Since this seems to be the time of year when many of us look back over the last year, review our successes (and our failures) and think about the coming year and what we want to do differently, I thought I would re-post this article from one year ago about stopping and starting certain sales behaviors. There is something in it for salespeople and sales leaders alike.
Best wishes for a prosperous 2012!
Start and Stop – Changing Sales Behaviors
I recently worked with a small sales team for a division of a fairly large company. The topic was prospecting and their challenges were interesting:
-They are starting from a baseline of zero sales.
-They are selling into a market that is not familiar with their
company and what they do.
-Of the group, only one person has any experience with cold-calling
but that was in a different industry.
These salespeople are knowledgeable and smart about their business and they’re led by a very capable sales leader. They are all up to the task ahead of them. However, in order to be successful, they know they will have to employ a different process than they have used in the past that will require them to stop doing certain behaviors and start doing new behaviors if they hope to avoid the temptation (and high cost) of meeting with anyone who has an interest in what they sell or wants to take a look at what they offer.
Here are just of few examples of the ‘stop’ and ‘start’:
They will have to stop trying to qualify for their prospects, telling them why their product is a fit for them. Instead, they should start by asking questions to determine if the prospect qualifies for them!
They will have to stop making appointments with prospects that show interest in their product and start meeting only with those people that are experiencing problems that they want to solve.
They will have to stop hearing objections from prospects who don’t want to talk or meet with them. Instead they should hear these objections as statements.
They will have to stop trying to deal with objections—overcoming them, selling the person on why their ‘stuff’ is better and giving the prospect reasons why they should think differently. Rather, they should start hearing their prospect’s statements and then asking them why they think or feel that way so they know where the prospect is coming from.
I could go on but these are a good introduction. Any type of change in selling behaviors will necessarily require salespeople to stop taking certain actions in the sales process and start doing new behaviors.
Question—if you are a professional salesperson, what will you stop doing and start doing during the coming year? And if you are a sales leader, do you know how your sales team would answer that question?