Often when I am working with companies to solve their problems with sales, I come across a cast of salesmen with out-dated ideas, obstructionist attitudes, and totally resistant to change. These are the same ones that have a low or very low awareness of the overall picture and a really very limited understanding of the products or services they are supposed to be selling. However, they all have one thing in common: Without exception they are all masters of the excuse. Whether this be the current economic climate, the preponderance of competitors or the unfavourable conditions offered by the company they work for.
Those of you that follow my posts will know that I do not believe that this is only a problem of the salesmen alone, but this problem of attitude can, more often than not, be traced to the sales management strategy or, precisely, the lack of it. Nevertheless, the individual salesman can be a part of the solution.
Thus, I have identified two types of salesman and I have named their different attitudes to sales as the Zombie Salesmen and the Prized Salesmen.
The mindset of your typical zombie salesman is the one that has to be eradicated from the organisation. These traits will help you to recognise them:
- Mistrust when faced with any and all change or improvement in the firm.
- Pessimism is his middle name.
- Unable to follow the strategic guidelines laid down by the company.
- When considering sales they are unable to get beyond the immediate results and always take the short term vision of the task.
- A lackadaisical stance and lethargic posture regarding sales.
- Unable to adequately apply their technical know-how.
- Complete ignorance of the specifics of each of their clients.
- A worrying lack of knowledge regarding the competition.
- Unable to come up with ideas nor to tailor them to the individual idiosyncrasies of each client.
The zombie salesman syndrome can be recognised as those salesmen who are only keyed up about their sales figures for today. Paradoxically, as they are only concentrating on closing the deal today, they put their cloth ears on when given information or sales techniques that would lift them to the next level. It is attitudes like these that have given salesmen a bad name; we should all grab hold of our inner zombie salesman and throw them into exile for ever and a day!
Starting right now, how should we go about transforming ourselves into a Prized Salesman.
- Stop trying to sell and get a better understanding of your client and his needs. One of my teachers used to say: «It’s better to know than make known»
- Effective communication of the Useful Proposition
- Sound out the client to discover possible sales opportunities.
- Manage the client list in function of the potential and not the current volume of sales.
- Plan your sales strategies client by client and product by product.
- Remember you are the weapons that will translate the marketing department’s plans to the various channels in accordance with the firm’s communication strategies.
- Represent the company comprehensively and in all its dimensions.
- Always adopt an open attitude and willingness to cooperate.
This approach to sales will enable us to concentrate on what is really important: our client and how we can help his business with our products and services. If we can master this we will be mastering how to sell in the long term with positive results on the bottom line.
The Prized Salesman doesn’t sell, he manages clients through sales!
See you soon!
Sales strategy consultant at ITC