By Jim Ward – President, BrainSell
Hired a person new to sales? Transitioning a promising employee to sales? Now what?
Let’s focus on business to business sales (B to B).
You may already have a training program for salespeople and if not, it’s probably a good idea to send them to a strategic and tactical sales training program.
Here’s the recipe I’ve followed over my career in sales and owning a number of businesses. And trust me, it’s been a learning process and continues to be.
One of my biggest fears is over-training. Just like training at the gym (not that I have any fear of this one for myself!), one can reverse the effects of what the training was intended. Creating a robotic, over cooked salesperson. One that can’t heal from the injury caused by over training. So use tactical training in moderation.
Selling B to B usually requires team styled purchasing decisions. In this case strategic training is a great place to start (e.g. Miller Heiman).
Next, the most important part of leading your new salesperson to success and it’s not an overnight effort. Mentoring. Coaching. It’s now time to go with your new salesperson and mentor that person through your sales process. You know what works and now you need to convey to your sales trainee how to use some of the skills they received in their formal training. You”ll find yourself reinforcing the simple things — like listening more than speaking or finding business needs and problems with the right questions. No matter what the assistance you provide, this step is key. Do this and you do your new salesperson a tremendous favor by getting them past very frustrating moments of learning how to be a professional in sales.
Remember from the salespersons viewpoint — you’ve given them an exciting opportunity. However the process to become effective is fairly difficult to start and can be frustrating. There’s a chance they lose faith in the new opportunity and no one wins. With a mentoring program that frustration will level off much more quickly and then it’s all downhill. Self improvement will kick in and you’ve created a winner.
I know — you’re busy. If it’s not you who does the mentoring then set up incentive systems so your best salespeople become mentors. This will be your biggest return on investment in your trainee. They’ll perform faster and they’ll match your company’s culture. And those hidden emotions of frustration for the salesperson will be alleviated, so they can move onto the road to success — and maybe they’ll become one of your next mentors. Ahh — the circle of business.