We evaluated a salesperson who, from among his scores in all 21 Sales Core Competencies, had very strong Desire for Sales Success and Sales Motivation.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that he scored only:
- 10% on Sales Commitment (the minimum required score is 60)
- 33% on Responsibility (he makes lots of excuses)
- 56% across the 6 most important Sales DNA Competencies (72 is required for success in his role)
- 15% on relationship Building competency
- 10% on the consultative selling competency
- 25% on the reaching decision makers competency
- 10% on the qualifier competency
- 0% closing skills
- 0% social selling skills
If you were this salesperson, how can you improve, and if you manage this salesperson, how can you coach him up?
Where do either of you begin?
It doesn’t make any sense to start with closing skills because the opportunities are not being properly set up to be closed.
You can’t begin with qualifying skills because his inability to use a consultative approach prevents him from building a strong enough case for the prospect to cooperate through qualification.
You can’t even begin with consultative selling skills because he isn’t building enough of a relationship with his prospects to ask the tough questions required of a consultative approach.
If you start with relationship building and work forward until you get to closing it still won’t matter because of his incredibly weak Sales DNA. Those weaknesses will prevent him from executing most of what he learned because it will either conflict with his beliefs or make him feel too uncomfortable to proceed. Sales DNA is the real killer – even worse than his lack of skills.
If you decide to begin with Sales DNA – which in his case includes a strong need to be liked, an inability to discuss finances, and an inability to control his emotions, he will struggle to manage and overcome those weaknesses.
The root of this development puzzle lies with his lack of Commitment. Until the Commitment score reaches at least 60, change will not occur. And even if his Commitment improves, excuse making will still prevent change from taking place.
The million-dollar question is, how can you improve Commitment?
Statistically speaking, Commitment doesn’t improve by 50 points. I mined a subset of 1,924 rows of evaluation data with before and after scores for Commitment. While 40% were able to improve their commitment scores after a year, only 6% were able to move scores from 10% to 60% or more.
This salesperson could be the exception to the rule because of his strong Desire and Motivation scores. Desire is how badly he wants to achieve sales success and Motivation is the why behind the desire. He also happens to be extrinsically motivated, so money is important but he works for a company that pays a salary with limited opportunity to earn commission. While it’s possible that his inability to earn the commission he wants and needs has caused him to give up, that doesn’t explain the rest of his ugly scores.
It’s possible that his Commitment can be improved by determining if a different compensation plan would appeal to him, finding out how important that is, and trading the new comp plan for unconditional commitment to growth.
In summary, most salespeople and their managers are usually working on the wrong end of the problem. It’s important to start with the root cause and slowly knock things off in the proper sequence.