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Why Aren't Your Sales People Selling?

Tony Cole

Tony Cole

Tony Cole, Founder and CEO of Anthony Cole Training Group


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Sales Core Competencies I


I work with CEOs that are afraid of what the current economic environment will do to top line sales revenue.  Certainly they can get more creative with expenses, but eventually that will have a negative impact on leveraging  new opportunities.  It doesn't take talent to cut expenses;  it is a math formula.  However, it does take talent and creativity to drive new business sales when markets are like they are today.  That is where we come in.

At Anthony Cole Training Group,  we use an assessment built and constantly perfected by Objective Management Group.  The assessment and the resulting findings provides information about sales strengths, sales weaknesses and sale skills as they relate to 21 core sales competencies.  My question today, and in 2 additional blog posts, will be:  How are you addressing these core competencies in your sales development program (either individually or corporately?)  If you are reading this as a participant of one or our training programs, then this information will have a tone of familiarity, so you will be able to relate to the content.  However, you may have been more recently focused on technique rather than the core issues that may be hindering your sales success.  I encourage you to read these posts and identify how they can be additive to your current program.  If you are not one of our participants, feel free to go to our website and take the sales grader to find out how you are doing against best practices in sales.  Here are the first 7 core competencies:

  1. Has written goals: this is where your courage and passion come from. Without written goals you won't have the passion or commitment necessary to ask the tough questions, continue to prospect when the market is tough and to consistently ask for introductions
  2. Follows a written goal plan: Often people have goals that are written, but then fail this next critical step - establish a written goal plan. Without a plan your goals lack clarity and therefore the activity required to accomplish your goals is unclear as well. And when the required activities are unclear then they won't get executed.
  3. Positive attitude: This isn't about looking through rose colored glasses. This is about keeping your head about you when all those around you are losing theirs. It is easy to get caught up the water cooler talk and the complaining about the company, economy, or what the competition is doing. Ignore the talk and focus on what you have to do to be successful.
  4. Take responsibility: Excuses are like opinions - everyone or most everyone has them and, unfortunately in selling, we use them when we fail to accomplish our goals. The easy thing to do is to blame something or someone for our shortcomings. If you've been in sales long enough you know that something is always going to happen to make selling difficult for you, but if you are committed to your own personal goals, then you won't let anything get in the way.
  5. Strong self confidence: This is critical to succeed. You certainly can't expect yourself to perform well if you don't feel fully confident in what you are doing, what you are representing and what you are saying to the market. But what drives all of this is how you feel about yourself. You must have the confidence to maintain your ‘posture' when you are faced with difficult selling situations. Keep in mind that external gimmicks and crutches won't support you when things are tough. You must consider yourself a ‘10' and maintain that assessment of yourself no matter what happens in your roles.
  6. Supportive beliefs: What you believe dictates what you do. If you believe that the economy is too tough to sell in, then you'll be right and won't sell anything. If you believe that people don't want to talk about spending additional dollars in a tight budget environment, then you will have trouble scheduling appointments. You get the point?
  7. Control emotions: You must focus on executing your sales system and be prepared for curve balls, and ‘tough' questions. If you anticipate ‘what can go wrong' then when something does come at you that ordinarily would be considered unusual then you will be prepared to handle the situation. If you haven't thought through your phone call, or sales call or presentation, then you will be vulnerable to surprises. When these surprises happen, instead of continuing to execute without ‘panic', you will ‘choke' and deviate from your tried and true sales methods and approach. The symptoms of losing control of emotions are during review of a meeting your self-dialog contains words and phrases like: "should have, shouldn't have, could have, why didn't I, I can't believe that". These are indicative of losing control of emotions.

The best thing to do is to pick just one of these that seem to be the area where you need the most work.  Tackle that one first.  Not the one that is easy, but the one that will have the most positive dramatic impact on your business.  And if you need me call me @ 513 791 3458.

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