The New Reality Show: Sales Survival


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Reality shows are all the rage and a new one is emerging on the business front:  salesperson survival.  A question often asked by business owners and sales managers is, “Do I have the right salespeople on-board to get me through this type of business environment?”   Take a look at three areas to determine whether you have the right salesperson on the sales bus.   

Watch a salesperson’s actions, not his/her words.  Is the salesperson:

  • Increasing her sales prospecting activities or is she doing the same behavior as one year ago?  Sales cycles are longer; therefore, pipelines must be filled with an even higher number of prospects than three years ago in order to hit the revenue goal.
  • Is he asking you for coaching?  Top producers seek out feedback because they don’t like getting stuck or staying stuck. 
  • Is she investing in herself by reading, listening to CDs and teleseminars? Or is she choosing to spend her time watching a reality TV……hoping to pick up a sales tip. 
  • Is he showing up early to the office to take full advantage of revenue producing time?  Or is he getting to the office, then getting a cup of coffee, then organizing his day?  (Meanwhile, your competitor has made 10 outreaches to your key prospects and clients while Joe is getting set-up!)  
  • Is she taking extra good care of current clients?  Never forget who brought you to the sales dance!   The last time we checked, no one ever complained from being over appreciated!

Take note of the salesperson’s resiliency. 

This is the number one area that business owners and sales managers should be looking at when hiring a salesperson or reviewing his/her team.  When interviewing, go deep with questions that determine if this salesperson has ever faced difficult times in his life.  Has the salesperson ever worked hard to achieve a goal?  Stuck with something, even when he/she felt like giving up?  If you have a salesperson on your team that can’t answer yes to the above, this salesperson may have a hard time persevering during this downturn.  The salesperson scoring low in resiliency is likely to blame poor results on lack of marketing materials, their territory or prospects instead of looking at their own actions and selling skills. 

Is it the sales team or you? 

Now, let’s turn the focus to you, Mr. CEO or sales manager.  You may have the right salespeople on-board; however, you might be failing as the leader.  In tough times, sales managers need to manage more, not less.   Do you have KPI’s developed for the sales team?  Have you increased your coaching time with the team?  Are you helping the sales team hit the fun quota AND the sales quota?  With the onset of the internet and social media, the profession of sales is changing.  It’s your job to make sure the sales team is equipped with sales skills that will beat the competition.  Good bonding and rapport is not enough to win business.

It’s a new reality.  Are you and your sales team ready to do what it takes to ‘survive?’

Colleen Stanley
Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership, Inc. a business development consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, referral strategies, consultative sales training, sales management training, emotional intelligence and hiring/selection. She is the author of two books, Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success, now published in six languages, and author of Growing Great Sales Teams.


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