Are Your Salespeople Smart?
Over the years, I’ve heard from countless business leaders who swear that their own salespeople are idiots. In fact, some would go as far as to say there are no smart salespeople. I don’t believe this for a second. I believe that salespeople, on the contrary, are extremely smart. I can prove it.
During your next pay period, short a commission-based salesperson by $10 in his or her next check. They’ll instantly tell you were you were short and probably calculate the amount of interest you owe them for the shortage. Salespeople are financially smart when it comes to their income.
In all seriousness, beyond this universal fact, I work with very talented and smart salespeople here at Assurance. They’re truly impressive professionals. When it comes to selling, here are four “smart” things they all do:
- They let the client do the talking. The smartest salespeople I’ve seen ask a lot of questions. They talk very little about their own company and ask questions to thoroughly understand the prospect’s pains and issues. My great salespeople talk no more than 30 percent of the time at a sales call. They ask open-ended questions and then immediately drill down with further questions when they find an area of pain. They’re great questioners and listeners.
- They have an agenda for each meeting. At the beginning of each prospect meeting I attend with a “smart” salesperson, they outline an agenda for the meeting. They create this after the appropriate amount of bonding and chatting, but they always have an agenda. Sometimes the agenda is written out and sometimes it’s spoken. The purpose is to tell the prospect what they’re trying to accomplish.
- They do research. I’m always amazed when my great salespeople begin to ask questions about the prospect’s own clients. It’s crucial to understand how the prospect makes money. Furthermore, they understand the prospect’s industry and ask questions about marketplace dynamics. This research certainly makes them seem “smart.”
- They know the product they’re selling. When a prospect asks one of my smart salespeople a question about our products, I’m routinely impressed at their depth of knowledge. With ease, they’ll answer the question, ask the prospect why he or she asked it and immediately see if the question was hiding a pain. They’re not fazed by questions and objections and their knowledge of our products creates an aura of confidence.
I encourage all business leaders to decide if your own salespeople are smart. Do they routinely do the “smart” things I’ve described? I hope this brief list helps you in assessing your team. Start 2015 out “smart!”
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