Your weekly disruption
Your weekly thought-provoking exploration into building disruptive capabilities.
Lifting The sales Game – Part 1
Last week we looked at The Coaching GIFT of feedback which focused on the role of two way feedback in the Sales Game. Today we are going to delve into how a coach can lift the Sales Game from being a backyarder to Semi-Pro. Next week we will take this up a notch from Professional to World Champs.
The following table highlights the different levels of the Sales Game and the lesson that salespeople need to learn at each stage. Salespeople at the Backyard level need to learn belief. They then need to master activity to progress from Amateur to Semi-Pro. Semi-Pros need to learn conversion to progress to the Professional level and so on. It is just like building a house, you need to lay the foundations first and work your way up.
One of the biggest mistakes managers make when trying to improve a salesperson’s performance is focusing on the wrong lesson at the wrong level. Focusing on conversions before activity is a classic. When a salesperson is underperforming and needs to get results, rookie sales managers work on closing (conversion). Often the salesperson doesn’t have enough opportunities in their pipeline to do this, and they need to focus on filling their sales funnel (i.e. activity). By focusing on closing, the salesperson kills the few opportunities they do have by trying to close deals too soon. This can destroy their belief and send them on a downward spiral.
Great leaders see potential in others that they don’t see in themselves, and help them to see that anything is possible. Salespeople that have a strong belief in themselves, their company and their products can achieve great things. On the flip side, lack of belief can stop people from realizing their potential and stifle their progress. Lack of belief is what keeps salespeople at the Backyard level, and will limit their results at each level of the Sales Game.
There is a part of the brain called the Reticular Activating System (or RAC). The RAC’s function is to screen the ten million bits of information we receive each second and bring the most important information to our awareness. If you have ever purchased a car that you thought was unique and then noticed the same make, model and colour of car everywhere, that’s your RAC at work. We programme our RAC with what to look for. Make the decision to see the potential in others and your RAC will come to your service. The potential is there, you just need to see it.
People confuse belief with the truth, yet history tells us that this is not the case. We once believed that the Earth was flat until Christopher Columbus discovered America and proved that the Earth was round.
A useful belief to adopt in the Sales Game is that your people have great potential and are capable of great things, even if the current evidence is to the contrary. By choosing this belief and attuning your RAC, you will see their potential. By seeing the potential, your sales team will start to believe in themselves. When they start to believe, they’ll start to succeed.
Sales is a numbers game. Engage in more sales activity, and you’ll win more sales. Yet not all activity is effective. In order to be successful, you need to play smart. The smart strategy lays out the details behind their game plan: who to target, which activities they need to engage in, when they need to do them and how they do it. Your role as coach is to help them develop their game plan and smart strategy, and keep them accountable to it.
But you need to be aware of the lag effect. There is a time tag between activity (the cause) and the effect (the result). Great coaches are able to teach their people to see the link between cause and effect, and inspire them to engage in massive activity, even when the results aren’t there. They inspire people to endure short-term pain and put in the work, by making them believe that the results will follow. They understand that timing is everything, and that everything moves in cycles.
A salesperson will be behind on sales so they go big on sales activity. After about a month, they start getting results from the initial activity. Due to the lag effect, they forget about the hard work that got them the results in the first place and put their success down to their own ‘awesomeness’. They work under the illusion that sales will just come to them because they are so awesome, and stop engaging in activity. Because they stop their activity, their sales decline and they are back to square one.
We call this cycle the revenue roller coaster. In order to consistently achieve their sales targets, salespeople need to engage in consistent sales activity. Because of the lag effect, the activity that salespeople perform in this month will probably be reflected in their results in the next quarter (depending on the sales cycle of your industry). Your role as coach is to remind salespeople of the activity they did to achieve their success, and make sure that they are engaging in consistent activity even when they are smashing it.
Salespeople at the Semi-Pro level are at a crucial stage in their journey. They are working hard, engaging in substantial amounts of activity, and have a lot of opportunities in their sales funnel. If they don’t learn the lesson of conversion, they could lose heart and halt their activity. By mastering this lesson however, their sales performance can take a huge leap forward and propel them into the Professional ranks.
Conversion lies at the intersection between ability and process. If Semi-Pros are to progress to higher levels they must work on improving their skills, and follow a decent sales process.
There are two parts of the sales process that salespeople struggle with the most, or leave out altogether. The first part is the problem phase. This is the part of the process where salespeople ask a series of questions to diagnose the customer’s problems and desires.
The second part of the sales process that salespeople struggle with is the agreement, or closing phase. In many cases, the salesperson is afraid to get a no, so they simply don’t ask for the order or fail to follow up quotes. In many cases, improving conversions is the quickest and easiest way to grow sales.
Next week we will look at the focus of Professionals (Value), Super Pros (Leverage) & World Champs (Innovation).
If you want your Sales team to Gamify it’s performance please contact us at http://www.superiorsales.com.au/contact-us/
Next week we are going to delve deeper into the elements of Creating The Game.
If you are looking at running a Sales Game workshop either email Mark at email@example.com OR dig for more information at http://www.superiorsales.com.au/storytelling/workshops/
At Superior Sales we build programmes leveraging all the core drivers of capability – organisation, people, process and culture, not just skills. Refer to our white paper at http://www.superiorsales.com.au/storytelling/whitepaper/
At Superior Sales our capability experts work extensively with companies to equip sales teams, and indeed the whole organisation, to deliver a better customer experience. Please get in touch at http://www.superiorsales.com.au/contact-us/
Your weekly disruption.
Register your details to receive your weekly thought-provoking exploration into building disruptive capabilities, Straight into your inbox.