Compasses For Sale
Compasses For Sale

Great Questions Reveal More Than Just Great Answers: How To Find The Sales Talent You Need Today

Put yourself in this scenario: You’ve just been hired as the new sales team leader – vice president of sales with a charge to turn around a stagnant and seemingly unmotivated team smack dab in the middle of the most challenging economic times in the past half century.  Yikes!

You’ll need some strategy – and some questions.  First, your strategic sales team plan, four strategies to implement right away:

 

  • Ask questions. Meet with your sales team (conference calls work in a pinch) and brainstorm to identify the top three – only three – key activities that lead to the fastest, cleanest, most profitable sale for your company.

    Once you’ve defined these key elements, begin to orient your energies and systems to create more time for the three elements. By getting all your sales people involved in this process you build trust, focus and create more accountability because team members are giving you answers based on sales data and experience.

    No more excuses for failure if they don’t follow the formula they all agreed is the right one.

 

  • Create more accountability. Implement a weekly or bi-weekly reporting system that shows you all activity – calls, meetings, proposals, quotes, proposals, tradeshows, letters sent and the like to get a handle on where the sales team’s energy and time is spent.

    You may find some misguided players whose compass simply needs to be reset.

 

  • Install an incentive plan based on activity. Define a “qualified customer,” then create a reward system for activity that will lead to sales (i.e., the three keys the team agreed are critical to making more sales). Offer, for example, a $250 check for every proposal or meeting; or on-site visit; or major account important enough for you to attend the meeting personally.

    You will immediately see who’s motivated and disciplined enough to attack activity that leads to accomplishment. (Yes, you still pay them the commission, as well.)

 

  • Homework assignment. Ask each sales person to write their 30/60/90/120-day sales and marketing plan to grow sales in their region, and e-mail it to you within three days. This simple request will astound you in revealing who are the thinkers, the doers, the procrastinators, the smoke ‘n mirror gamers and the weak writers.

    This exercise also gives you keen insights to how to utilize various training and motivating techniques, as well as enhance all written correspondence going out on company letterhead.

 

It will take less than one week to implement the four strategies, with little cost. The results and learning you will glean will enhance your knowledge, create more energy in the sales team and show your new boss that you were worth paying the big bucks to join their team.

 

You’ll also want to learn the personalities on your team. Based on research that indicates past success is a key predictor of future success and that, indeed, you’re looking for success, here are some behavior-based questions to ask in one-on-one discussions with your sales people.

 

The questions are conversational, non-threatening and created to generate life stories that will help you better understand each individual’s drive, life experience, sales training, personal status, behavioral patterns and how the person organizes their life.

 

Armed with this meta analysis, you can gauge who on your staff will best benefit from additional sales training/coaching – and who may not be worth additional investment at this time.

 

•1)     Why don’t you start?  What question do you have for me?

•2)     What would really surprise me about you?

•3)     For a prospect:  What’s your real motivation to change jobs? Now what’s the real reason?

•4)     What’s your philosophy on goal setting?

•5)     What reading material would I find on your coffee table (or nightstand, kitchen table, car)?

•6)     Tell me about a situation that placed you in an ethical dilemma?  How did you handle it??

•7)     How did you earn money in college?

•8)     How far away from home have you traveled? (Have a map on your desk.)

•9)     Draw a pie chart showing how you spend an eight-hour day.

•10)   Are you a curious person? If so, give me an example.

•11)   What’s your favorite success story?  How about a failure story?

•12)   What should I have asked you that I haven’t?

•13)   Want to be a millionaire? Why? What are you doing to prepare for it?

•14)   How would your world change if you made $35,000 more next year?

•15)   For a prospect:  Are you ready to resign from your job in five days? What will they do when you quit? What will they say about you after you have left the company?

•16)   Share some stories about the four most influential people you know.

•17)   Have you ever created a 30, 60, 90-day strategic plan for your job or a future job? Give me the outline of such a plan now.

 

Got a question of your own to ask author Russ Riendeau?  You can reach Russ at www.russellriendeau.com or 847/381-0977.

 

 

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