A successful salesperson is one who believes in himself, as well as in the product or service he is selling. If this second component is missing, your company has a problem.
A company can recruit a top-performing sales team, but if the brand is perceived as low value, doesn’t have a tiebreaker, or doesn’t measure up to or surpass the competition in some way in the minds of its salespeople, the company will never grow to its full potential. If you suspect this may be an issue at your company, consider taking the following steps with your salespeople to determine how to create a brand your entire company can believe in.
- Ask each salesperson to explain how s/he feels about what they are selling. This can be an intimidating question, so to ensure candid feedback, let them know that you need to know so that you can make their job easier and help them win more business. If your salespeople are in any way incentivized based on their sales, they will be more than happy to share their thoughts with you.
- Seek their opinions on how your company supports their efforts with things such as:
- Training – What does your training program look like? Do you have one? Does your brand provide your salespeople with a tiebreaker that repositions your competitors as second best?
- Innovation – Is your company keeping up with, falling behind, or surpassing competitors?
- Research and development
- Quality of service provided by anyone who touches the customer (service technicians, customer service, delivery, timeliness of follow up, competency of people handling issues/complaints, etc.)
- Marketing (website, sales materials, collateral, public relations, trade show presence, videos, social media, etc.)
- Ask what they are hearing and seeing in the field relative to how your brand stacks up to competitors in areas such as performance, quality, delivery, support, value, and other traits specific to your products. Answers to these questions will define your brand’s reputation.
- Ask who they believe the “leader” is in your industry, and why. The gap between your brand and the perceived leading brand may be quite large. Or, it could only be a sliver of a difference.
- Have each salesperson independently complete a SWOTT. (Strength’s Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats, Trends) The feedback you receive will likely be very eye-opening, exposing you to things you are not aware of, or ever thought of.
Going through this process will force your salespeople to think in ways they may not have thought before, and your conversations with them will be very enlightening. Plus, they will respect you as a leader for asking the questions which will, in turn, benefit morale.
Consider making this process a part of your sales strategy. If you don’t ask the right questions, you’ll miss out on what is or isn’t working, and we all know how important communication is in any relationship. If your salespeople don’t believe in what they are selling, they may move on to work for a brand they respect, and it may be your formidable competitor.