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Do Your Salespeople Have the Ability to Push Back?

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Fri, Feb 23, 2024

One of the most important skills that a salesperson needs to possess is the ability to engage in what I refer to as “appropriate and respectful confrontation” with a prospect…at least when the need arises. For the sake of simplicity, let’s just refer to that as the ability to push back.

If you go on enough sales calls or have enough sales conversations with prospects, there is going to come a time when the prospect will say something that you disagree with. Maybe the prospect is just factually incorrect. Perhaps the prospect has reached a conclusion that is simply not well founded. What if the prospect is making forward looking statements about you or your company that don’t sit well with you? 

The elite level salespeople that I coach have two skills that are very helpful in dealing with the scenarios listed above:

  1. They have the confidence and the courage to push back (they are willing to challenge)
  2. They know the right way to push back (appropriately and respectfully)

I believe that most sales calls come down to just a few moments that really matter in terms of their ability to impact the call. And no doubt that one of the big moments is when the prospect says something that you just don’t agree with. When that happens, you have two options:

  1. You can play it safe and let it go
  2. You can push back

And do you know what the sad news is with all of this? Most salespeople are afraid to push back because they think it will upset the prospect. But the reality is this: not only will the prospect not mind, it is actually the conversation they want to have….as long as the push back is not aggressive and as long as the push back in non-emotional.

So here are the two words to remember: warning and permission. Salespeople who excel at pushing back always give the prospect fair warning that they intend to push back…and they ask for the prospect’s permission to do so. It might sound like this:

Bob, you said something just a few seconds ago that I have a different view on…would you be ok if I challenged your thinking just a bit and shared with you why I see that issue differently?”

I learned long ago that the word fear is an acronym that stands for “false expectations appearing real.”  Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that could happen if you push back? Of course, maybe you don’t want to push back. If that is you, would you be ok if I respectfully challenged your belief?  Would that be ok?

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Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, achieving sales success, sales training tips

Achieving Sales Team Excellence – No Micro Managing!

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Feb 15, 2024

Most organizations and sales managers think of accountability or performance management as “micro-managing.”  Jim Collins has been quoted as saying “There is no such thing as 'micro-managing.' There is either managing or not managing.” There is a lot that a manager must bring to the table to be effective at setting standards and gaining accountability with their team. And it is a difficult job to gain that fine balance of supporting and guiding your team without crossing over the line, providing your recommended solution. This ultimately does not allow your salespeople to navigate the sales situation and figure it out. Helping them self-discover is how salespeople become more skilled and effective sales leaders can achieve sales team excellence.

What are the competencies and behaviors of those leaders who seem so talented at helping others achieve their very best? We rely on the pioneer and #1 sales management evaluation by Objective Management Group to help understand exactly what it takes to create effective accountability with your sales team. The Accountability Competency measures if a manager holds their salespeople accountable to measurable, forward-looking metrics. By using forward-looking indicators rather than lagging indicators, especially with longer sales cycles, you can make adjustments and mid-course corrections.

Here are the Accountability Competencies below.

  • Manages Behavior
    You can improve your ability to hold your salespeople accountable by measuring their success based on KPI's related to daily behaviors, as opposed to lagging activities such as sales.
  • Doesn't Accept Mediocrity
    You are not willing to accept mediocrity, even if that means salespeople may be unhappy with you.
  • Takes Responsibility
    Your tendency to take responsibility when you don't achieve results helps you hold your salespeople accountable when they don't meet expectations.
  • No Need for Approval from Salespeople
    You are able to hold your salespeople accountable without worrying about how that might affect whether they like you.
  • Beliefs Support Accountability
    Your beliefs related to sales management tend to be strongly aligned with the role and importance of holding salespeople accountable.
  • Asks Enough Questions
    You have good listening skills, which encourages your salespeople to share their concerns, frustrations, expectations, problems, and feelings with you, and in turn helps you hold them more accountable.
  • Manages Pipeline
    Your strengths in the Pipeline Management Competency support your ability to hold your salespeople accountable

Performance management and accountability are all about setting higher standards for success, holding people accountable to the effort and execution to hitting those standards and changing the definition of ‘good’ in an organization. Take a few minutes to evaluate your effectiveness on these accountability competencies listed above.  The path to achieving sales team excellence includes your ability to become better at and ultimately master these skills.

