“Self-awareness is a key to self-mastery” – Gretchen Rubin
How well do you know your salespeople? How well do they know themselves?
The two rhetorical questions I hear consistently from prospects are:
- How do I find great salespeople?
- How do I retain great salespeople?
Although there are a multitude of issues facing sales organizations the answer to these questions can be perplexing.
Why is that?
From a hiring perspective you should rely less on resumes. Social media profiles provide some insight into how a prospective salesperson communicates and makes decisions. The remainder of the work you must do to find great salespeople is in the interviewing process.
There are ways to understand a candidate’s communication style. They can fall into four different categories;
- Decisive individuals tend to be more demanding, forceful and determined in their communication.
- Interactive individuals thrive on being around others and are inclined to share opinions and emotions.
- Stability oriented individuals have a preferred pace and steadiness to how they perform.
- Cautious individuals like to follow procedures, standards and protocols.
Which communication style is best for you? Depends. There are benefits to each style depending on the objectives you are trying to achieve in your organization.
Let’s say that your organization wants to contact 200 new prospects in the next 90 days to qualify them using a specific process to determine if they are hot, warm, or cold opportunities (leads). Cautious types are methodical and willing to follow an understood process. This is one example of how communication style should match the objectives of your team.
On the other hand, if you try to achieve this objective with Interactives you may be frustrated. They tend to focus on the relationship and are less interested in having to communicate with 200 people. They favor quality over quantity.
There is a benefit to sales leaders who understand their salesperson’s communication style. There is a huge advantage for the salesperson because it allows them to match or adapt to the style which is preferable to the prospect.
This is what feeds the need for ongoing coaching and personal development for sales producers. In the old days the salesperson was the hammer and the prospect, the nail. Now, we factor the nuance of communication style to win deals that work for your organization.
FINAL THOUGHT: When you factor in communication style when interviewing, and hire the person because they fit your sales objectives you have begun to address the retention issue. Salespeople who are not engaged with your objectives, are not developed in a way that helps them adapt to the needs of each prospect, and are left to their own predetermined biases will ultimately find work elsewhere. It’s the cardinal sin of sales management. You begin to address the retention issue in the hiring process because you put a system in place to show appreciation for self-awareness and ongoing development.
OFFER: Let me demonstrate how easy it is to learn someone’s preferred communication style. If you are hiring, or if you want to better understand your sales team this tool is effective. Contact me for a complementary demonstration.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Two things in my DNA lead to a career in sales. My curiosity and my love of building relationships with quality people.
I believe the best sales organizations invest in the development of their people. You improve the sales process when you improve the people involved. I have seen firsthand sales organizations that did not believe in the professional and personal growth of their people. The result? Friction, confusion and underperformance.
Consistent sales growth is one of many challenges a business faces. In my role as a consultant I have the opportunity to dig deeper to uncover issues related to strategy, communication, and professional development.
To quote Daniel Pink; "we are all in sales now." My promise to you is to develop the people in your organization who serve your customers. It's no longer just the Sales Department. Your sales strategy must be crystal clear, and communicated respectfully throughout your entire organization.
Author's recent posts
Agility in sales organizations starts with knowing how to respond to this scenario in an intelligent, cost effective manner.
The focus is typically on skills, prior work experience, accomplishments and your ability to carry out bullet-pointed objectives on the job description.
One of the reasons salespeople are leaving is because job satisfaction is low.
You have positioned yourself for success based on this heightened level of self- awareness.
The goals and objectives set forth by the organization, and the characteristics and capabilities of the individuals doing the work.
In the next few weeks I will introduce the 7 Steps of Purposeful Selling. In my preparation for this series I continued to have this recurring question: Why should anyone care? Your skepticism is respected. To give this subject context, let’s...