I’ve conducted hundreds (or more) interviews in my line of work of sales keynotes, workshops and professional sales training. At least 80 percent of the sales people I interview struggle with developing new business and filling their pipeline with new opportunities. There is often a gap between what salespeople know they should do and what they actually do.
- They struggle not so much with building a new relationship. The struggle is with initiating a new relationship.
- They struggle not so much with extending existing trust. The struggle is in building initial trust and overcoming initial trust barriers.
- They struggle not so much with working on an identified opportunity or pursuit. The struggle is with bringing to light new problems and creating new opportunities that didn’t exist before.
- They struggle not so much with closing when a client initiates that next step. The struggle is in initiating the ask or beginning the negotiating process.
It might seem like I’m splitting hairs, but there are some big differences. Because initiating, building, bringing anything new to light comes with fear, maybe some vulnerability. Fear that we’re really not quite good enough. Fear of hearing no. Fear of hearing yes. (And then having to deliver!) Fear that we’re wrong. This is where having a professional sales training program in place will fix the gap where salespeople struggle the most. In addition, each individual sales person on your team learns differently so having help with sales training is a huge benefit.
Take That First Step With Sales Training
Beginning anything new comes with fears, and sales prospecting is no different. When I started this sales consulting business nearly 12 years ago, I had exactly one client. And one client is for sure a start, but one client doesn’t make for a long-term successful venture. No one is beating down your doors in the beginning. If I was going to succeed, I had to breakthrough my huge discomfort with initiating and building.
It’s one thing to wait for something to come to us, to go with the flow. We might be waiting forever. It’s another thing entirely to make a conscious decision, and then actually do it. That’s where most people quit. They quit in those gaps between waiting, deciding, and doing. Even a decision with no action is just waiting. Sales leaders are constantly working to move salespeople through these gaps with strategy, incentives, motivation, team building and many other tools-of-the-trade.
If any of those struggles hit a chord with you, ask yourself: Am I waiting for my team to change? Or am I willing to make a conscious decision to instigate change, and then take one step in the right direction? For a sales leader I’m thinking of right now, her one step was to call me. To talk about the possibility of professional sales training to help her move through the team’s struggles. That one step may be the momentum she needs to change the trajectory of her entire sales department.
This is where our mindsets and habits become either our most powerful allies, or our greatest barriers. You can only course correct if you’re moving, you can’t course correct if you’re standing still.
Amy Franko is a sales leader turned entrepreneur, sales keynote speaker, and author. She’s passionate about two things professionally: sales and leadership. She works with insurance organizations and professional services firms to improve sales results and build future sales leaders. Learn more about Amy’s book, The Modern Seller, and download a free chapter.