Empowering Your Sales Team for End of Year
Another year is almost over and as we approach the end of 2022 it is time for you to ask yourself, are you training your sales teams for empowerment or just efficiency? Do they feel confident in themselves and their soft skills or just their knowledge of the product?
Since COVID, a majority of people have decided to stay virtual, which means fewer onsite visits, conferences, and prospect lunches. Which, in turn, means your sales team’s human connection is more important than ever. Today we’re going to talk about a few soft skills you can help your team develop for overall empowerment and efficiency.
Negotiating and Influencing People
Life is one big negotiation and it’s a fact that negotiating is an imperative part of any sales process, but are your salespeople confident in the way they go about it or are they just going through the motions? As a new salesperson, speaking to CEOs and VPs can be intimidating; they have years more experience and a better handle on the industry, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own influence over them.
When we think of negotiations, most people think of demands and uncomfortable situations, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Negotiation is an art, not a science, and master negotiators arm themselves with knowledge, skills, and confidence. According to the Harvard program on negotiation literature, Principled Negotiation, these are the main principles of a negotiation:
- Separate the people from the problem
- Focus on interests, not positions
- Invent options for mutual gain
- Insist on objective criteria
Help your sales team understand these principles and they will be confident in their influence over others before you know it.
As a former salesperson, I’m here to tell you, sales is a stressful job. Quotas hanging over your head, managers who have to answer to VPs and VPs who have to answer to CEOs all coming to you, QBRs, unruly prospects, being ghosted, and that is just the stress you have at work. Add in family obligations, a social life, and trying to find time for self-care and you can quickly become overwhelmed. Learning how to manage your stress becomes imperative to keep a clear head for those aforementioned negotiations and unruly prospects. So how are you, as a salesperson, managing your stress? And how are you, as a sales manager, helping them do so?
Did you know stress increases the risk of heart disease by 40%, the risk of heart attack by 25%, and the risk of stroke by 50%? Those are scary stats, so here are three ways that successful people manage stress:
- Disconnect: As a salesperson or sales manager, it’s hard to step away. Always worried you’ll miss a question or request that will help close a deal, especially at the end of the month or quarter, but by staying connected 24/7 you open yourself up to a barrage of stressors.
- Quit the self-deprecation: We’ve all been there, we get off a demo or call or lose a deal and immediately stress out and talk down to ourselves. The more you stew in negative thoughts the more power they have over you, but they’re just that, thoughts not facts.
- Use a support system: This is where the sales manager comes in. Are you offering your team support when things go off course or are you talking down to them and telling them to fix the problem without telling them how? Everyone needs a support system. If they are brave enough to ask for help, be supportive enough to help them.
Resolving Conflict and Handling Objections
How great would it be if deals had no objections, if it was smooth sailing from discovery call all the way through onboarding? Unfortunately, that isn’t usually the way it works (although I am wishing you all a nice little end of the year bluebird). Dealing with prospects and customers doesn’t always go as planned and your ability to resolve conflict can change the entire deal.
Conflicts are a part of life; there is no way to deny it. Whether they’re conflicts and objections from a prospect or customer, or if you manage a team with internal conflict, the best way to handle it is to tackle it head on, but how?
- Drop your ego. Nothing ever resolved when two people decided to be stubborn.
- Be honest. If you made a mistake, own up to it. If something negatively affected you, speak up; now is your opportunity.
- It’s not about “winning.” If you are trying to win a discussion, you’re missing the point. The goal is to reach an understanding and find a way to move forward.
While hard skills and product knowledge are more than necessary to run a good sales team or be a good salesperson, in today’s virtual world you must also be able to make that human connection and you can’t do that without properly training those soft skills that help you feel confident and empowered.
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