The better your sales people perform the stronger your company will be. In consequence, company owners and sales managers need to focus on how to build top performing sales people. Even if your sales reps come to you with significant experience, you'll need to train them on your unique company culture, services and products, and expectations. When you deliberately set out to build top performing sales people, your company can achieve like never before.
The following practices can help you turn your sales team into top performing sales people, the kind of sales people that build lasting relationships with customers and spread your company's influence.
1. Teach Goal Setting
As a sales organization, you should be setting team goals for your group on an annual or quarterly basis, but if you want to cultivate top performing sales people, teach them to set their own personal goals as well. High performers set more ambitious goals than the goals assigned to them by corporate targets, and you can teach all of your sales reps to be high performers by encouraging and specifically teaching them how to do so.
2. Encourage Effective Time Management
Very few people naturally manage their time well. Most of us have to use calendars, schedules, alarms, and timelines to keep us on track and moving toward our goals.
You can help your team to become top performing sales people by modeling good time management and teaching them how to handle their own schedules. At your team meetings, spend a few minutes going over upcoming appointments, meetings, targets, and schedules, and ask your sales reps to report to you on their own schedules. It might be helpful at first to ask your sales reps for a schedule of their upcoming appointments or even for a rough daily schedule so you know how to reach them at any given time. This will help the members of your team to think about their time wisely, especially if they know they have to report to you.
Additionally, you can help your sales reps to manage their time more effectively by providing them with tools--software, calendars, and communication systems, for example--that will help them to be more productive.
3. Teach Them to Set Objectives and Prepare for Sales Calls and Meetings
Top performing sales people never go into sales calls or meetings blindly; they prepare ahead of time, doing their research about prospects and companies and preparing carefully constructed questions and selling points.
Teach your sales reps how to ask good, probing questions, and instruct them to prepare plenty of these questions ahead of a sales call or meeting so they are ready for any direction the conversation takes them. Top performing sales people don't get caught unawares; their preparation has steeled them for anything.
4. Help Them to Follow Up
Even after a sale is made, top performing sales people still follow up with their new customers, ensuring customer satisfaction and finding out if there are other concerns they can help with. But follow-up isn't just for after the close. Top performing sales people follow up continually, all the way through the sales process.
Help your reps to become top performing sales people by helping them with these important follow-up skills:
- Send handwritten thank you cards after sales appointments.
- Send email reminders of appointment times.
- Ask customers for referrals.
- Research questions you didn't have answers to, and call or email with the answers.
By teaching goal setting, encouraging effective time management, helping your sales reps to set objectives and prepare for sales calls, and helping them to follow up, you can turn the members of your sales team into top performing sales people who can make a real impact on your company's overall success.