Ask anyone on the street what they wish salespeople would stop doing, and there’s a good chance they’ll have a long list. But we wanted to know what the experts in the industry think.
So we asked a handful of top sales experts for their hot take. The question: What do you wish salespeople would stop doing? And what should they do instead?
Here’s what our experts said.
Brian Kavicky is a co-owner of Lushin, Inc., a Sandler Sales training company in Indiana that works with clients all over the world to develop and refine sales and management skills.
“Stop being so self-centered. Stop thinking selfishly. Get your juice from helping others. What would you be doing if you didn’t care what people thought of you? What would you be doing if you didn’t NEED the money? What would you be doing if you only acted in your client’s self-interest? Whatever that is, is the right thing to do and will bring you the most business.”
Our take: Sales organizations that focus on the value they bring to the customer and the success the customer has in attaining that value will always outperform those that focus only on their own profit. Likewise, individual salespeople should listen up to Kavicky’s advice! Stop being so self-centered!
Dave Kurlan is CEO of Objective Management Group, a pioneer and industry leader in sales force evaluations and sales candidate screening. Kurlan is also the best-selling author of Baseline Selling. His Blog, Understanding the Sales Force, has been named Top Sales Blog for 9 consecutive years, and he was inducted into the Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame in 2012. Dave has also built Baseline Selling into a pre-configured Membrain Edition, providing a turn-key Sales Enablement CRM for his followers.
“I wish that salespeople would stop sending crappy unsolicited emails where they ask to talk with you at 1pm this afternoon for services that you don’t need or have any interest in.”
Our take: There’s a lot of bad sales behaviors out there, but this is one that particularly annoys us, as well. Salespeople should be trained and enabled to make meaningful contacts and have value conversations with customers, rather than to send bulk spammy emails that annoy everyone. This is especially important in complex sales where the pool of potential buyers is exhaustible and you can’t afford to annoy your prospects.
David Dam is the owner of Alterrain, the “turn-around” experts, focused on the agriculture industry, skilled in turning any sales team into a winning team.
“STOP MAKING EXCUSES - Too many salespeople are talking themselves into the idea that sales in 2020 will be hard. Sales is one of the only jobs that the numbers don't lie. Excuses, finger pointing, and blaming don't change the numbers anymore than they would to your doctor when it comes to time to defend your cholesterol score! Excuses are lies. Salespeople shouldn't waste a minute of the day worrying, but instead determine the health of their pipeline, listen to their customers’ challenges and then develop the impact their solution will have on the problem being solved once and for all. Excuses are just lies that hold us back from reaching our goals. Great health and high cholesterol can't coexist. Neither can positive results and excuses.”
Our take: Salespeople are very often held accountable to results, but rarely guided and coached well to perform the activities and steps that deliver those results. Excuses are often used to avoid facing the truth: That the salesperson isn’t following the process, doesn’t have the skills to execute on it effectively, or isn’t doing their job. We think our platform is the best tool for removing excuses - from both management and salespeople - and giving sales teams the ability to learn what is working and isn’t working so they can deliver results instead of excuses.
James Rores is founder and CEO of Floriss Group, an innovative sales training and consulting company dedicated to building growth multipliers - sales and customer-facing team members who compete and win as servant leaders.
“Sales is a game of probability, not a game of perfection. As sales professionals, we all stumble and fall at times no matter how well prepared we are. How fast we recover is determined by the habits (i.e. mindset, skillset and toolset) we bring to our role. I wish salespeople had the awareness to stop cultivating bad habits based upon a ‘solution-centric’ mindset, and instead develop winning habits from a ‘customer-centric’ mindset. The value of a salesperson is not defined by their knowledge of the products and services they sell. The value of a salesperson is defined by their knowledge of the problems they solve. Effective salespeople differentiate themselves by seeking first to understand their buyer, so they can build a high-value relationship that fosters mutual trust and respect. Ineffective salespeople simply show up prepared to ask a couple questions, pitch, propose and negotiate price. If you want to differentiate yourself, increase deal values, shorten sales cycles and improve win rates ... let go and make a commitment to a new mindset.”
Our take: We couldn’t agree more. Salespeople who focus on "showing up and throwing up" will never be as successful as salespeople who develop the habit of understanding and solving their customer’s problems. Salespeople and their leaders need tools that enable them to learn and execute a customer-centric strategy and process; tools that develop skills required to engage with prospects as partners.
Benedikt Kramer and Andreas Langer are business consultant and partner, respectively, with PDAgroup. PDAgroup is a business consulting and employee training and development firm based in Austria dedicated to customized training and development for building best performance at their customers teams.
“Sellers need to stop acting like the one hero in town – True sales champions will only remain as team players. In our sales enablement approach, it is all about sharing your expertise, working together with your colleagues from sales, marketing, and product management. There is no "I," but only "US" if you want to succeed in the new era of sales. This contains your sales process, your homepage, your social media, and all the collateral that you send out. Without standardizing your practice and supporting your colleagues, your pipeline will forever remain the unpredictable black box.”
Our take: We are huge fans of standardizing your practice and supporting colleagues. Sales teams who develop smooth processes for transitioning customers and prospects from one aspect of the sales and service process to another will create a better customer experience and win more sales. Like Kramer, we think this is only going to continue to become more and more important. Remember: HOW you sell matters!
“Salespeople should stop focusing so much on their great products and functions but should rather focus on how they can deliver valuable & relevant insights and solutions to their customers.”
Our take: No matter how great your product is, if your prospect doesn’t see the value, they won’t buy it. Salespeople have to stop leading with features and start leading with the customer.
What about you? Do you agree with these experts, or have a different opinion altogether? What do you wish salespeople would stop doing?
George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills and processes.