Watch out for these!


Often clients ask me to observe their sales team in action and provide objective feedback. Here are a few behaviors I've witnessed that managers seemed to be shocked to learn about their team.

Money weakness: A total discomfort with discussing pricing and payment terms. This results in many sellers immediately 'caving' in to requests for lower pricing, free shipping, bending the rules on credit policies, etc. These reps wouldn't want to personally pay that much for your products, so they can't justify asking others to.

Inability to see the big picture: Only being able to focus on what the customer is asking in the moment. It's difficult for these reps to understand why clients use and rely on your products so they are unable to recommend best overall or long-term solutions. These reps often make quota by being responsive, but they definitely leave additional business on the table.

Fear of asking deeper questions: They take more pride in having the answers than in discovering why the client is making their request to begin with. Some fear that the client's answer will be unfavorable. The result is shallow vs. deep understanding; and in many cases letting the customer walk away.

Fear of pushing back: Their belief is twofold: 1) when I give a client what they ask for, making the sale is easier; 2) if I push back it will make the client angry and they won't buy. These are the reps that ask management for favors and become frustrated when their requests are not granted. They typically have the lowest average rates and are rarely at the top of the leader board.

Some things for managers to consider:

What you are worried about will become what the team worries about. Be careful what you share, it's hard to disguise worries from clients.

When you put pressure on the team to make goal, bringing in the next order becomes more important to them than remaining fully focused on what's best for the customer.

Living in the short-term is filled with pressure and anxiety. Observe, train and teach your team to confidently position and stand up for what's best for your business. Help them keep your end game in sight.


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