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How to Develop Salespeople

Breakthrough Selling: Part 2

Speaker 1: So why does this traditional selling behavior persist, despite all of its limitations? As a business psychologist, I can tell you it’s because of two things. Number one, the environments that they’re working within. And number two, people’s programing.

The environments that most salespeople work within are trying to over control their behavior. They’re being measured to death. They’re being told what questions to ask, how to respond to particular objections and the messages to set. I’m not saying that organizations shouldn’t try to exert some control over what their reps say, particularly in regulated industries like pharma, banking, etcetera, because if a sales rep says the wrong thing in the wrong way, it actually could create big problems with regulators and negatively affect your sales. But as often the case in life, we over-correct. And in over-correcting, we prevent risks on one hand, but we destroy opportunities on the other.

Also, marketing departments are quite brilliant in figuring out what particular messages and in what ways these messages need to be delivered in a way that’s going to have the biggest impact on the customer’s brain. So all these things are tremendously valuable, but when you have the marketing message, say, say the message this way, the organization say, respond to the questions this way, make sure the conversation this way, and you’re being measured to death. And you’re being told, if you say the wrong thing, the wrong way, it could create a big problem for the whole company. That effect of the salesperson is you feel like you’re not free to have a real conversation with the customer and you have to persist with the traditional selling paradigm despite its limitations.

So how to help your sales reps get from here to there. It’s a four step process that I call the four R’s.

R1. Recognize. Your salespeople first have to recognize that there are gaps in opportunities in their results, but that won’t be enough because they have to see that their programming is driving them to behave in ways, which is preventing them from getting better results. Step one. And that’s critically important because if they don’t think they have a problem, they’re not going to look for a solution.

R2. Resist. We have to equip our salespeople to resist the pull of their programmed behavior and the way they feel pushed to behave by their organization, but recognition and resistance aren’t going to be enough. All that will allow your salespeople to do is stop for doing what they always did, and then they’ll just become paralyzed, unless you can give them something else to do instead. And that’s the subject of the next step. Replace.

R3. You have to show them what good looks like. You have to train them in how to do it. And you have to help them practice it in safe conditions so that they can build new muscle. Then they have to take this new found muscle and move to R4. Results.

They have to experiment and take risks with these new approaches in the real world and get better results than their old selves would allow them to. Because if they don’t get better results, there’s no reason for them to change. And then what they’ll do is they’ll just revert back to the way they were behaving all along, before they ever got developed, back to R0.

Thanks for listening. And I’ll see you next time.

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