Here's the August 2010 issue of Psyche-Selling TM eNewsletter, and many companies are still looking to hire more experienced sales people, sales managers and even sales trainers.
Since July and August are typical busy months for us, we have gotten a lot of enquiries asking us to provide sales training and consulting services for all kinds of companies in China and Singapore. One recurring question that some of these clients asked is how many years of experience do our consultants have in their respective industries.
While our consultants have all the relevant experience, it is NOT because of our consultants' experience in the respective industry that deliver results for our clients. Rather, it is the expertise that our consultants can identify the causes of our clients' problems and challenges, and then provide solutions that deliver results.
Hence, this month's topics:
This issue's main article is on "Stop Hiring Under-Performing Experienced Sales People, and Start Developing Competent Ones that Deliver Results", and the focus is on how many companies insisted on hiring ONLY experienced sales people, only to see those "experienced" sales people NOT performing, and then being asked to leave abruptly.
In the meantime, you can also download c.j.'s PPT on Improving Sales Productivity by Motivating the Sales Force.
Stop Hiring Under-Performing Experienced Sales People, and Start Developing Competent Ones that Deliver Results
by c.j. Ng
Mark has just finished his day interviewing his 20th potential sales recruit of the day. Being the Sales Director of the company, he is also responsible to make the final round of interviews of the shortlisted candidates to make sure only the "high-potentials" are being hired.
When Mark asked his Sales Managers why the new sales hires are not performing, the answers somehow centre around the following:
Somehow, Mark feels rather helpless as no matter what he did, his new sales hires are just not performing. Now Mark needs to find some ways that will give him some indications of future success, or he might as well implement a hiring freeze since his company has been wasting a lot of resources hiring under-performing sales people.
Mark is not alone in his predicament. Many companies are making a lot hiring mistakes when hiring new sales people. If these mistakes can be rectified, these companies can see significant improvements in their sales results.
The Fallacy of Hiring Experienced Sales People
When most companies hire sales people, the major criteria usually includes having some years of experience selling in the same or a similar industry, and a good track record of good sales results.
However, if you were to look closer, these are not the critical success factors that will determine if the sales person will deliver results for you.
In some markets, the changes within a 5-year period can be so drastic that it's beyond recognition.
What about a good sales track record, you might ask. Surely, if a sales person has been consistently producing great results will still continue to produce great results.
Unfortunately, unlike many other professions, the sales profession is one where dealing with failures is essential to becoming a successful sales person. No successful sales person can claim that he or she has never been rejected by customers, or has never lost deals in an ongoing basis. In fact, just like in many negotiations, the better sales person knows when to "walk away" and seek other better prospective customers, while the weaker sales person hangs on too long to customers that are never going to buy.
Hence, if you see sales people who seem to have "perfect" track records in the sense that they always reach or exceed sales targets could be:
This is not to say that having the relevant experience and a good track record is not important to a sales person. It just means that having some years of sales experience and a track record is no indicator of future performance.
The Critical Behaviours that Drive Sales
While companies are always looking at sales figures to determine the success of their sales force, most of the time it is the sales process (i.e. how you sell) that determines the results you get. How well the sales process is being executed depends largely the habits and behaviours of each sales person.
Different companies will have different sales processes for different customers in different regions who are buying different product lines. Hence, the critical behaviours that drive sales success will vary from case to case. The sales processes that companies have can include:
In reality, sales processes can get a lot more complicated as different customers in different markets have different needs that have to be satisfied in different ways. So what if you aren't quite sure what is the sales process for the next sales person, here are some "generic" critical behaviours that apply to most sales processes (and which are found lacking in most sales people too):
Hence, during your interviews with candidates, you can ask the following questions:
Developing Competent Sales People
It may not be surprising that most if not all of your candidates fail in ALL of the above questions. It could well possible that even some of your existing experienced sales people fail some of those questions too. (Or else sales consultancies like us will be out of business very soon!)
The next question will be: if we then set such high standards that no candidates actually display the required critical behaviours, does that mean we don't hire anyone?
The good news is that such critical sales behaviours can be taught and learnt. In fact, high-performing sales people learnt to become high-performers throughout their careers. Only a handful few high-performers are "naturals".
Hence, while most candidates are unlikely to display the critical behaviours that will drive sales for you, you can pick those who display some of those behaviours, AND are willing to learn some new ways to make more sales, you then may have a winner in the near future.
Some companies are unwilling to invest time, effort and money to develop their new sales hires because of the following reasons:
What these companies have to realise is that if they could hire the sales people who can produce immediate results, and don't need any form of training or coaching, that's great. However , such sales people are rare, and those few who are available will probably ask for a very high pay package. In any case, since prior experience and track records are never guarantee of success, companies might just have to train and develop their new sales hires so that they form critical sales habits and behaviours.
Need hiring and developing sales people with the critical sales behaviours? Simply e-mail email@example.com or call +86-136 7190 2505 or Skype: cydj001 and arrange to buy me a mocha. All information shall be kept in confidence.
