In the modern marketplace, the majority of the customers who contact your company have already decided to purchase your product or service.

What does this mean? On one hand, it makes sales reps’ work easier. On the other hand, it increases the pressure on them to convert the prospect into a sale. If a customer comes to your company almost ready to purchase from you and then doesn’t, it implies that the seller performed his or her job poorly. Because of this reality, the competence of your sales team is more critical than ever for your company and its growth.

Developing Successful Salespeople

Sales talent development is crucial for staying competitive, especially if there is a shortage of talented people. We must find a way to develop successful salespeople who are not natural sellers. The good news is that experience has provided us with proof that we can develop sales teams, even if most of the team members’ personal characteristics are not a perfect match with a sales role.

As managers, it is natural to think that our sellers have the same mindset as we. But what makes us good managers would not necessarily make someone a good seller — and vice versa. Openness to development is rarely a characteristic of salespeople. How can we motivate our salespeople to participate in training? And is that motivation the same thing that motivates us as managers?

To answer this question, let’s put ourselves in the seller’s shoes, thinking about their job and observing the reality of their professional lives. Have we ever thought about the fact that our salespeople are the first — and, at times, the only — contact between our company and our customers? After delivering the product, our salespeople often remain the first point of contact for our clients. As a result, they are the first to hear praise for our products and services but also the first to listen to problems. Humans are predisposed to talking more about negatives than positives, and our customers are humans, after all. How do our salespeople feel about this reality? They are regularly stressed but still must perform consistently. This continuous stress can close them off to the idea of professional development, which they often see as additional pressure.

Motivating Salespeople

If salespeople feel that they need training to succeed, they will be more motivated to participate in it. How can we create this personal drive in our sellers?

We can only resolve a problem when we know what it is. Gaining a deep understanding of our salespeople and their skills and jobs enables us to identify which areas to focus our training on. Talking with salespeople to gain this understanding will also help them overcome their discomfort with training and be more open to our development programs.

Once we know the causes of our salespeople’s discomfort and stress, we can provide training that can resolve their issues. Useful topics might include:

  • The importance of the sales role and its value within the company.
  • Fighting fears in the sales profession.
  • How to avoid negative professional attitudes.
  • How to leave “victim” mode.
  • Fighting internal resistance.
  • Controlling emotions.
  • Moving from aspiration to success.
  • Finding creative inspiration.
  • Creating a personal success plan.

Our salespeople’s professional comfort is the place to start making improvements. Only after helping sellers become open to development, and making sure they know that the company is concerned about their problems, can we begin to train them. Developing the ability to defend against professional stresses will help salespeople make the improvements and changes they need to make and act as a catalyst to transformation. From here, great business can begin!