Sunday, January 3, 2010

Got Sales People Whining? Try SW5

As a career sales person, having made sales ranging from $8.95 books door-to-door in college to multi-million dollar capital projects, I believe I'm qualified to say this: Sales people whine. Selling is a tough job, with one of the highest fallout rates of any job in most companies. And since they're also people, the fact that the job is tough and they're human beings sometimes reduces otherwise tough-minded people to whiners.

How do you handle whining sales people? Commiseration isn't the answer. They chose this line of work, probably because they love the benefits of it -- lots of freedom of movement, higher-than-average income, extraordinary career opportunities and the adrenalin rush they get from doing a deal.

Here's a 5-step answer to get whining sales people back on track. Remember it as SW5:
  1. Some Will -- Some percentage of the market needs and wants our product or service, and would happily buy it from us. Your job is to find those people.

  2. Some Won't -- Some percentage of the market doesn't need or want our product, or if they did, would rather buy it from someone else. Your job is also to find, and then ignore those people -- don't waste your time on them.

  3. So What? -- These are the facts of sales life -- some will, some won't. Figure out which is which right away.

  4. Someone's Waiting -- There's someone out there right now that needs our product or service, but either doesn't know it exists or doesn't realize we provide it. Your job is to find those people, and the sooner the better. They're waiting to talk to you, unless a competitor shows up sooner.

  5. Stop Whining -- Accept SW 1 through 4, and get on with it. You know what you need to be doing.

Any questions?

Not only is selling tough, but selecting and managing sales people is tough, as well. If you have a sales person who's wasting time whining instead of looking for those who will or won't buy from him, give him this 5-point outline of the job.

Providing them with an audience, a shoulder to cry on, and a reinforcement of their excuses isn't an answer. This is a time for "tough love". If that doesn't work, find another sales person.

Here's an article with some behavioral interviewing ideas that may help you select that next sales person: 5 Prospecting & Networking Tips for Sales Pros

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Terry Weaver

Chief Executive Boards International

Chief Executive Boards International: Freedom for business owners & CEOs -- Less Work, More Money, More Freedom to enjoy it

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