July 21, 2015

sales-manager-standing-over-employee-at-deskIt is always frustrating when a new sales hire does not perform as well as expected.

Hunting for qualified candidates is a lot of work, so it is important that the employees you commit to hire and train can pull their weight.

If you have a new salesperson that is not performing as well as you had hoped, take a close look at his or her process to determine whether his success rate is being negatively affected by mistakes in his sales method or by his personality.

 

5 Signs Your Employee Needs Training, But Is Not Necessarily Wrong for Sales:

 

  1. He focuses on the product rather than the needs of the customer.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to spot advertising that is directed at you and how easy it is to ignore advertising that is clearly for a different audience?

Prospective clients will not care how amazing your product is if they cannot see how it will solve their problems. Salespeople need to know their product well, but they must not forget that sales depend on filling clients’ specific needs and not simply impressing them with facts. Thankfully, this flawed sales approach can be fixed easily with role playing practice and re-tooling of the sales presentation.

 

  1. He does not ask enough questions.

A potential client will usually have objections at the ready when a salesperson asks for his business. The worst thing that a salesperson can do in the face of an objection is to take the client at his word and give up.

The trick to overcoming objections is to ask the client questions about his objection.

Most of the time, persistent questions will reveal that the initial objection was only a part of the story. Asking questions also leads to further discussion that can build enough trust and uncover enough information for the client and the salesperson to make a deal.

Stumbling over client objections can cost business, but effective methods for pushing through are very teachable.

 

  1. He relies too heavily on the presentation.

    bored-employees-sales-meeting

Your sales presentation slideshow was probably painstakingly crafted for maximum effect, but people, not slideshows, make sales.

Your sales team needs to learn to watch and listen to potential clients while presenting your product and step away from the script when a client loses interest.

Practice makes perfect here, so teach your team to pay attention to the client’s responses and use the presentation as an enhancement to their pitch rather than the pitch itself.

 

  1. He gets hung up on pricing.

Very few clients are lost solely because of the price of a product.

If your sales team is continually squabbling over prices and discounts with clients, they need to re-evaluate their approach. If the client disputes the price, it is likely that the salesperson failed to demonstrate value or build enough trust during the sales process.

Have your employees focus on relationship building and framing the value of the product within the context of the client’s company whenever the client takes issue with the cost.

Waiting to reveal pricing information until the end of a presentation can also be a mistake, because speculating about the price will distract customers from being able to concentrate on the value of the product. Restructure your sales presentation to disclose pricing toward the beginning if necessary.

 

  1. He has trouble asking for the sale.

In the midst of friendly, trust-building banter between salespeople and clients, it can be easy to forget that selling is business. Nobody wants to feel pushy, but salespeople need to learn how to ask difficult questions and close deals with urgency while maintaining good relationships with their customers.

New salespeople especially might be uncomfortable turning a friendly conversation toward a sale, but this hesitance can be overcome with a shift of mindset and some practice making graceful segues from chitchat into serious business.

 

3 Signs Your Employee Might Be Ill-Suited to Sales:

 

  1. He seems satisfied with mediocrity.

You probably make an effort to track sales goals and progress with your team. While it is reasonable for a new hire to expect lower than average numbers for his first few months on the job, once he gets familiar with the process you should be able to see a bit of hunger and Competitiveness coming to the surface. If a salesperson on your team is not motivated by competition, try to find out why.

 

  1. He is a sore loser.

    successful-salespeople-need-to-learn-how-to-rebound-after-losing-a-sale

Salespeople have to be able to make peace with failure because it will happen regularly.

Optimism is the critical trait in a sales personality assessment that makes it possible for salespeople to get right back to work after they lose an opportunity.

If an employee on your team is sulky or ambivalent for a long time after he loses a sale, he might not be able to sustain his productivity long-term in the face of such frequent rejection.

 

  1. He does not listen to repeated correction.

Salespeople can be disorganized whirlwinds of charisma and ambition, but their Need for Achievement should motivate them to comply with your company’s standards, whatever they are.

If you set goals with an employee and work to help him improve his approaches and he does not make an effort to meet your expectations, he might end up having a negative effect on your team.

Hiring a salesperson is an investment; so if you feel that your new employee does not possess the ideal personality for sales, give him ample opportunities to prove you wrong. Additionally, it is always good to look for new ways that your employees and their unique skill sets can be useful to you.

If a salesperson has been with your company long enough to get a feel for the day-to-day work, he already has a leg up on an outside hire, so try to find new opportunities for him that will allow him to shine.

Of course, it is always easier to avoid making the wrong hire in the first place. Next time you hunt for new salespeople, use a reputable sales personality assessment to determine whether your candidates have the Drive necessary to succeed as a part of your sales team.

What mistakes have you noticed employees making that cost them sales? What did you do to fix them?