If you had to divide your sales force into two groups, how many of them would be considered Professional Visitors and how many would be consideredSuccessful Salespeople?

Costs of Keeping the Professional Visitors

There are unique consequences that come from holding on to the wrong salespeople to long:

1.)  It costs your company a lot of money; in lost business and bad word of mouth.

2.)  The good salespeople lose respect for the organization’s principals when poor performers are held for no reason.

In a recent conversation I had with one of my clients regarding one of her salespeople, she discovered that this salesperson was out making more prospect calls than anyone else on her team. His activity numbers were off the charts; however, he only brought in one deal in over a year-and-a-half of employment. To make matters worse, he was not representing the bank well on the calls he was going out on. To further exacerbate the problem, he was costing the bank more than just his salary. My client’s company was actually losing business because of him.

The wrong types of sales calls are indeed costly. In fact, some sales individuals may be categorized as Professional Visitors: they go to lunch, coffee, drop by with gifts, but fail to bring in new business or close any deals.

Successful Salespeople continue to cold call throughout the year, even when they have already met their productivity and result goals.

Traits of Successful Salespeople:

* They are curious.

* Eager to continue to improve their sales skills.

* They prepare thoroughly for first appointments, and prepare just as much for    follow up appointments.

* They know how to ask qualifying questions,

* They continue to persevere even after losing a challenging sale.

What concerns me is that there are not enough Successful Salespeople out there to pick from. There are plenty of Experienced Ones. But what is the nature of their experience is the question?

All experience is not good experience, it just tells you how old the salesperson is, or how long they have been selling.

It is rare combination for someone to be a good at everything that might be required in some sales jobs. (We all know that a majority of salespeople are awful at paperwork.)

One way to ensure that your salespeople are indeed the Successful Salespeople is to provide continuous training. (Both product and sales skills)

When I was a Sales Director at a Fortune 100 company, I personally trained my employees on different sales skills every single week. Everyone was required to show up at 7:30 Friday morning for training. The good news was, if my employees were unsuccessful, it had nothing to do with either their product knowledge or their sales skills: they were not working smart, or they could not do what was required of them. Needless to say, if they were terminated it was because they could not do the job.

The demands at my prior employer were far more stringent than they are at most companies I have consulted for. No one would keep their job for more than a year if they did not make quota 12 months in a row.

The Two Options when one is looking at an Under Achieving Employee:

(A) She/He cannot do it

(B) She/He won’t do it.

Option (A) is a skills issue and option (B) is a motivation issue.

What is the minimum you can expect today from Successful Salespeople?

1.) Increase the number of prospect calls they go out on.

If you could motivate and inspire everyone to increase their sales calls by 20% what would that do to your company’s bottom-line? Secondly, go out on sales calls with your salespeople, and do not talk, just observe your employee’s skill set. Again, do not say a thing, but your name and normal pleasantries.

One question I have been asked more than once by students while teaching my Advanced Sales Class is, “I have this prospect that meets with me a couple times a year; and we get along great. He really likes me, but never does business with me. What is wrong?” This question is also asked about a referral source that has never given a sales person a referral in many years. This is a typical example of theProfessional Visitor. Most likely, this salesperson has NEVER done a good job on any of the calls to earn the business, but doesn’t know what to do at this point to turn things around. (Or, this prospective client is using the guise of a potential business meeting to get too friendly with the salesperson.)

On a legitimate prospect appointment, my answer is that he/she has to start over again and do a ‘Deborah Gavello type’ of first call, even after all this time has passed. The above types of calls are what I would refer to as “howdy dowdy” calls; and are not being taken seriously by prospects. So starting over is the only remedy to get any of these deals to move out of the visitor zone to the closed sales zone.

Solutions to be Successful- No more Free lunches

1.) Salespeople are better off having all their appointments take place in their prospects’ offices (less distractions, and less costly).

2.) The (Former, Professional Visitor) needs to apologize that he/she hasn’t done a good job, and is planning to exceed the prospect’s expectation in the forthcoming meeting.

On all appointments the salesperson needs to be better prepared, and get away from the rapport building and move to following the steps I suggest in my Advanced Sales Calls course.

3.) Give an excellent opening statement

Including an agenda in the opening statement–and a list of well thought out analysis questions. Remember that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

As always, good luck and good selling. Follow me on Twitter or my blog.

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NO part of this can be transmitted or reproduced in any manner with the written permission of Deborah Gavello www.gavelloandassociates.com

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