The trouble with interviewing sales reps is that the candidates are all in sales; they know how to present themselves in a way that may or may not reveal their true skills. Here are two simple questions you should ask every sales candidate — questions that will quickly and accurately separate those who have real sales talent from those who don’t.
Many of us do not have the benefit of a skilled sales manager to help us grow and to coach us through difficult selling situations. But even if you have a good manager, most of the time you are out there on your own making the difficult decisions as issues come up and developing your own strategies for each account. So you’d better learn how to be your own sales manager.
Here’s a central irony of sales rep coaching: Most of the time, your reps already know what they need to do to succeed. It’s rare that they are completely oblivious on what path to take or what decisions to make. But they aren’t actually doing what they know they should be doing.
As professional salespeople, we have been taught that “telling isn’t selling.” Telling a customer why our solution is the best is not as effective as helping the customer discover why it is best. And we accomplish this through smart questions. This also holds true for sales management. We cannot just TELL our reps how to improve their methods; we must lead them to discover this improvement on their own, using the best sales rep coaching question.
At this point in the year, it is probably clear which of your salespeople will have a relatively strong year and which ones will not. Clearly, the general business disruptions caused by COVID-19 have affected most companies, but some sales reps still outperform, and some underperform. Before you write off those who have been slipping, read these strategies for turning around a marginal sales performer.
If even your most skilled salespeople are delivering poor sales results, the cause may not be a lack of skills, pricing or products. The problem may lie in multiple aspects of your overall sales and marketing processes. This may be a good time to conduct a top-to-bottom examination of every component and make incremental improvements in all areas.
As all sales managers know, motivation can be a fleeting thing. Some days, your reps are inspired to achieve more. They are engaged, laughing on sales calls, and there’s a spring in their step as they traverse the office, guiding meetings with insight and outlining new processes for the betterment of the team. If only you could bottle this exuberance!
All sales reps tend to get into ruts that prevent them from achieving their best. For senior reps, the problem can be much worse, as they continue to use methods that simply don’t work with today’s customers. If you’ve got one of these too-experienced-for-his-own good people on your sales team, you need to learn how to freshen their game.
With more information available to us on products and companies, plus the growing range of online shopping venues, customer loyalty retention has become more difficult to sustain. So senior management, and especially customer service departments, must have a greater understanding of what their customers really want.
Burnout is a common occurrence among salespeople. Rather than pace themselves for long-term results, many reps try for a sustained sprint. But then they fail to maintain this aggressive pace, and the result is exhaustion and loss of confidence. When this happens, you must know how to re-motivate a burned-out sales rep.