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One of the things I talk about often with sales leaders who are eager to maximize their team’s performance is the principle of reinforcement. All too often, we think of training for salespeople as a one-and-done initiative, as something we can check off a list once the "training" event is over and consider finished. Actually, the training we have invested in is next to worthless if it is not reinforced over time, incorporated as a personal priority, and made an ongoing topic for discussion within a personalized sales coaching plan. Reinforcement is thus one of the neglected secrets of effective sales leadership.
There is no one-size-fits-all model for developing salespeople! Every member of the sales team has an individual “success code” imbedded in them, and the effective manager must dial into it in order to unlock their true potential. Once selling skills and sales process have been taught and behavior expectations are established, the manager’s focus must be on raising the performance bar with an effective sales coaching methodology.
I am a "serial goal setter"! I have used goals all my life to chart my path and measure my progress. Perhaps it's my need to be in control that has driven me to do this or my desire to anticipate what may be looming over the next horizon. Be that as it may, I do know that far too many sales people allow others to chart their course.
I am fascinated by the way clients, prospects and salespeople, in general, define success. It is usually very personaland intimate, and reflects their perspective on their own life. Some define it in terms of income as in "he who dieswith the most money" is deemed successful. Others use the importance of their job to determinewhetheror not theyare successful. A third group speaks of balance, though it is rarely achieved.
Do you "sell to live" or "live to sell"? I have been training sales people for over 16 years and have found a common trait in the highest performers: they "live to sell". They love prospecting for new business opportunities. They love being in the role of "closer". Their sales quota is a benchmark that they regularly exceed because just hitting quota makes them "average". They don't hide from the fact that they sell by putting words like "account manager" or "territory manager" on their business cards.
I didn't begin my business life with a burning desire to become a career salesman. As shocking as it is now, I actually thought that I might become a dentist until it registered that I would really have to put my hands in some other person's mouth.
There are a lot of great movies that have been written about selling. In fact, Amazon lists the topten sales movies when you search the site, and, unfortunately, none of them present the sales profession is a very favorable light. Movies like Boiler Room, Used Cars, Tommy Boy, Wall Street, Tin Men and even The Godfather come to my mind when I do a quick scan. Yes, The Godfather! Who can forget the memorable sales pitch from the movie, "I'm going to make you an offer you can't refuse."
I love small businesses and their owners. I spend much of my day marveling at the great accomplishments of this hearty bunch of entrepreneurs who pursue their dream and formulate the backbone of our business society. They are the lifeblood of this country. there is a soft spot in my heart for the struggles they endure as well as the challenges they must overcome to succeed.
Spend some time in the psychology or self-help section in any bookstore and you'll find hundreds of books written on transforming troubled relationships. Whether husband/wife, parent/child, friend/friend or employer/employee, they dominate the shelves promising THE magical solution to resolving any issue imaginable.
If you're in sales, what about the buyer/seller relationship? The same elements that make any relationship thrive also apply to developing and strengthening bonds with our prospects and customers