Power Breakfast Hour:
14 September 2010
Join International Sales Leadership and Performance Coach c.j. Ng in this Power Breakfast Hour in Shanghai where you will find out:
VENUE: Crowne Plaza Shanghai • 400 Panyu Road (near Fahuazhen Road) • 上海银星皇冠酒店 • 番禺路 400 号 （靠法华镇路）
To make this a more conducive discussion, we are expecting a small group of about 15 people only. The room can only take in 18, so please register early to avoid disappointments. Please e-mail your registrations to firstname.lastname@example.org You can also download c.j.'s PPT on Improving Sales Productivity by Motivating the Sales Force.
Need a Keynote Speaker for your Major Sales Conference?
Whether you are holding a conference for your regional staff, resellers or even customers, we have the right speaker who can help you deliver the spirit of your conference, and effect positive changes to meet your goals.
The topics our speakers can speak on include:
Practical Tips for Sales People:
How do You Know if your Negotiation Adversary is Hiding Something?
By c.j. Ng
So you are negotiating with your customer (or adversary) for an important deal. Somehow, you feel that your adversary may be hiding something from you, or worse, giving you false information.
In many books about body, there are various ways to tell if the person in front of you is lying such as shaking their heads while saying "yes", or not maintaining eye contact.
However, studies from acclaimed psychologist Paul Ekman , you don't just read body language or facial expressions to see if your adversary is lying to you. You need to first establish a baseline.
The "baseline" is a set of stress-free questions that you know your adversary will be saying the truth. Things like "isn't it hot today?", or other mundane issues. If your adversary looks at their toes while giving you some very direct answers, or he covers his mouth even when asked about the most obvious question, perhaps he's not lying when he displays such actions during your negotiations.
The key to spotting if someone is lying or hiding something is when your adversary's facial expressions, voice tonality, words or body language displayed a sudden change, especially when a stressful topic is being raised. Below is an example:
Seller: so you are saying that your budget is tight, and you need us to give you a discount. Is that right?
Seller: well if you can guarantee a certain minimum quantity per year, I'm sure we can do something about price. Is a minimum of 4 shipments a year something you can commit to?
Buyer: That should be OK for us.
Seller: So can the first shipment start from early next month?
Buyer: Err....that, that should be achievable.
In the above conversation, the buyer started out very confident when asked if he wants to have a discount. However, when asked further if he could commit to a minimum quantity, he became less confident by saying "should be". When pushed on a start date, he became even more unsure of himself.
Assuming if the Buyer in this scenario had been maintaining eye contact, and when asked if he could make a minimum commitment, he suddenly avoided eye contact, that's a sign of hiding something.
And when asked to make the commitment within a deadline, in addition to sounding unsure, his lips curled and there was some signs that he was being uncomfortable, it's a clear sign that he's saying something that he has no clue.
Still, there are no guarantees that even when someone changes their behaviours or postures when asked stressful questions, that person is lying. We can only say we suspect that person withholding something or displaying signs of discomfort. We can't say for sure that person is lying. You may need to ask more questions at different times to different people in your adversary's organisation to build a more complete picture.
What is more important is the question of, what is your adversary IS really lying and hiding things from you? What will be your next steps in this negotiation?
There are usually one of a few ways. One is to seek to communicate or negotiate with other people in your adversary's team. If the adversary's stance is that they are not really serious about giving any kinds of commitments, then perhaps your next best step is to walk away.
If you would like to get more and better ideas how to negotiate better with your customers, e-mail email@example.com or call +86-136 7190 2505 or Skype: cydj001 and arrange to buy me a mocha. All information shall be kept in confidence.
Sales... ...the lifeblood of a company, a matter of "life and death", survival or extinction. Indeed, something that needs to be studied, applied and re-modified consistently.
Psyche-Selling TM is set up so that companies and sales people can make healthy profits and STILL provide genuine solutions to customers.
Psyche-Selling TM would like to create an environment where customers can trust sales people to give them what they want, and NOT be pushed with all kinds of products and services. In return, customers will become loyal fans of these ethical and professional sales people, and repay them many fold for the long-term.
Psyche-Selling TM will not rest, until the above is achieved. Not just in China. Not just in Asia. But everywhere where buying and selling takes place.
Psyche-Selling TM is a wholly-owned brand of Directions Management Consulting Pte Ltd that specialises in the field of improving sales performance by enhancing the performance of the entire sales team. Apart from the regular "selling skills training", Psyche-Selling TM conducts pre- and post-training analysis, interviews, monitoring and reviews, working closely with managers and even senior management, to deliver real improvements in sales leadership and performance.
Hence, Psyche-Selling TM would like to be known as the preferred choice of outstanding and remarkable clients, and pride ourselves as such. We will also be continuing to assist our clients achieve greater heights in 2009 and beyond.
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