Why Competent Salespeople Don’t Achieve Sales Targets

Let’s assume for the moment that your sales team consists of competent salespeople.

Great … however, there is a huge difference between a salesperson who has competence and a salesperson who applies their competence.

Price, Product and Service Parity

Most salespeople are selling in a world of price, product and service parity … their competitors’ products or services are similar in features, benefits, quality, quantity, price, and cost.

For this reason, dealing with a competent salesperson is the expected and minimum entry pass for  customers.

Having good product or service knowledge is just the start.

What’s more important to the customer is their perception of whether the salesperson’s intention is to understand the customer’s specific situation, wants, needs, concerns, and goals.

This is where a salesperson’s skillset in applying the science of emotional intelligence, positive persuasion and influencing, rises to the top of importance in their competency set.

Observational Leadership

What if you’ve got a competent sales team, however, individually and/or collectively, in the disruptive and competitive world they’re selling in, applying what they know isn’t winning them the new, repeat or referral sales required of them?

If they keep doing what they’ve always done, and the results aren’t where they need them to be, the outcome can be a sense of failure and overwhelm.

This is where sales leaders need to become observational leaders and coaches to understand whether (a) their sales team is in fact competent, or (b) which elements of their competence (skills, knowledge, attributes) are not being applied, or (c) which elements of their competence needs development.

I’ve been given the excuse by some sales leaders that it is impossible for them to be with every (or any) of their salespeople when the salespeople are out in the field with clients.

That’s either a leadership priority and time management issue, or a lack of understanding of what it means to be a leader.

In some sales environments, for example, in-bound and out-bound tele-sales, it is standard leadership practice to ‘listen in’ either live or to recordings of their salespeople in action.

The value of being able to observe/listen to their salespeople forms a key part of their coaching and development of their salespeople.

It might be more difficult, more time consuming, and what might seem more expensive for sales leaders to be observing their salespeople’s performance.

However, the benefits of observational leadership include increased leadership confidence in their coaching and development strategies, increased leadership knowledge of the realities of what their salespeople experience day to day, increased salesperson competence and confidence, increased salesperson accountability, increased sales activity, increased salesperson engagement and intrinsic motivation, increased new, repeat and referral sales.

If you’re not applying Observational Sales Leadership, you’re not providing the best possible value for your salespeople, your company, or your customers.

Give it a try and I challenge you to prove me wrong.

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