- April 23, 2009
- Posted by: Dave Kurlan
- Category: Understanding the Sales Force
Do you have a salesperson like Bob?
Bob was very anxious over what to write to a suspect that blew him off. The prospect canceled an appointment and was vague about whether or not he would reschedule. This stopped Bob in his tracks and he literally spent an entire day getting feedback on what his email should say. Not only is Bob wasting time, it is time that could be spent finding and identifying additional opportunities, moving existing opportunities along and connecting with customers or clients and collecting referrals. So what causes Bob to do this and could we have predicted this behavior?
In this scenario, Bob is emotionally involved – not with the suspect himself – in the drama of both the rejection and the upcoming response to his soon to be sent email. However, the emotional involvement is not the problem, it’s merely a symptom. There are two problems:
- The first is his lack of recovery from the rejection of the canceled appointment. Everyone gets rejected but how long it takes to recover is more important than the actual “fear” of rejection.
- The second is Bob’s Need for Approval. He is so worried about how his suspect will respond to the email, that he is putting tremendous, unnecessary effort into the actual letter. It’s likely that if Bob recovered from the rejection more quickly, the need for approval may not have kicked in either.
Let’s pretend that Bob didn’t have this trouble recovering from rejection. Without it, he would have been in a position to deal with his suspect’s cancellation on the phone, in real time, as it happened, and either rescheduled or ended this opportunity right then and there. However, even without the rejection problem, his need for approval may have prevented him from confronting the suspect for fear that his suspect would be offended and go away.
So what do we have instead? A suspect that has likely gone away anyhow, and Bob wasting an entire day on a letter that may very well be irrelevant. Sound like an unlikely scenario? Both the actual scenario and the hypothetical scenario happen every day to tens of thousands of salespeople, maybe even yours!
Can these behaviors be predicted?
Yes! The Tendency to Become Emotionally Involved, Need for Approval and Difficulty Recovering from Rejection, specifically in sales situations, are standard findings in Objective Management Group’s suite of sales assessments. More important than the findings though, are your ability to manage salespeople with these issues. How you get your salespeople to navigate their day, despite weaknesses like these, defines how effective you are as a manager.
Do you know which salespeople are likely to fall victim to the myriad of possible scenarios?
Do you know how to prepare them?
Do you know how to help them use their strengths to compensate?
Do you know which role plays to engage them in so that they say, ask, and do the right things when suspects and prospects trigger the weaknesses?
Do you know how to hold them accountable to applying and executing those role plays in real sales calls?
In the current economy, you must be able to consistently succeed in that style of coaching and accountability with each of your salespeople because with the resistance they encounter each day now, those weaknesses will cause certain failure rather than sometimes interfere with success.