How to Improve Creativity in Your Sales Reps

by | 2 minute read

Near­ly 40% of sales reps have dif­fi­cul­ty mov­ing down prospects down the fun­nel after they hear a prospect say, “We are hap­py with the way things are now.” This sta­tis­tic comes to us from the Voice of the Sales Rep sur­vey con­duct­ed by Sales­Fu­el. If this sit­u­a­tion sounds famil­iar, you need to help your sales reps devel­op their cre­ativ­i­ty. You can start by coach­ing your reps to think out­side of the box and to ask the right kind of ques­tions.

Developing Questions

A man­ag­er who needs to devel­op easily-stymied sales reps should con­sid­er the advice of Dr. Hal Gerg­ersen. He sug­gests that pos­ing a dif­fer­ent kind of ques­tion can change the results when you and your team mem­bers encounter a prob­lem.

First, your reps should under­stand the pur­pose of their ques­tion. Often, that means they should “reframe the prob­lem.” If a prospect is hap­py with the sta­tus quo, your rep should learn to iden­ti­fy a poten­tial threat and ask the prospect or their opin­ion on the threat. For exam­ple, prospects who sud­den­ly become aware that a com­peti­tor has a pow­er­ful new part­ner­ship might change their mind about whether they are at risk. Their next step might be to con­sid­er the solu­tion your rep is offer­ing.

Hitting Pause

Are you doing all you can to train your reps to ask ques­tions? Maybe not. If your reps come to you com­plain­ing that the prospect won’t budge, how do you respond? Some man­agers might jump in with sug­ges­tions. Or they might tell a rep about how they han­dled a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion in the past. It’s much faster to man­age this way. This strat­e­gy also makes some man­agers feel val­ued. But Gergerson’s right when he sug­gests a dif­fer­ent approach – the pause.

When you don't answer right away, the silent space gives your reps time to think. They’ll be encour­aged to come up with a sug­ges­tion or two on their own. No doubt they’ve been think­ing about this prob­lem and want some ver­i­fi­ca­tion from you that they are on the right track. Lis­ten to what they have to say before you offer any advice.

Regular Coaching Assignment

If your sales reps hes­i­tate to come up with ques­tions on the fly, change your approach. Encour­age them to come to their one-on-ones reg­u­lar­ly with a list of pre­pared ques­tions they could use on reluc­tant prospects.

When your reps start to think about prospects’ prob­lems in a new way, they won’t stall out when they hear the word ‘no.’ They’ll find a cre­ative way to get the prospect to think dif­fer­ent­ly. Their pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and engage­ment will rise, and high­er sales will be the result.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice Pres­i­dent of Research for Sales­Fu­el. She holds a Mas­ters in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ver­mont and over­sees a staff of researchers, writ­ers and con­tent providers for Sales­Fu­el. Pre­vi­ous­ly, she was co-owner of sev­er­al small busi­ness­es in the health care ser­vices sec­tor.