The Secret of John’s Lack of Sales Success
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Hello, I am Steve Suggs, sales recruiting expert and author of the book, Can They Sell. Welcome to my sales recruitment video blog. 5 minutes of learning to hire the best salespeople.
I was hired recently to help a client understand why a likable salesperson was not performing at expected levels. My client, Rob, described his salesperson, John, as engaging, caring, and knowledgeable of the sales process. He was hard-working, clients love him, and other salespeople take him on appointments when they need a product expert. So, I asked Rob,
“What are his challenges?”
“I just can’t figure out why he doesn’t have enough sales presentations. Also, he only has a closing ratio of 20% in an industry where the average is 35%. I’ve been on sales calls with him, and prospects love him because of his product knowledge, but he struggles with getting them to make a decision."
I first asked Rob about John’s work ethic. He said,
“No problem there. He’s the first to get to the office, and the last to leave. He’s always busy. He’s one of the hardest working people I know. So, I’m really confused about why his production is so low.”
Based on this information from Rob, we had John take a personality assessment, and here’s what I discovered.
John has low scores on the Goal Orientation and Need for Control scales. He also scored moderate in the areas of Social Confidence and Good Impression scales. He had a high score on the Need to Nurture scale and a low score on the Social Drive scale. So, what does all this mean?
People successful in sales have mastered 3 dimensions of selling:
- Product Knowledge
- Sales Skills
- Sales Productivity
The first dimension is obvious. To be a top salesperson, we must become a product expert. This was not a problem for John. He was recognized as a product expert by his customers and associates. He spent a lot of time reading and studying.
The second dimension, mastering of Sales Skills, involves learning and being able to execute a face-to-face process that involves prospecting, setting appointments, diagnosing needs, making presentations, handling objections, getting the sale, and getting referrals.
A salesperson can have complete knowledge about these steps in the sales process and why it’s important to follow them but struggle with executing the sales process because of a low resiliency to rejection and a low desire to be social for the purpose of doing business.
These were John’s two challenges. He was smart, so he had a strong knowledge of what an effective face-to-face sales process was, but he struggled with the execution. His low Social Drive caused him to struggle with finding enough leads to call by getting out into the market place and socializing for business purposes.
His moderate Social Confidence and Good Impression scores caused him to struggle with rejection. This caused him to hesitate to ask for and get appointments, ask tough diagnostic questions, and handle the objections after his very thorough presentation. John thought that if he gave enough product information, people would simply ask him if they could buy without him asking for the order. He also hesitated to ask the tough fact-finding questions which resulted in a focus on the product's features and not enough on how the benefits would solve the prospect’s particular problems.
Now to the third dimension of sales - Sales Productivity. This dimension is impacted by two things:
- resiliency to rejection
- pace of work
In John’s situation, his struggle with handling rejection caused him to subconsciously avoid situations that caused the pain. He simply did not get out of the office and find prospects. Instead, you could find John in the office studying the latest product changes. During the sales process, when gathering information and handling objections, John would regress to giving product details rather than confidently handling the objections and getting people to take action.
His low scores on the Goal Orientation and Need for Control scales caused him to move at a more methodical pace rather than the high-activity pace which was needed in his industry. This slower pace of work caused him to struggle with ending conversations in a timely manner. An hour and a half seemed like twenty minutes to John. He simply did not have an alarm clock in his head that signaled him when it was time to stop presenting and move on. His sales productivity suffered because of this time management struggle.
Remember, successful salespeople not only have product and sales process knowledge, they are hard wired to confidently execute every step of the sales process. Also, they are hard-wired to move ahead to the next step in the process in a timely manner.
This “get-on-with-it” disposition helps them manage their time well and have enough of the right kinds of activities.
Whether you’re recruiting salespeople or coaching salespeople, keep these three dimensions of the sales process in mind.
Thank you for joining me. See you next time on the Can They Sell video blog for more sales job recruitment training. As always, please leave your comments below and forward this video to anyone who will benefit. Now go enjoy recruiting the best, and have fun in the sales interview.
Learn more about the following:
• Where to find sales people, where to find sale reps
• What to look for while recruiting salespeople - 5 Dimensions of the Best Salesperson Profile Hiring sales, hire salespeople, hire sales people, hiring sales people, hiring sales reps, IT sales recruitment, recruiting sales people, sales job recruitment
• How to look for the 5 Dimensions - get questionnaires - interview questions for sales, interview questions for salespeople, sales interview, interview questions for sales people
- Sales test, sales assessment, CPQ, Craft Personality Questionnaire
- Sales interview tips
- Sales job description – page 79, Can They Sell book
- Tips for screening resumes – Chapter 13, Can They Sell book
To YOUR Success,