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How To Help Your First-Time Salespeople

Anyone can be a salesperson, right? When most people think of salespeople, they often think of someone who is funny, energetic, charismatic, money-driven, and relentless. But that's not always the case. Here is how you can help your first-time salespeople be successful.

Be Clear on the Expectations of Their Role

As the sales leader, your role is to make sure your salespeople know what their role is. Your salesperson's role is to help solve your customers’ problems. You’ll want to make sure they can answer questions like, what problems do your customers have, and how does your company solve them?

Solution-based selling allows the salesperson to use a sales process that is a problem-led approach. It then determines if and how a service or product could bring specific improvements that the customer desires.

Solution-Based Selling

Before any sales team member approaches a potential customer, make sure they do their homework first. The salesperson needs to clearly understand the customers' needs. Have your salespeople consider what potential problems the customer may be experiencing. Make sure they have several benefits prepared beforehand to prove your company's products or services can solve these issues.

When it comes to solution-based selling, you'll want to make sure your salesperson:

  • Understands the problems you solve for.
  • Asks the right questions.
  • Knows what your clients' challenges are, including:
    • Personal challenges.
    • Business challenges.

The Process

According to HubSpot, "19% of buyers want to connect with a salesperson during the awareness stage of their buying process when they're first learning about the product." So, make sure your first-time salesperson understands the sales process and how best to connect with your customers.

Within your sales process, you'll want to make sure your salespeople know how to:

  • Identify who has those problems.
  • Find your ideal clients.
  • Determine which of the roles within those ideal companies to target.
  • Engage those specific roles.
  • Ask the right questions.

Make sure your salespeople are on the same page by having a plan in place to ensure they know who, how, and when.

Find those Coachable Moments

The sales leader's primary role is to coach and develop their team, not just tell them what to do. It can be challenging for any leader to simply observe and not tell. However, you’ll best support your team if you look for those coachable moments.

A coachable moment is an informal, usually unplanned, or unexpected opportunity for a leader to have a conversation with their sales team to solve a problem or learn from a work experience.

The Institute of Coaching cites, "80% of people who receive coaching report increased self-confidence, and over 70% benefit from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills."

Coaching becomes more comfortable when you have data to reference. A meaningful way to get firsthand data is to observe your salespeople. Observe them when they engage with customers by doing a ride-along, listening to a phone conversation, or joining a video conference call. You can see firsthand how their sales conversation is going. You can give specific feedback on what worked well and opportunities to improve.

Reinforcing Good Behavior

Whether it's a one-on-one, a team meeting, or a weekly email, most meetings will have a set of takeaways, deliverables, or actions. Be clear on what those items are and how you will follow up on them.

Following up with your team, especially with your new or first-time salespeople, reinforces excellent performance and behavior, and provides necessary feedback. If you fail to "inspect what you expect," people will pick up on that quickly. They will then be less compelled to do what is asked of them. Following up keeps everyone on track and allows for strong accountability.

In the End

To set your first-time salespeople up for success, define their role well, make sure they understand what problems your organization solves, who your ideal customers are, and what your sales process entails. Don’t forget to look for coachable moments and reinforce good behavior.

About Gary Braun

Gary is a founder and co-owner of Pivotal Advisors. He has worked for 20+ years as a salesperson and sales leader. Gary has been a guest speaker for many groups such as Vistage, Allied Executives, CEO Roundtable, Sales Management Association, and more. If you want to find out more about Gary check out his profile here.
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