many pretenders and try-hards about, there are simply just too few real rainmakers to go around. So whilst it’s wonderful for you if you should be so lucky as to have a rain maker on your team, the question that probably haunts you constantly though is, what if they leave? What if they are poached by your competition?

Also if you are fortunate to have a rainmaker on your team you know how precious and demanding they can be. There are no doubt also times where you feel held to ransom by these talented individuals and wonder if they are worth it!

Secondly, experienced salespeople

The second group are those experienced salespeople with many years of knowledge, education and street smarts behind them.

Typically they would have been around a particular industry sector for a number of years. Through years of dogged persistence they have advanced their sales careers. These savvy sales people are often regarded as experts in a particular field.

Years of experience have honed their knowledge of how to apply their solutions to their customer’s problems. Their knowledge and skills, which have evolved and developed over time, help them to establish credibility quickly and easily with the customer. They have sharpened their instincts over time and have learned through trial and error how and when to create sales.

Unfortunately, it takes years to grow and develop these sales producers. If only you could “put an old head on young shoulders!” These experienced salespeople only make up between twelve and twenty percent of salespeople.

Thirdly, well-trained process driven salespeople

There is a small group of salespeople who have been fortunate enough to either currently work for, or they have had the opportunity to work for, a sales organization that invested in them with effective sales training.

They have also learned to follow a pre-tested specifically engineered sales process that consistently delivers results. These well-trained, motivated and process directed sales people utilise their proven knowledge and processes to significantly outperform their competitors.

Their training includes product knowledge application training which allows them to clearly understand the problems that their product/service solves. People persuasion skills and how to follow a pre-tested specifically engineered sales process are also part of their ongoing training and coaching regime.

However, unfortunately because of the investment required to train and up-skill these salespeople, they are very few and far between. In fact this small, well-trained, motivated and process directed group of salespeople make up only around ten to fifteen percent of the sales populace.

The forth group, the ordinaries

Finally there is the group that the large bulk of the sales population fall into, this is the category of pedestrian or mediocre salespeople.

This class of the sales population have managed to maintain a career in selling by scraping by, often simply by stumbling across “ready-made sales.” In the majority of cases, these salespeople have been fortunate enough to come across situations where the customer is already in the market ready to buy or change suppliers.

Often they are just the right person at the right time. It is more often than not that the customer chooses to buy, rather than the salesperson actually making the sale. With limited training and no clear sales process to follow, this group of salespeople often move from job to job, industry to industry, falling dismally short of their selling potential and sales results.

During good economic times this group of mediocre sellers somehow fly below the radar and get by. However when things toughen up and sales have to be made, this is when this group come unglued. Depending on the industry, this majority group of salespeople make up anywhere between fifty to sixty percent of all salespeople.

Actions

Review the players that make up your sales team. How many of them are:

  1. Rainmakers
  2. Highly experienced
  3. Process directed
  4. Ordinaries

Looking at the your numbers above, on average, if you are like most sales teams out there in the market place, then the majority of the salespeople that make up your sales team are not likely to be rainmakers, highly experienced or process directed salespeople. The bulk of your sales team will be made up of ordinaries.

Now, I can almost hear you wailing, not me! Not my team! Well, let me challenge you to re-read the definitions of the four types of sales people. Seriously, if your life depended on it would you really back the players on your team? Track sales force on your team that you may have credited with being process driven. Do they consistently deliver their required sales results month in, month out?

What about those salespeople who you have ascribed to fall into the category of “highly experienced”? Are they really a match with the definition above, or have they just been around forever? Do they build credibility quickly and easily with customers and prospects? Are their sales instincts really sharp or have they been blunted by years of neglect and lack of renewal? Do they truly know how and when to create sales?

If you were the manager of a world class sports team, would you be happy to take your team onto the field as they stand right now?

Well it may not be life or death and you may not be the manager of a world class sports team, but why would you settle for a second rate sales team who deliver substandard results?

Forget about the fact that you are working in a tough economic market place. Someone, somewhere is currently still achieving their sales quota in your space! Therefore for you to manage and drive a sales team that delivers consistent sales results, as a sales leader you only have two options, either…

  1. Work hard to find and keep rainmakers, highly experienced or process directed salespeople. If they are too hard to find and maybe cost too much to hire and retain, then your second option is to…
  2. Develop your own team of motivated process directed salespeople. Hire effective sales people.

In other words if you currently don’t have a champion team, you will need to either go on a recruitment drive or implement the strategies and processes required to unlock the potential of your sales team.

The fact is that finding and hiring rainmakers, highly experienced or process directed salespeople may be too expensive or take too long.

Also, due to a number of variables, replacing your current team may just not be an option right now. The great news is that you can develop your own team of highly process directed and motivated sellers.

Because whilst finding rain makers and experienced sellers may require an element of good fortune, sales force automation, training and developing process directed salespeople is well within your locus of control. There are some specific things that you can implement that I will show you the over the next few weeks to help make this happen.

Over the next few articles it is my intention to unpack the 4 key codes that make up the combination which will free your sales people from their current limitations and ensure that you develop a team of champions!

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