One of the reasons that the UK isn’t a great fan of sales people is that most of them don’t know when to back off.
In my opinion that is because they are either badly trained, badly managed or are too aggressive and have no idea how to nurture relationships properly. In either case it needs sorting out if you want to be a successful salesman, period.
I’ve trained hundreds of sales people and one of the issues you have to get to nice and quickly is what sort of person are they? Are they naturally:
Depending upon what kind of person they are, I have to use different techniques to help them understand that developing new relationships is a journey.
It’s also my responsibility to help them understand that not everything a prospect says is a fob-off, and that developing the relationship is key to getting to the truth of the matter which, in the end, puts you in a stronger position.
The worst cases I’ve seen have been in response to badly thought out commission structures where teams are simply under too much pressure to deliver results. I worked for a company selling ad space for a while in the Charing Cross area in London; the boss there didn’t seem to care if you offended people or not as long as you managed to twist their arm and make a sale.
The thing is the world has changed. It’s become more in touch with its feelings and business has had to respond.
Looking after your people, CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and such like are emblems of a world where it’s cool to care.
So, taking this attitude in combination with the ability to get what you need from a relationship, then backing off, is essential. Let people tell you when they might need what you’re offering, back off if they’re busy, and don’t just keep asking questions to keep them on the phone because it’ll just piss them off.
If you’re serious about making a great career in sales, then you’ll understand the need to build a pipeline with prospects. At Retriever, we only hire people who understand this. For us, ‘next month’ is always more important than ‘this month’ because that’s the point at which you reap what you sow and smart sales people know this.
I’m not just talking about phone calls either because you have to know when to back off with email, sending creds etc.
It’s about someone feeling pursued, but not stalked.
Overall, people don’t mind being sold to if it’s done really well, but what they can’t stomach is being the victim of a relentless approach by someone who is either in the wrong job or badly motivated.
Some of the country’s biggest businesses have a long way to go in improving how they sell to their new and existing customers, and actually, many sales trainers need to also think long and hard about how they develop skills in sales.
Thankfully, being more human is on the agenda, but we have a long way to go.
Mark Young, CEO Retriever New Business
Follow me on Twitter @MarkYoungNewBiz
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