Where are the Great Sales People?

By far and away the number one question I get asked is “Do you know any good Sales people?”.

Some 30 years ago during my very first sales training course the facilitator said there was a shortage of good sales people in Australia, I immediately wondered “Why?”. It was like he planted a seed in my brain that has been germinating (quite painfully) much of the time since. 

I’ve made most of the mistakes one can and like to think I’ve learned a few things along the way, here’s some of them:

  1. Recruiting – the cost of failure when it comes to recruitment is huge and whilst we might be able to manage the problem out the door the missed opportunity for learning and process improvements lingers on. Our culture pays the price. Across geography, role and sectors, it’s never been harder to find good people. Ever. 

    Businesses need to get more strategic and develop their own pipeline of talent; additionally, a friend of mine once said “I am always recruiting, and sometimes hiring” – BOOM, I love it.
  1. Inducting – the sink or swim mentality it is long gone with many businesses improving significantly over the last few years. The idea “that’s what I got” doesn’t cut it these days. 

    “Here’s the keys, a phone and customer list, now off you go” – yeh nah…..I am sorry to have subjected a number of people to this, I didn’t know better at the time but now do. 

    It is not hard to follow industry leaders, a basic 30/60/90 day plan can go a long way to creating the “stickiness” of new recruits also called retention (or perhaps even loyalty….).
  1. Training – external or internal matters little but make it strategic and specific or we risk it feeling like a box ticking exercise. At best your sales team will go through the motions, at worst they will feel under valued and less worthy. There are plenty of options, understand what your teams needs and go for it.
  1. Coaching – external can be costly but priceless, internal can be cheaper but worthless so we need to be careful. A good match can turbo charge an individual’s confidence and business results. So what you (or I…) didn’t have it or get it – it’s on us to create environments for this to occur. 

    An apprentice electrician has a foreman on hand, a graduate account can drop in on the finance manager to ask a question. 

    When your sales teams are out in the field knocking on doors, they have no one to bounce something off in real time. No cosy desk or lunch room to find some solace after a bad call or tough conversation. 

    We need to get into the field, provide the support, insight and experience to help them reach their potential.
  1. Relationships – good things take time and business owners / shareholders want results. Sales Managers need to tap dance between the two to enjoy the range of benefits that come from taking the time and effort to get to know your team, their style and drivers. Promotion, contentment and financial rewards all live on the other side of persistence, drive and humility.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, I hope you have found it useful and would love to know what has worked for you over the years.

Similar Posts