Why is it that despite carefully crafted sales processes, advanced sales intelligence technology, that CSO Insights research found that the average sales forecast was 45.9%? More than half of the forecasted sales aren’t happening. According to their 2015 Sales Compensation and Performance Management study, only 54.6 percent of sales professionals actually meet the quota.
Process and technology can only be as good as the people implementing it. They are just tools. So when we ask why a sales process doesn’t work, or a technology fails to deliver- why do we blame them? That’s like blaming the plumbers’ wrench for failing when a 5-year-old is using it.
The Objective Management Group has evaluated over a million salespeople, in all industries across the globe. It used to be that 6% of salespeople were elite– they have the mindset that allows them to develop any skill and competency. The research today is now 7% of salespeople are elite. But that is the only good news. The percentage of strong salespeople declined from 20% to 16%, which means that the percentage of bad salespeople out there is an outrageous 77%.
But why are salespeople are getting worse, not better? Is it the competition, pricing, poor sales process, complicated technology, or is it something more obvious? Why do the same process and technology work wonderfully for one person, and not the next?
Sales fundamentals are about mastering the mindset that allows a salesperson to learn any skill, methodology, tool and buying process so that they are relevant, transparent, and more helpful to the buyer than their website is. Fundamentals come down to:
#1: Supportive Beliefs
We all grow up with a set of personal beliefs. How we were raised to behave and what we were taught to think influences and shapes our belief system. What your internal voice tells you will influence your sales behaviors and will either support or hinder your success. Some beliefs will limit or encourage a strong self-image and relationship with prospects. Others will influence buying decisions, size of deals, and for managers and executives, how they manage people and processes.
#2: Lack of need for approval
Lack of need for approval — Do you believe that people need to like you to buy from you? If so, you are setting yourself up for failure. Your fear of being disliked inhibits all of the necessary sales skills to engage in meaningful conversations that win deals. Without a need for approval, you have the freedom to do or say anything.
#3: Ability to control emotions
Ability to control emotions — Being emotionally involved in a sale takes you out of the present. You think about the future or next step. You are not in the present moment and hearing what your prospect is actually saying, including the tone and inflection of their voice. You are losing your objectivity, ability to offer insight, and developing happy ears that tell you what you want to hear. (They’re ready to buy!) This will inhibit your ability to listen and ask questions with ease.
#4: Supportive buy cycle
Supportive buy cycle — If you are the type of person who has to compare features, price shop, or delay decisions to think a purchase over, then you can certainly understand it when a prospect wants to do the same thing, right?
#5: Be comfortable discussing money
Be comfortable discussing money — When your prospect pushes back that you are too expensive, you are likely to agree with them. Instead of helping a prospect focus on the value of solving the problem, you are focused on price. When that happens, you aren’t able to find the real budget for a solution. When you focus on price, you are not asking the right questions to make sure you understand the problem. To you, the problem is the price. You can understand that it seems like a pretty high price to you too.
#6: Handling rejection
Handling rejection — The ability to handle rejection stems from your own self-image. When you are comfortable with who you are and the value that you bring, you understand that it’s not you, just your offer to help. When rejection no longer inhibits you, you will be able to ask the appropriate thought-provoking questions and become a thought leader and trusted adviser in your prospects’ and clients’ mind.
If you want to fix sales, you must first fix the salespeople. In order to fix the salespeople, it’s not enough to tell them what to do (sales training) or give them all the steps that they need to take (sales process) or even keep them accountable to the things that you have told them and shown them (sales management). We must fix what happens in their heads.