Friday, July 25, 2008

Are You Setting Your Team Up For Failure

Writen by Tom Richard

Still dripping with the fresh idealistic views of a young professional, our hero proudly takes the stage. All eyes watch as he enters his first job and steps into the world of the sales profession.

Those with sales experience quietly stand by and think to themselves, "Be strong, young man." They secretly wish him the best of luck, knowing that in just one moment he will be blindsided by their abrasive world.

Then it happens – our young hero is bombarded with brochures, thrown into an orientation class, and quickly strapped with quotas. While those around him tell him that he shouldn't worry about hitting his goals, he is still eager to impress. Anything short of excellence will undoubtedly leave its mark.

Our hero is led to the field, following those he has been told he has much to learn from. He is quickly overtaken by an uncomfortable feeling rotting in the pit of his stomach. This is his first time cold calling.

The wily veteran shows off for our rookie, constantly reminding him that it really is just a numbers game. He tells our young hero that he shouldn't let the rejection bother him. After all, he'll get used to it.

Feeling like a fish out of water, our young salesman wonders why he feels so uncomfortable just talking to people. His newfound colleagues don't seem to be bothered at all by the gut-wrenching experience of cold calling.

Our young hero concludes that if only he understood the product better, he too would have the confidence needed for cold calling. He spends countless hours learning and studying brochures without ever knowing the real problem. It is not his lack of expert product knowledge that makes him uncomfortable; it is his lack of understanding himself.

The biggest mistake companies make when recruiting new salespeople is trying to make them into something they are not. They force them into a cookie cutter approach that stifles the salesperson's growth and only increases the company's extraordinary turnover rate.

Being successful in the sales profession takes more than just learning some sales process. It takes learning oneself; discovering one's own unique sales philosophy, and unlocking the natural sales skills that reside deep within each and every one of us.

The company's methods can be the same, but the way they are individually received and executed should be as unique as the personalities of every person on the team. When these unique characteristics are encouraged, supported, and applauded, young heroes can be comfortable and confident in their ability to be effective. This is the only way they can accurately represent the company and its products.

If a salesperson takes a journey of understanding why things are done in a certain way, then they will have the confidence to carry out the methods in a way that actually leads to results.

A salesperson with confidences communicates more effectively than a skittish salesperson. When comfortable in his own skin, our young hero can look Mr. Big in the eye and tell him that the product will be there on time. With that kind of confidence, Mr. Big will trust him and will feel just as confident buying from him.

When you make the assimilation into the profession such a nose bleed process, you are eliminating those salespeople who can actually empathize with the customers; those who enter sales as a way to help the greater good; those people who, with time and intelligent training, will truly set your company apart from your competition.

Changing your recruitment process will change your organization and the people within it. Rather than constantly replacing your staff, you'll attract talented salespeople and become a successful company just by letting your sales team be themselves.

Tom Richard conducts seminars on sales and customer service topics nationwide. Tom is also the author of Smart Salespeople Don't Advertise: 10 Ways to Outsmart Your Competition With Guerilla Marketing, and publishes a free weekly ezine on selling skills titled Sales Muscle. To subscribe to this free weekly ezine go to

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