Successful salespeople have one thing in common: they’re in tune with their customers.
But finding high-performing reps can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
There’s no textbook sales rep who fits perfectly into every business. Traits of persistence and hard work are a given, but that doesn’t guarantee success. Finding a great salesperson means someone who can embrace your company culture, engage well with your customers and thrive in the dynamics of your team.
Here are three tips to find, motivate and train elite salespeople.
1. Find Salespeople to Suit Your Product
You might find that the ideal salespeople are not salespeople at all.
One American gin company hired musicians to push their product in bars.
Musicians are already well placed in the industry, hustling for their own gigs in local venues and building rapport with the right people.
Giving these musicians a financial incentive created an army of budding new sales reps with the existing networks and know-how to do it well.
Every business needs something slightly different from its salesforce. It’s worth taking time to map out what skills are necessary for your industry and thinking where you can find those skills.
I have a theory that teachers would make great salespeople. They have great empathy and spend the day selling to a pretty difficult audience. They may need product training and sales-specific skills, but their current skill set is the perfect basis.
2. Motivate Your Team – Don’t Stress Them
Motivating your team is key and salespeople thrive under pressure, but overstep the line and the stress quickly becomes detrimental and additionally lead to burnout. However, taking a more relaxed approach can have the same effect with your team operating in the “weak performance zone”.
This is known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law, and it explains how the optimal level of stress produces peak performance.
The key takeaway here is that increased psychological or mental arousal leads to optimal results.
Trying to motivate your sales team purely through the pressure of reaching targets is a sure-fire way to create damaging stress. It also warns that too little stress leads to reduced arousal and poor performance.
Instead, motivate by improving the employee experience. Aim to create an exceptional sales process that stimulates your team through creativity, strategic thinking and business acumen.
Stretch your team to provide the best customer experience they can, focusing on the process rather than the outcome.
Invest in their talent with coaching and mentoring. Encouraging personal development will indirectly achieve better sales results, but without the extra pressure.
3. Improve Your Capabilities as a Coach
As a sales leader, you’re in prime position to coach your team and help them bring their best to work. Again, motivating through improved employee experience will optimise overall sales results.
Creating a group of elite sales reps drives up the value of your service and creates a competitive advantage. However, to enable this you need to be an excellent mentor.
Sales leaders often overestimate their coaching abilities when scored by their direct reports. Make sure you utilise your own experience and encourage development in your team. Share best practices, set clear expectations and reward those who engage.
Stop asking your direct reports to help you meet your own sales targets and applying unnecessary pressure. Instead, help them achieve their own – your success will follow and you’ll have a happier, more motivated team in the process.
The customer experience is as much about their interaction with your business as it is the product itself, and your sales reps are a core part of that. Hire people that align with your culture and invest in their development and you’ll have a highly motivated group of people who can achieve outstanding results.
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