As an entrepreneur, you and everyone who works for you, and with you, must be a salesperson in one way or another. Even so, the official sales staff is under a lot of pressure to perform. But have you shown them “blood from the beast?” In other words have you actually demonstrated that sales are possible?
Have you put them in the same room with a top performer so they can listen, observe, and learn the techniques, subtleties, and nuances necessary to close a sale? Many salespeople say they have their own style but unless they perform, that style needs improvement. New salespeople are sometimes skeptical about whether anybody can achieve your sales goals, which often are set by folks who have never sold themselves.
When we were in our growth phase building the Barefoot brand, many sales to out-of-state distributers were done over the phone. We had a key salesperson who was not closing. He was busy alright – phoning, emailing and taking copious notes, but not closing. We paired him up with a super performer and put them in the same room for a month so they could hear and see each other work.
The super performer continued to close sales, but now the underachiever was watching this happen right in front of him. So now he had peer pressure and daily demonstrated examples of how it was done – with a variety of tough customers. He improved big time! In fact, he went on to become our top salesperson!
We have a friend who was looking for ways to reward his salespeople for hitting and exceeding their sales goal. He thought a great reward would be to have the performers get their own office and no longer have to work in a big bay with other salespeople. The plan seemed to work at first. Everyone tried harder and sales went up. The top salespeople got their own offices and were the envy of the rest of the sale staff. Many of these top performers became even better performers as a result of having the privacy of their own offices.
But a funny thing happened out on the main sales bay. Sales started falling off. Why? Because the folks the salespeople were looking up to, the top performers, who were inadvertently teaching them and supplying the peer pressure to perform, had been moved out of the room! Now the room was filled only with newbies and low performers. Comments were made such as, “It was just a bad day,” or, “Nobody else in the room was capable of hitting the numbers,” or even worse, “The goals are unreasonable.” They certainly had a majority in the room with which to commiserate.
Ultimately our friend changed the policy and kept the top performers circulating through the main sales floor. He also paired up newbies with established salespeople one-on-one in their offices where the experienced salesperson could show the newbie winning sales techniques and give them friendly support by critiquing their calls and offering suggestions about alternative ways to handle objections. Sales improved all the way around.
A key ingredient necessary to turn a good salesperson into a great salesperson is confidence. When they hear and see a top performer demonstrate pride in their product, empathy for the customer, and social skills in action, they know it’s possible for them to do the same. They’ve seen “blood from the beast,” and now they want it for themselves too!
Who We Are
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.
To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.