Having a team of successful salespeople can do wonders for your business, and having a team of lackluster salespeople can bring you down. Like, way down.
So how do you get the most out of your sales team? By being a great coach. And encouraging them to practice.
Most salespeople are extremely competitive, not just in sales, but in everything they do. In other words, there’s a reason there are so many sports analogies used in sales. It’s the same reason some businesses head straight for the athletic department when recruiting on college campuses. Successful athletes are highly competitive. It’s the way they’re wired, and it’s what drives them to win.
Like good athletes, good salespeople also draw on their competitive nature to drive success. But just like exceptional athletes, exceptional sales teams know the game isn’t really won on the playing field. It’s won on the practice field.
Your sales team can give 110% during the game, set and match. But if they aren’t pouring that same blood, sweat and tears into their preparation, victory may not be yours.
Is your sales team doing the important prep work that will allow them to perform to their full potential? If not, there are ways you can help.
Coach them toward success
The best coaches know that effort alone doesn’t always result in a great performance. To be successful, players need to know the game inside and out. They need to know the strategy— what plays will work and why.
Here’s how you can help bring out the best in your key players:
- Recognize that every team has a different dynamic, with different strengths and weaknesses. And as much natural talent as your new recruits may have, they won’t know any of those nuances when they first join the team. Good coaches will take the time to teach and mentor each new addition until they are completely confident in their role.
- Identify individual strengths and who fits best in each position. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking everyone needs to be good at everything. Your catcher is not also going to be a great pitcher. Let her do what she does best. Then groom another teammate to compliment her talents.
- Motivate your team around a common goal. Like any team, this isn’t every man for himself. Getting the MVP award is fantastic, but it’s not nearly as satisfying if you’re on the losing side. When your team wins, you all win.
- Practice, practice, practice. Then practice some more. Given two equally matched opponents, preparation will win the game every time. Does your team hate role playing and rehearsing presentations? Too bad. It’s equivalent to lifting weights. The more you do it, the stronger you become.
Talented athletes and salespeople who go out there and “wing it” might occasionally succeed thanks to sheer will, luck, or going up against a less capable opponent. But those who have great coaching and are willing to work hard at practice are far more likely to reach (or exceed!) their goals consistently.
Be that coach to your sales team and see where they can take you.
At Raffa, we work with businesses in the greater Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC area to implement strategic employee benefits plans designed to position them as coveted employers of choice. Whether you’re looking to build a healthy team, lower employee turnover, or recruit and reward executive talent, we can help.
Photo by Antonino Ruggeri