All-​Stars Aren't Born, They're Made

BY Lisa Rigsby
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Are there potential all-​stars on your team, waiting for their opportunity to shine? Probably so, and they just need the right opportunity and coaching. Babe Ruth said it best, “Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s game.” I’ve always loved how the trials and triumphs of sports translate so easily to sales. The end of the month comes and goes, and just like that, you start a new game. So how do salespeople continue to improve their game?

Always spend time on the pregame strategy

Each potential buyer has a different set of circumstances and challenges. Research the prospect's company, understand the common industry challenges and develop unique questions accordingly. Google the company and person with whom you are meeting, read a couple of industry articles and master the craft of sales. These are simple steps that will make closing easier and make your salespeople stand out as professionals. Our research shows that buyers want to work with educated and informed sales professionals.

Practice, practice, practice

A salesperson shouldn’t go into a meeting without knowing their discovery questions and valid business reasons. Look over your presentation several times before you go over it with your buyer. The number one reason salespeople fall into pushing products is they don’t know their customer or their reasons to buy. Buyers are more likely to say yes if the focus is on their business. Don’t get that confused with the features and benefits of your products and services.

All-​Stars review their films

Looking back and making improvements is how all-​stars are made. If a deal closed, take a look at what was done and keep doing it. If it didn’t close, find out why, and that’s where to put in more effort. A salesperson might even be able to go back with the missing piece and win the business. Managers can ask a few questions after sales calls to guide salespeople if they are continuing to have trouble closing, such as, “Did you show direct monetary ROI?” “Was your valid business reason strong?” “Did you pause for questions?”

Regarding prep and review for salespeople, I’ve heard them say, “I don’t have time.” I’ve heard managers say, “My salespeople don’t have time.” You can put in the work up front and shorten your sales cycle, or you can chase a customer and wonder why they aren’t saying yes. The type of game you play is up to you, but all-​stars know they must invest their time to improve.