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Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, achieving sales success, sales training tips, Fractional Sales Management, fractional sales manager

Should Your Company Hire a Fractional Sales Manager?

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Fri, Feb 09, 2024

Many companies are struggling with finding talent in today’s environment, and it is particularly difficult to find top-notch sales management talent. Depending on the industry, this role can be a very expensive one to fill, and it is critical to get it right. Every organization needs to grow revenue, and this person is the driver of keeping your sales team focused on the right activities, target clients, industry knowledge, technology solutions, and most importantly, sales skills. The list of responsibilities is long. Unfortunately, most sales managers have no formal training in leadership, management and coaching skills, so how do you find the right person?

There are assessments in the marketplace to identify the strengths needed for sales leadership and we recommend and utilize the Sales Management Insights from Objective Management Group. These assessments can be used to screen candidates to see if they have the skills needed to lead your team to achieve the revenue growth goals of your company.  But sometimes, it is very difficult to find quality sales management candidates.

What is a Fractional Sales Manager?

Simply stated, a Fractional Sales Manager would run the sales management activities for your organization without being an employee. They would become well-versed in your company’s sales systems and culture, but they spend part of their time with your organization and the rest of their time working with other companies, so hence the “fractional” title. And of course, your company pays a fraction of their cost. They are part of your company, not part of your payroll. Something to consider as you evaluate your options:  We know from 30 years of data that: Salespeople reporting to a sales leader with strong coaching skills tend to have 28% more close-able late-stage opportunities.

Many companies do not have strong sales managers and struggle with finding the right person for that critical position.

Your Company Might Consider Hiring a Fractional Sales Manager if You:

  • Have a team of less than 10 salespeople
  • Are tired of trying to find the right sales manager
  • Don’t have the budget for a full-time sales manager
  • Senior leadership is not equipped to coach and drive accountability
  • Company does not have a consistent sales process
  • Sales team is lacking motivation and are not driving leads
  • You need to drive revenue and grow!

What Activities Would a Fractional Sales Manager Perform?

Every company is different and has nuances that they must address and therefore, they have varying needs, so it is important that you are able to select from the custom components and activities that a Fractional Sales Manager would perform. Here are the activities that you could consider for a customized Fractional Sales Management program:

  1. Robust Sales Meetings – Your Fractional Sales Manager will schedule and run sales meetings, establish standards, and keep your salespeople on track. These meetings are the ideal time to provide sales ideas and track the results. An experienced Fractional Sales Manager (FSM) will uncover new motivation in your salespeople.
  2. Weekly Huddles – A Fractional Sales Manager will make sure your salespeople are focused on the right activities and report on the metrics that matter, mobilizing the team and adding a competitive tone.
  3. Monthly Pipeline Review – The Fractional Sales Manager will dive into your pipeline details, continually upgrading your prospects and coaching your people on the quality of leads, which is an essential component to driving results.
  4. 1-on-1 Coaching –Each individual on your team needs personal help to drive skill improvement and optimize calls. Your Fractional Sales Manager will spend the time needed to get to know them, their sales goals and provide 1-on-1 time to help them close more deals.
  5. Updates with Leadership – Your Fractional Sales Manager will keep the leaders updated and report on accountability measurement improvements.

Let us know if we can help your company with a Fractional Sales Manager. We’ve been doing this for over 30 years- 30 years of experience developing sales leaders to more effective levels of performance management and coaching. Our Fractional Sales Management program is targeted and strategically aligned with the companies we work with, so there is an immediate lift in productivity and revenue.


Contact a Fractional Sales Manager!



Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, achieving sales success, sales training tips, Fractional Sales Management, fractional sales manager

4 Rules to Help Your Salespeople Have Better Initial Calls

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Fri, Feb 02, 2024

How important is it that you or your sales team close more business, more quickly at higher margins? We can guess that it is pretty important.

If you think are leaving dollars on the table and need to find a solution to that problem, there are two things I want you to recognize:

  1. Your current sales process is perfectly designed for the results you (or your team) are getting today – if you are not closing as much as you believe you should, then there is something in your process that must change.
  2. That change starts at the beginning – the phone call to set up the appointment.

The quality of the phone call will always determine the quality of the appointment. If your salespeople must have better initial calls, then they must improve the quality of the phone call. 

