You want your team to know and use the behaviors that are most likely to move them toward their goal in every situation. You need your team to work in the high-probability zone. Top performers are knowledgeable about and talk about behaviors, actions, words, scripts, which are the best to use in typical circumstances. That is what they think about — the best way to do things.
The mediocre and the wanna be’s that never will be’s are at a loss to articulate how to handle common sales scenarios yet are masters at knowing the exceptions to the rules. They are quick to express a “Ya, but” when the most successful behaviors are discussed. Ask them how they handle very common scenarios, and you will hear “Well, everything is so different, it depends on the situation, you never know….” Lower performers are experts on all the exceptions to the rules. Every time you mention a high probability behavior, a tried and true practice of the top sales high earning superstars, the first thing you hear from a never to be is “Ya, but….”
We are in sales, deal with people and crazy things happen around the
edges. So what?
Keep your team focused on the highest probability sales behaviors, not the exceptions to the rules.
A more meaningless, nebulous, tell us nothing, divert from the real issues, ridiculous sales word has never been invented. “Let’s find out if they are interested.” “They are interested in the gizmo.” Does that tell us anything of substance that can be used to make better decisions to close a deal? NO!! It typically just masks ignorance of what is really going on and leads to wasted time.
As a manager, do those words do anything to help you determine whether a deal is real or fantasy or how to help your rep? No.
Do they fit your profile or not?
Did they express certain needs or not?
Did they describe a goal?
Did they relate specifics about what the status quo is costing them?
Were they specific about what they hoped to gain with a new vendor?
Did they share their buying criteria?
Did they relate their decision-making process?
Did they commit to moving to the next sales step?
There are a lot of things that give you clues as to whether a sale is on the right path. Whether they are “interested” tells you nothing of value.
As a manager, you need specifics. You need to know specifics to determine whether an opportunity is real and if your rep is prepared and doing the things that give you the best shot at realizing that opportunity.
You are doing your reps a favor when you ask specific questions as to matters that impact the sale. They know you will be inspecting, not assuming. Your reps will sharpen their questions and presentation skills knowing that you will be asking questions of substance and expecting real answers.
We are different. This industry, this area, this side of the street are all different.
What they are really saying is “I don’t have to change, listen to facts, learn anything or be held accountable.”
Many with average talent and drive get/stay very congruent with the behaviors of the top producers and make a lot of money. Many others, with superior talent and drive shoot themselves in the foot immediately with the “I’m different” rationale for not having to listen or do what works. It is a very common self-sabotaging behavior.
Just step up to the plate and admit that you don’t want to change, you don’t want to learn, you’re lazy, or you don’t really care about making more money, but don’t let your team use the “I’m different” excuse.
There might be 20, 30 or 50 reasons why someone might buy from you, yet most salespeople would be hard pressed to name five or six.
Are your reps fluent with the names of your top accounts in general? Your top accounts in each industry or vertical?
Do your reps have stories, examples or statistics as to how your service or offering has improved business conditions at other companies?
Are your reps prepared and fluent discussing specifics, before and after examples of how your solution has helped others?
Are your reps prepared with the depth of knowledge necessary to remove the last elements of doubt in the way of a buy decision?
The sad fact is the too often reps knowledge is not very deep. They might be great order-takers and able to skim the cream off the top and close what is easy, but not able to remove doubt, educate or demonstrate your offering to move those that would benefit greatly from your offering into the win column.
I believe strongly in what I call the “pile of words.” Very simply it is all the top verbiage, examples, names drops, specifics, stories, benefits, credibility factors that reps need to know to represent you in the marketplace. That document could be anywhere from seven to thirty pages long. I don’t care whether it is setting an appointment or discovery call, conducting the first meeting or managing an account deeper in the pipeline, there are facts, words, and phrases that best represent your offering and help prospective accounts fully appreciate how you might help them.
Without fluency in those basics, reps are left with superficial knowledge and the company is losing opportunities they otherwise could have had.
If it is not written down, it is far less likely to be used.
If it is not written down, I can guarantee you that only a small fraction of your credibility, experience and how you have helped others is being communicated to your prospects.
Write down all the top verbiage and specifics that best enable your reps to communicate your credibility, benefits, and proofs of what you can deliver.
Check under the covers. Ask them how they handle opening a meeting, their top questions, handle or cut off at the pass common objections, illustrate your strengths, on and on.
It is management’s responsibility to make sure that reps have all the top verbiage to properly represent your offering.
It is managements responsibility to make sure that reps are fluent and using that information to maximize sales.