Salespeople hate complicated things. The field is complicated enough.
They focus on only what they need to know to sell. When explaining remuneration for instance, don’t try to be clever about it. Simple specifics are what they wants to hear- “So, if you sell 10 computers you will earn 10 per cent of the value in commissions.” I’m told that taxes should be easy to implement and collect; straightforward without being costly.
Equally, the sales remuneration structure (as with administration issues like claims) should be easy to understand and execute. I know a multinational bank that could not understand why their salespeople were not selling and yet, “the remuneration structure is so inviting”, lamented the human resources manager. “They are lazy; they just hang around the office. We are thinking of replacing them”, she concluded.
That’s until they recruited a sales manager who had been around the block. On the first day he showed the salespeople how they would earn. It was so simplified, that a visible light of revelation lit up their faces.
“Ooohh; na si wangesema hivyo” (that’s what they should have said). Immediately, the ‘lazy’ sellers had bolted out of the office to go “make themselves some money” as the sales manager had told them.
Because of the abhorrence of unnecessary details, successfully training salespeople requires one who can give practical solutions to their existing problems.
Almost, like giving a leakage to students. Salespeople want to hear, for instance, that, “’When a buyer objects with, I have spoken to your competitor already’, you respond with, ‘that’s good to hear as it makes my job easier.
Because you already know what they do, let me share with you our point of difference…’” To tell the sales person that objections are normal and he should take them in his stride is good to know but not useful. He’d rather know how to respond to them.
In the same breadth, most effective salesperson interviews shy away from dwelling on the typical ‘tell us about yourself, where have you worked before..?’, type of questions.
Instead, the interviewer quickly zeroes in on what she needs to know-whether the interviewee can sell or not. And so she could ask: “I see from your CV that you are currently selling credit cards. Is this your day to day job?” Yes. “Ok. Sell me one.” Many salespeople are caught off guard here.
“I was not prepared” is the wrong response. So is, “Er, er, first I will greet you, hallo, and then…” Instead, sell, as you would a cold call, because it is.
Sellers want instant jabs for their regular professional malaise. As such effective sales managers are almost always in their space, generating a prognosis of the respective illness and diagnosing it on the go.
Equally, effective sales teams review and resolve common sales ‘flus’ in their weekly meetings. It is the hectic nature of the sales job that generates this ‘Just give me what is necessary to sell’ mind-set, and the salesperson support structure should work with it for selling to thrive.
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