Here's the reality folks and my statement is based on 10 years research and the analysis of more than 40,000 recorded sales calls in a wide variety of industries.
Incompetence is the standard in American business.
"Most sales people are not competent with respect to the two most important skills required to be characterized as a good sales person and to achieve lasting success. First, they do not know how to build trust and credibility on a consistent basis and secondly, they do not know how to make commitments and ask for commitments".
This incompetence shows up on a daily basis in our analysis of recorded sales calls in the following ways;
- Sales people think that just because a prospect asks for a price on the phone they are obliged to give one.
- As with prices, sales people spend countless hours talking about technical issues without attempting to create a relationship with the prospect. Again, customers ask for information and sales people feel obliged to simply hand it over.
- Sales people consistently fail to make sincere commitments and personal promises, yet these two moves are exactly what prospects and customers are looking for. It is clear to me that sales people are simply blind with respect to the dance of commitment. They've never been trained. Not in their family, not in the community and not in business.
- Sales people regularly push prospects and customers away because they have a lack of energy and a 'why bother' attitude. They don't understand that every prospect and customer senses exactly what is going on with them and reacts accordingly. Nothing is hidden.
I could write for hours about what is missing in the domain of sales, customer service and leadership, however I want to get the point that is the title of this blog post.
Don't be stupid in 2010
You need to think of your business they way that a professional sports team approaches the season. The only difference is that you have a game every day.
Here's what I mean.
Would the World Champion NY Yankees show up on the field without practicing? Of course not, but sales people throughout the country show up every day without a clue. They open their mouth and whatever happens to come out is ok with them and most of the time with their company.
If you are going to put a sales person up to bat with a new prospect, you need to make certain that they can hit the ball... close the deal... make and ask for commitments.
If you allow them to show up in an unprepared manner, if you don't make sure they are competent... then guess who is being stupid. And it doesn't have to be that way.
What comes first?
Business people ask me all the time, "what comes first... the chicken or the egg? And what they're referring to is, "What do I do first, expand advertising initiatives or train my people?"
As far as I'm concerned, we can get most sales teams to the next level in about eight (8) weeks, so the answer has got to be A.) set standards in the sales department, train your people, develop competence first B.) then spend your hard earned money on advertising.
You'll enjoy putting your staff up to bat when they are confident and competent.
Be smart in 2010
Call me I'll show you how easy it is to get your entire sales staff up to speed... quickly.