We all want better sales performance but there are different ways to get there. A good starting point to understand what your team needs to sell better and improve their performance is assessing where they need help.
Topic – Getting started in sales
Mentor – Sue Barrett
- Where to start
- Only 20% prospect effectively
- The one stand-out trait of the best sellers
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Kevin Turner: My guest again this morning is Sue Barrett from www.barrett.com.au, a consulting firm. Works all around Australia, in every capital city. If you want to bring some meaning back into your sales team and get them really focused on selling better with healthier margins and less risk of failure, then I’d strongly recommend you contact Sue and her team. There are links on every one of the pages on REUNCUT.
Kevin Turner: Our topic this morning is headed, ‘ Are your sales people stumbling at hello? ‘. As we did yesterday, we’re going to repost with Sue’s permission the blog post that’s generated this conversation. Sue, I guess in a sense we’re talking about prospecting here, aren’t we? How to do it, how to sell?
Sue Barrett: Yes, particularly in this case how to actually ignite opportunities through effective prospecting. 4
Kevin Turner: Where do we go wrong with this, do you think?
Sue Barrett: Okay, I believe there’s two key areas that I’ve looked at over the years. What we’ve found is that most people have never been taught how to prospect. So if you don’t know how to do something that can raise levels of anxiety. A lot of people stumble their way through it. We’ve all received those calls which just go on and on and on and don’t get to the point. So learning how to prospect is very critical to ignite opportunity. But one of the other areas that really still gets people is their whole feelings and emotions around the actual concept of prospecting. So whether they’re shown how to or not, they kind of feel really weird about calling people they don’t know, and they think, “Oh, they’re going to say something to me like no go away.” That’s a really big hurdle we have to address.
Kevin Turner: In your article that we’ve posted today you say research shows that only about 20% of sales people are fully effective when prospecting. Is that because of the fear of not knowing what to say?
Sue Barrett: Well, yes. As I said, if we get rid of the how to bit and show them how to, that can solve quite a few problems for people. But still there’s this underlying fear about contacting people. It actually comes back to, if you like, tribal days. Back when we lived in tribes. A lot of people feel a physiological pain when they’ve been shamed or shunned or rejected. So, for example, back in … Really a long time ago, if you did something wrong or transgressed, you would be publicly shamed. That was designed to actually stop you doing something that was going to harm you or the community you lived in. Because if you did something really bad, you would actually be kicked out of the tribe and back then that was a death sentence. So to make people feel something physically painful in terms of being shamed, that’s actually a biological construct that we’ve carried with us.
Sue Barrett: Now take it forward to prospecting. We’re going to be calling people we don’t know and they may reject us. What can happen is if we get rejected, that physiological pain can get reignited and a lot of people feel, “Oh my god, I don’t want to feel that. It’s terrible.” But as sales people, we have to get over that. Because we know we’re not going to be kicked out of the tribe. We know we’re not going to have our lives threatened and things like that. So we are actually fighting a biological reaction to being rejected.
Kevin Turner: Nothing happens unless we get on top of prospecting, new leads coming through. I also read in your article that 80% of all sales people fail to complete their first year because of prospecting distress. We know that there’s a high churn in our industry. Should we becoming better at helping them overcome this hurdle in the initial stages as opposed to selling skills?
Sue Barrett: Well, firstly we need both. We need the selling skills so that they’ve got an articulated process to follow, which will help them actually be better at it, skillfully. But we also have to help them address the feelings that they actually have around this and actually help them understand logically, and work into that higher order thinking to be able to override that natural instinctive fear that they may feel. We can do that, there’s a lot of work now around science in terms of brain science. I’m doing a lot of work around purposeful optimism. So teaching people how to use their brains more effectively in terms of managing their feelings and emotions to address this. You do find that the best sales people are still very respectful of people, but they don’t take it personally when they get rejected.
Kevin Turner: Mm-hmm (affirmative), wonderful stuff. Sue Barrett is my guest. Tomorrow we’re going to take this one step further for you, as we continue our conversations and publish those blog articles from Sue which are very insightful. Have a look today, because it will go into a lot more detail about what we have discussed.
Kevin Turner: We’ll be back again tomorrow morning with Sue Barrett. Sue, thank you very much for your time.
Sue Barrett: Thanks, Kevin.