To get you started, here are 4 rules to share to help your salespeople have better initial calls:

  1. How you say what you say is more important than what you actually say. You must ask questions and then really listen. If you tell stories, use metaphors and analogies. You need to have appropriate eye contact and body position, voice inflection, and background especially in today’s virtual world.
  2. Nobody really wants to talk to you – this seems like a harsh rule- but if you know this going in, that will help you be better prepared to nurture the discussion.
  3. You have 10 seconds to make a GREAT first impression. If you show up late for the zoom call or meeting, you’ve already lost. If you don’t have compelling and CEO-like questions to ask that really engage your prospect, you are behind the 8-ball. If the prospect cannot connect with you in the first 10 seconds, everything is downhill from there.
  4. Finally, practice and record your opening dialog. Listen to it. If you were someone you’ve never met before - would you engage? (Sales coach, you should listen and provide feedback that is helpful to your salespeople)

Salespeople must have a strategy or plan for success going into the meeting. Not a plan that is developed in the car during the drive to the appointment, but rather one that is thought out in a pre-call strategy session. Here are your two objectives:

  • The overall objective should be to have a go or no-go at the end of the meeting – that doesn’t mean buy or don’t buy, it just means that you move to the next step or don’t.
  • The secondary objective is discovering as much as you can about your prospect’s motivation to meet and have the discussion you are having. Normally this involves a pain they want to eliminate or an opportunity that they want to leverage. Find out their compelling reason to take time out of their schedule.

One thing we know for sure, prospects don’t take time out of their schedules unless there is an underlying reason. A salesperson’s job is to find out what that reason is.


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Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, achieving sales success, banking sales training, sales training tips, sales coaching best practices

Achieving Sales Team Excellence – the Motivation Competency

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Thu, Jan 25, 2024

The dream of every dedicated sales leader and the key to achieving sales team excellence is understanding what drives and inspires their people to perform at their highest potential. What are the competencies and behaviors of those leaders who seem so talented at helping others achieve their very best? We rely on the pioneer and #1 sales management evaluation by Objective Management Group to help understand exactly what it takes to ‘motivate’ a sales team. Simply stated: The Motivating Competency measures how effectively a sales manager understands what motivates their salespeople and how they can keep them motivated.

Motivation Activities to Drive Sales Team Excellence

Let’s break this definition down into activities that have been identified by the assessment that as a sales leader, you can utilize to help motivate your people. If you want to be an effective sales leader with a strong motivating competency, you will:

  • Know What Motivates Salespeople - By learning what uniquely motivates your salespeople, you will likely find that they will work harder and more effectively because their actions will support their goals. 
  • Give Recognition - By more regularly praising your salespeople when they are positively performing, you can raise their self-image and may find that they are more effective.
  • Run Effective Sales Meetings - By making a conscious effort to include motivation in your sales meetings, you can help ensure the motivation of your salespeople does not wane and protect against negative sentiment.
  • Beliefs Support Motivation - Some of your beliefs related to sales management may be misaligned with the role and importance of motivating your sales team. In other words, to be effective, you must believe it is important!
  • Have a Good Self-Image - Your strong self-image helps you be brave while selling, and it also helps you motivate your salespeople. With both intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors in play, it is often difficult to understand but you must have the courage to get personal and build relationships with your salespeople. 
  • Develop Strong Relationships - By addressing areas for growth in the Relationship Building Competency, you will be able to build stronger bonds with your salespeople that will provide insights into how you can motivate them. More on the Relationship Building Competency in our next post in this series.
  • Take Responsibility - Your tendency to consistently take responsibility helps motivate your salespeople, as they know that you will not blame them for negative sales outcomes.
  • Won’t Accept Mediocrity - You have high expectations for your salespeople and don't except mediocre performance, even if that makes your salespeople unhappy with you.
  • Have Goals and a Plan - By improving your personal goals management system, you can also motivate your salespeople to be more goal oriented.

Take a moment to review and rate yourself on these 9 competencies of a successful motivational sales leader. It has been stated that motivation is an inside-out job meaning that as a sales leader, you must understand what motivates your people internally in order to help drive the external results – more clients, more sales, larger average accounts, more network, etc. You cannot create motivation in your people, but you can become better at understanding how they are motivated to tap into what it takes to drive their individual inspiration. One by one, taking the time to more fully understand these motivational factors for each salesperson on your team, will help you get closer to achieving sales team excellence.


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Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, achieving sales success, banking sales training, sales training tips, sales coaching best practices


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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


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