Typical sales people are not engineers. They’re not detail oriented. They’re right brained types, creative, impulsive and extroverted.
Sales people like to make things up as they go. The take it as it comes environment is what attracts this type of person.
This is a pretty common personality type among entrepreneurs too. And so business owners, sales managers and the sales people they manage are all sort of winging it out there.
As with just about any other profession (notice I didn’t say discipline!) a little bit of accountability goes a long way.
In my experience as the President of a CRM provider, most businesses are looking to hold their sales people accountable in some way. Its tough. Sales people don’t respond well to that generally. That’s why CRM implementations end in disappointment so often.
And yet, what sales person wouldn’t want to be better at what they do? Higher commissions, more referrals, etc.
What I’ve found works effectively is to motivate sales people to begin a basic organization plan. To make themselves more productive, save themselves time, free up hours each day for “more productive activities”.
I know, it seems overly simple and obvious. But, business owners find it hard to focus on just simple organization. They can’t help dreaming about all the wonderful things that a CRM can do for their business. And so they skip to step 2 or 3 before they get the sales people organized.
Take for instance the simple technique of questioning a prospect for their “pain”. Its a pretty simple concept to grasp in a sales meeting or while attending a seminar. Its an entirely different thing to do it well with prospects. We’re all trained from birth NOT to upset people, not to agitate them. Going for pain is about making the prospect uncomfortable.
So to do it well, you have to self evaluate. After the call is over, you have to ask yourself “Did I get a real pain? Was it deep enough? Emotional enough?” But how many of us find self evaluation easy? We’re usually not very objective.
Getting organized can make you better at getting pain from a prospect.
First, selling any product or service involves finding out some minimal set of things from the prospect. How many of these do you use each year? Do you use small, medium or large? etc.
The prospect’s pain is usually described in terms of these things to some extent.
So the way to get better at digging for the prospects pain is to document which of these tidbits you’ve obtained from the prospect. If you’ve gotten all the standard questions answered, the odds are you’ve gotten a good handle on where his “pain” comes from.
So, there it is. Sales reps can improve themselves significantly by simply putting a few custom fields in a contact management system or CRM in which to record the answers to the core questions that describe the pain that your company solves for customers.