Getting Started in Sales
What happens when you battle-test your team via a year of intensive sales training? You’ve invested in creating the absolute best of the best. I’m thinking back on the training at IBM directly following university graduation. This training was the equivalency of a triple masters degree in accounting, systems engineering, and computer design. Finally, we did sales school.
The tail end of the journey was grueling role play which made us new reps so eager to get into the field that the real-life selling felt liberating in comparison. It was these foundations that painted a picture of how important it is to train for sales skills that can be maintained over the long haul.
“I knew that later on in my own businesses, and I had three, that it was true that nothing did happen till something was sold. It’s the heart of any company and I believe it truly beats in the chest of its sales organization.”
Let’s get into the four breakaway secrets that have laid the foundation for Breakaway Sales School, Breakaway Sales podcast, and my years of experience in sales.
The Sales Triangle
Sales teams can be broken into three tiers of a triangle. The bottom of the triangle is called “the pack.” These individuals are making 60% – 70% of quota month after month. They get close and then fall back again. At times, they’re not up to speed or simply struggling. It’s not because they chose the wrong career, rather it’s they never had the right tools to be successful.
Next is the middle of the triangle which is called the gap. Then at the top are the breakaway performers. These folks are crushing their quota and not 120%, more like 500%. Their numbers are unprecedented. The top 5% of people on the team aren’t Rhodes scholars or Nobel Laureates. They’re ordinary people that achieve extraordinary results. This blog is going to share with you the four secrets of these goal-getters.
The Four Principles to Making The Sale
Here are the four breakaway secrets you can apply and teach to make your team exceptional.
- 1: They use a structured sales cycle. This isn’t about process. This is about the initial conversation where there is absolutely no selling involved because in truth, people don’t want to be sold. They do want to buy though if they feel motivated and excited.
The structure allows them to prepare for the call and critique it afterwards. It’s pulling together insight, hindsight, and foresight into every action. They’re thinking about how they’re going to make an impact right out of the gate. The key is to ask compelling questions in the right sequence to truly understand the person at the other end of the call. It builds trust and is saving time because by using a discovery process, they know right away if a lead is qualified.
After the discovery, the breakaway sales people move into the presentation phase where they’re showing a solution they believe can help. Verbally, they’re summarizing back what they’ve heard to convey active listening and genuine interest.
Objections can happen here and this is where the tigers earn their stripes. The best sales people meet these statements with empathy and a willingness to work through the “no” to see if they’ll explain how the offering won’t meet their needs. This exchange builds trust and when the time comes that they’re ready to buy from you, they’ll let you know.
- 2: Great sales people understand and work with buyer behaviors. Buying behaviors are the psychology of the sale. Knowing that there are four different personality types to navigate can send signals to the rep and enable them to tailor their approach. They’ll know what they need in order to make the lead feel comfortable, how to influence them, and how they process information. When you combine knowing the profiles with the structured sales cycle, you’ve got it made.
- 3: The best sales professionals use effective personal management. This time management and expertise. Time needs to be converted into actionable, specific goals. Time cannot be saved, it can only be used so reps of course want to get optimal ROI by breaking the day up effectively. A bonus part of this is the 200% plan. If there is an annual quota, double it and break down how to achieve that goal by the day, week, and month.
The next part is expertise. A sales rep is often assigned a geographical area, vertical, or industry. They need to consider themselves as the CEO of their territory. This means knowing all the ins and outs and well as making themselves known. The best reps get into the fibers of this web and start gaining referrals and building industry knowledge.
- 4: Breakaway Sales Performers have mental toughness. This is not emphasizing physical strength, it is the ability to renew motivation every single day. There will be days where a rep wakes up mentally fatigued and can’t string two sentences together. Ultimately they know that they have to be in the game because it’s their livelihood.
Have no tolerance for non-performance policy within yourself and across the team. The reps can have bad days personally but it does not mean they’re unwilling to do the work or in the wrong career. Make the relationship between management and the sales team a partnership that fosters growth.
Become a Breakaway Sales Pro
I want to encourage you to simplify. Master the essentials and the nuances and details that need extra attention will come into focus. By far the biggest issues I recognize with sales professionals I train every day isn’t that they’re weak on the details – it’s that they need to build the foundation and develop such a mastery of the the “four secrets” that they’re second nature. When you do – and you can, you will! – you’ll see your career take off.