Today I coached a salesperson who thought he had call reluctance – but I didn’t agree. He was pushing through, making calls – although not as many as he should. He has some need for approval – but since he needs approval from his boss he needs to make the calls in order to get it. He needs some approval from his prospects but can’t earn that unless he gets prospects on the phone and impresses them. So he actually has reason to pick up the phone and make calls.
I wondered whether he loved selling – enough.
I wondered whether he was committed – fully and unconditionally.
I wondered whether it was something else entirely…
The reason I’m bringing this up is that in most companies, when certain stages of the sales process are not being executed as they should, executives often don’t know why. That’s one of the many reasons why we evaluate Sales Forces – to identify root causes of the known (and unknown) problems. The second reason is that problems are often misidentified. For example, half of the calls and emails we receive each day ask us to conduct workshops/coaching/training /seminars on closing skills, even though closing skills are almost never the reason why salespeople fail to close sales. With sales and salespeople, you need to work backwards from what you know, and ask many “could it be?” questions to identify the real problem and more importantly, the reason for the problem.
For instance, problems with closing (delays, put-offs, losses to the competition, pricing, etc.) happen for any or all of the following reasons:
- Not a qualified opportunity
- Salesperson did not present an ideal solution
- Lack of urgency
- Salesperson did not create/build value
- No compelling reasons to buy
- Lack of posturing
- Timeline misunderstood
- Not selling to the correct person
- Salespeople lack opportunities so they continue to work the lousy ones too
- Salesperson presented too early in the process and then went into chase mode
- Prospect never agreed to spend the money required