August 17th, 2009
In challenging times, the difference between high performers and average performers widens. This statement was very evident during last week’s Sales Leadership Summit especially during our roundtables when everyone discussed their biggest challenges. The most frequent comments related to the need to build the right kind of motivation into their sales teams or, as someone suggested, the need to “re-wire their sales brains.” What was meant by that comment was the need for management and individual salespeople to change the way they manage the sales process.
The primary change is something we call POV or Point of View. In most cases average salespeople can hide in good times, but in challenging times they struggle and it shows. The reasons for their struggles are that in most cases they only know the sales process and functions/features of their particular product or services.
In POV, the salesperson must work to understand the prospect’s: 1) business, 2) industry, 3) professional needs and 4) personal needs. The salesperson must understand how they can be of service to the prospect and how they will impact the prospect’s business. And just as important, they must have the mental strength to be persistent. I mean persistent not from a sales process perspective but rather from one of leading the prospect to a decision that is the right one for them.
The often-used analogy of healthcare summarizes the POV concept. When you see a doctor who recommends surgery, you normally agree, set the date and show up. In today’s and, frankly, tomorrow’s soft economy, we must all seek to understand the impact we will have on our prospect’s business and strive to take a stand — mentally — that we are there to:
- Reduce costs
- Increase operational efficiency
- Increase revenues/profits, or
- Improve customer relationships
Plan you sales training meetings to reinforce these points but also to role-play/videotape your sales team in sales situations. Work on it until the brain has been re-wired to a POV style.
Ken Thoreson is managing director of the Acumen Management Group Ltd., a North American consulting organization focused on improving sales management functions within growing and transitional organizations internationally. Ken also motivates organizations with enlightening keynotes