Have you ever noticed that – despite your best efforts at creating a great negotiation team – the performance of your sales team just isn’t what you want it to be? You may question the abilities of your team. You took time to vet them during the interview process, and to the best of your ability, you have hired only the most qualified people with the best sales negotiation training. So, what’s the problem?
It may be time to reflect and ask yourself a tough question: What have you done to set them up for success? Ask the question honestly. You may be surprised by your answer, because you may have more leverage than you think to improve their results. Mistakes with sales negotiation training can fly under the radar. Here are several to watch out for.
Inadequate Hiring Decisions
It’s logical to think that a candidate who brings a solid resume, examples of past success and thorough answers to standard interview questions would be able to hit the ground running. But traditional interviews can be poor indicators of an individual’s true abilities, especially when it comes to sales negotiation. Often, interviews can’t accurately show how someone will actually react in a given situation.
One of the best ways to see what a candidate can do is to conduct a role-playing interview. Role-playing is more effective when the candidate does not have time to extensively prepare. Properly executed, it is a good way to assess the actual skill sets of the candidate and determine if he or she will be a good fit for your organization.
Too Little, Too Late
You’ve gone through a series of interviews (complete with role-playing exercises), and you’re sure that you’ve picked the right people to add to your team. Most companies ensure that product and service training happens next but, too often, send their new sales recruits on their way without giving them a background on sales negotiation strategy and how their work aligns with the overall organizational strategy.
It’s always a good idea to use job shadowing as a training tool for new sales negotiators. Many times, the best experience is on-the-job training, and who would be better to show a new employee the ropes than the most experienced sales negotiators already on your team?
Give your team the opportunity to take sales negotiation classes that are targeted for your company’s needs within the first few weeks and months of onboarding. Waiting to do so is the same as telling a mechanic that he or she has to fix all of the cars that are in the shop but has to wait a few months before the tools come in.
Insufficient Leader Engagement
Often, capable employees fail to reach their true potential due to a lack of manager involvement. Situational leadership theory states that delegation works best when the employee has a high maturity level with the tasks he or she is responsible for. Your new sales team members need a level of support that your seasoned negotiators do not.
Take the time to determine where you can lend your advice and support to help new negotiators flourish. Go with them to a few customer meetings, and offer your guidance and feedback. Have an open door policy, but don’t wait for them to come to you; at that point, it may be too late. Strong leaders regularly reach out to their employees and make sure they have the tools and skills to perform.
The importance of having leadership support cannot be overstated. Often, new employees fear reaching out to their manager, as they consider asking for help a sign of not being capable. Create an environment where your negotiation team is aware that you are there to support them.
The success (or failure) of your negotiation team depends on the investments that you make in their training and preparation. Take the time to step back and ask yourself that tough question: What more can you do to enable your team to be the best it can be?