Rebecca Matchette bec, inc.
Widgets in Wahoo Or Thingamajigs in Tuckahoe?
Are all salespeople are created equal? Is there a different skill set required to successfully sell high-end cars vs. office supplies? Do selling skills that work in New York City transfer to Tulsa?
In considering these questions, start with recognizing that different is neither good nor bad. Salespeople have different abilities, motivations and natural talents. It is in honoring and leveraging these differences that smart sales managers can build a productive, coherent and profitable sales force.
Top-performing salespeople have one thing in common: they are achievers. With the right fit, they meet sales goals in spite of, or because of, their different behavioral styles, personality types, motivations and abilities. The trick is to find the sales personality that fits YOUR business, based on things like product, client make-up, geography, company culture, etc. The bottom line is that the makeup of ‘high-achievers’ may differ greatly across the board.
Sales manager are desperate to locate, hire and retain "million dollar" sales staff. Yet these managers rarely know what the personality makeup is of high performers in their organization. They do not know what to measure! A ‘hit or miss’ approach is used. Sometimes a sales assessment instrument may be administered but often it measures one thing only – can this person generically sell? Better than nothing but usually not precise enough to make the best hiring decisions.
A much more accurate approach is to leverage historical information. Do you currently have a salesperson or two that you would like to ‘clone’? If so, how do you know what makes that person tick (i.e. successful in your environment)? Using historical information can predict future success.
The sales rep who is successful with cold-calling and lead generation may have very different skills from the sales rep who excels and sustaining client relationships. The former views prospects as people they simply haven't met yet and welcomes the opportunity to make a connection. The relationship builder, on the other hand, may not be comfortable "talking to strangers."
The cold caller thrills to the chase but may lose interest after he gets the sale. Relationship builders take the nurturing, and more time consuming, approach to gaining new business. Either style can be effective as long it meshes with your client's buying style.
Here are some questions that distinguish sales environments and the salespeople who work them:
- Are sales staff expected to network? Not everyone is comfortable networking, nor are all sales reps skillful with this art.
- Does your company provide sales leads or are sales reps responsible for prospecting?
- How sophisticated is your product? Is a college degree or high intellectual ability required to understand and sell the product?
- How competitive is your market? Will this salesperson be building new relationships or attempting to grab market share from your competitors?
- Does your sales process require face-to-face meetings? Can your product or service be sold by phone or electronically through email or a website? (Extroverts prefer direct personal contact; introverts prefer voice mail and email.)
- What are the compensation options? Long or shorter sales cycle?
Do you know what makes YOUR successful salespeople tick? If not, it might be time to consider putting a measurement system in place!