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Sink or Swim



When it comes to sales it is often said that there is no place to hide and that the numbers speak for themselves. The normal process when someone new is hired in sales are, they are given a few days induction, then shown their territory, given their selling aids and wished all the best and told to go out and bring home the sales. Within four to six months they aren’t hitting their targets and you are wondering what’s going wrong their CV was perfect and they interviewed well?


If you have sat on a plane, you will often hear the pilot or co-pilot come across the intercom and state that they are completing their pre-flight checks and the plane should be pushing back soon. There are around 14 pre-flight checks, along with other checks for taxiing to the runway and taking off, climbing, cruising, landing, taxing and shutdown. Imagine if the voice came across and said we are behind in our schedule today, so we are not doing our safety checks, buckle up and enjoy the flight. Chances are you might want to get off the flight before it even takes off, or at the very least it will be a nervous flight, if you think of the what-ifs.


When a salesperson typically leaves a company, they go through the following, three months of unsettlement, three months of job searching, three months of working their notice (providing they have not been sent on gardening leave immediately). The recruitment process start’s and someone is appointed two months after the initial salesperson handed in their resignation. The new appointee won’t start for three months so the client base has not had anyone effectively selling for 11 months and the sales figures show that the territory is down on its forecast. With the sales manager under pressure to get someone into the field and start selling the new recruit is rushed into the marketplace.


In the example of the pilots, why would any company want to send out their salesperson without them going through the complete check-list of how to sell your product or service? Even if they are coming from a competitor, its your Unique Selling Points that they need to be trained on and the best way you want your product or service sold.


A New way of thinking

Don’t sent the person straight out into the field, but rather put them with the best salesperson for a week and have them shadow them. Find out how they sell, what makes the product or service great and the advantages over the competitors. Next week do the same with top salesperson number two and the third week do the same with top salesperson number three. At the end of three weeks the recruit should know what it takes to be successful in selling your product or service. They then need to compile all that information and formulate a plan for how they are going to win and grow their market.


Sending a novice into your customers or prospects without training is a recipe for disaster. Can you really afford to have your salespeople train and learn on your prospects or customers?


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