Building a foundation for successful sales leads to consistent top producing sales executives.
I always think about the best sales executives I’ve ever worked with to determine what about their process led to consistently successful sales. I recall a specific coaching session I had with one of them very early in their career.
The silence that came over “the bubble”, a small meeting room with glass walls, felt like it lasted 10 minutes. I sat there and waited for an answer as I jealously watched the parade of people walking by. Some eagerly headed to take a break while others hungrily headed to lunch. Finally, when I couldn’t handle it any longer, I decided to repeat my question, but add some more direction…
“You were the very best sales person on the team last month. You were hungry and you broke the one month sales record. This month you’re at the bottom of the team. What changed?”
When I ask this question I get responses like “nothing really” or “I’m not sure”. Sometimes I’ll get the frustrated response of “I’m getting bad leads” and “I’m not getting enough leads”. These answers aren’t helpful and they surely aren’t going to lead to performance improvement. When I hear one of these answers my immediate followup question is “So last month was just good luck?”. I ask this because I want them to realize it wasn’t just luck. I want them to understand that their actions directly influenced their results.
The resulting win or loss at the end of the month is something they control. It’s not bad leads, bad clients or anything else. This is not to say that bad leads or a lack of leads can’t impact results, it only sheds light on my belief that a “conscious” sales executive is fluid in times of “drought”.
The ‘Conscious Sales Executive’ and their path to Successful Sales.
Half of the new sales executives I hire immediately knock it out of the park while the other half struggle tremendously. In the past I assumed those that came in and immediately produced would end up being all stars. I was incredibly wrong. The struggling executives realized that in order to stay employed they needed to focus on getting better. So much so that they unconsciously self evaluated every action they took. At the end of each month they would know three things,”what worked last month” , “what didn’t work last month” and “what I’m going to try this month”. They were building a foundation for successful sales which ultimately led to them becoming the best sales people on the team. The agents who started fast are no longer around, while these conscious sales executives are still flourishing.
The ‘Conscious Sales Executive’ & Successful Sales
As leaders it is our responsibility to create, encourage and challenge conscious sales executives even if they don’t have the innate ability to self evaluate on their own. By doing so, it doesn’t matter if the executives start hot, or start cold, because they are establishing and continually building upon their foundation for successful sales.
But how do we “create” a conscious sales executive? Well, there’s no EASY answer, but there is a fundamental business tool that we can use as a starting point. We first need to incorporate clearly defined, well thought out, measurable and visible Key Performance Indicators.
KPI’s have turned into a buzz term in any type of business management role. When we implement KPI’s just to implement KPI’s we lose all of their power. Good KPI’s allow all sales executives to be conscious in every action they take. KPI’s have books dedicated to them and while I won’t go into detail on how I implement them in this journal entry, I have written extensively about them in other articles.
Building a Foundation for Successful Sales
We cannot accept a good week or month in sales as an “end”. It is simply another block to put on our foundation for successful sales.
When forward progress halts, complacency begins.