This month we saw a significant increase in the number of articles written about ineffective sales qualification and ineffective sales management coaching. It is the latter’s failure to assure that the former is doing what they are supposed to be doing.
Everyone knows what qualifying is, but there are five inherent issues:
- Not everyone believes they need to thoroughly qualify
- Not everyone is comfortable with each qualifier
- Not everyone is capable of seamlessly embedding qualification into a conversation
- Not everyone cares about becoming more effective
- Most sales managers aren’t any better at this than their ineffective salespeople
The first and second Issues are intertwined because the discomfort felt by many salespeople forms the beliefs which cause their actions and inactions. That’s very simple to understand but can be very difficult to repair.
We have issue number three because most salespeople find that the most challenging part of selling is translating a series of sales process milestones into a fluent, mutually productive, two-way conversation. The reason this is so challenging is that most salespeople are not very effective, not very comfortable (there is that discomfort again) and not very aware of how to use advanced listening and questioning skills. Take note and let there be no doubt about it. If you can’t lead an unscripted, two-way conversation based on listening and asking questions, you won’t be able to get your prospects engaged. Not only that, you won’t be very good at uncovering your prospects’ compelling reasons to buy from you, or at the all important act of differentiating yourself from everyone else who is calling on your prospects. Finally, it will be impossible to sell value because value selling depends on this!
Let’s talk about issue number four. You are reading this article and that is good. But does that mean you care about being more effective? Or are you selectively looking for something that resonates with what you already know and do? By being selective does that make you smarter and more efficient? Or does it make you dumber and more resistant to change? Will you only incorporate that with which you are comfortable? Comfort with a strategy, tactic, process, methodology or approach is not a prerequisite for action or effectiveness.
Finally in issue five we have Sales Managers and their inability to recognize, call attention to, correct and hold salespeople accountable for qualifying effectively. Sales Managers must be able to do this well, consistently, frequently and cause change and improvement to occur. Just one coaching conversation should make a lack of qualifying obvious. And in that same coaching conversation, a Sales Manager should be able to fix it. Why isn’t that happening?
Well, who is holding the Sales Managers accountable?
There is trouble in today’s sales organizations and there are plenty of fingers to point and plenty of people to blame. It will take a team effort to step it up, take responsibility, fill the skill gaps up and down the sales organization, and improve performance.
Are you up doing your part?