6 Tips to Boost Your Sales Team’s Confidence and Improve Their Performance
Confidence is important in any position, but it’s especially important in a sales role. When your salespeople are confident, it builds confidence in your prospects and customers, and removes any doubts or fears they may have around your offerings.
Join Steve Hackett, Regional VP of Sales and Rich Recchio, Director of Marketing, as they reveal 6 tips you can use to boost your sales team’s confidence and improve their performance.
In 19 hyper-focused minutes, we’ll cover:
- Why a culture of trust is critical for a confident sales team—and how to build one
- Ways that sales leaders can instill confidence and certainty in their team members
- Tips for helping reps quickly rebound from a loss and get back in the game
- Why mastering the fundamentals is the first step to delivering impactful and successful sales presentations
Read the Full Transcript of the Briefinar Below:
Rich: Welcome to the Brooks Groups Briefinar, we'll be starting in a minute.
Rich: Hello and welcome to a Briefinar for Sales Leaders. We promise to be brief, bright, and bring it all to you in 19 minutes. Today we're going to be given you six tips to boost your sales team's confidence and improve their performance. I'm joined today by Steve Hackett, Regional VP of Sales. Steve has been a driving force in the Brooks Group's growth for nearly two decades. Steve, thanks for joining us today.
Steve: Rich, It's great to be here and just to build on those six steps, this hour, we're going to drive sales in 2018.
Rich: Awesome. Let's get going. So, Steve, we all know that confidence is an important for every position, but in sales, especially having a high level of confidence can have a big impact on performance levels.
Steve: When your salespeople are confident and I'm emphasizing confident, not arrogant, they can build confidence with your prospects and customers, and remove any doubts or fears that they may have with working with you or your organization or any products or services that you offer.
Rich: Luckily, sales leaders can take some steps to help boost their team's confidence and especially in their sales salespeople. So let's jump into the six tips that we have here for you today. Tip Number one, focus and build upon your strengths areas. Steve, tell us how do you identify those strengths?
Steve: It comes from observation of your sales team in the field, performing, it's spending time with them in the office, it's observing them in real time situations. I need to have an intimate knowledge of the strengths and the areas that need to be developed in the sales team, if I'm going to effectively coach them, and there're some different ways to implement that too as well, Rich.
Steve: The first way is help the reps identify areas that they naturally excel in. It's really interesting, we've all seen salespeople that appeared to be self-confident on the surface, but yet when you have a chance to talk to them, you can kind of senses there's this uneasiness, there's this lack of competence that's below the surface, not that false bravado. So what you need to really do is to sit down with them and really identify the areas that you believe they have tremendous strengths in, and areas not only for them to identify those, but even coach them up to develop those areas even further.
Rich: Makes sense to me, Steve. I mean focus on the ones that you need to develop and keep them going,
Steve: You can conversely also look at the areas that they need to improve in as well. That's all part of it.
Rich: Tip two, learn from the success of others. And, Steve, this is actually one of my personal favorites. I love to be around others and talk about their successes and learn from them so that I can use them in future instances for myself. Can you tell me a little bit about maybe a success that you've had from your past?
Steve: Yeah, it's really interesting, Rich, in the world of sales, I like to do a little bit of a deal autopsy. Many cases we may think we know why we want a deal, but more importantly, when we lose a deal, how can I actually review that? So I like to look at a few areas and how we would go into this and implement that.
Steve: One is that you have to build this culture of trust within your team, and what does that mean? It means that they have to be totally self-confident in you and what you're doing is having them in their best interest, but also other members of the team being competent in you, because we have to learn from the successes of others. But in addition, let's encourage reps that share that tribal knowledge. I know that we have new reps in our organization right now and every one of the VPs of sales for our organization are spending significantly time with her right now to help her to escalate her learning curve and to get her more successful than others.
Rich: That's encouraging to know it's there Steve, I mean to share the knowledge and to get someone else up to speed is only going to help the team grow and to make sure everyone's hitting their numbers.
Steve: Rich, we had a meeting earlier today and we shared best practices. I honestly believe that the best learning comes on in our organization is we create this culture where team members are sharing with each other different ideas, different examples. We talked about marketing today. We talked about implementation. We talked about website, we talked about clients, we talked about different programs today. And the knowledge that we share with each other, and the feedback that we give each other I think is absolutely invaluable to all of us. And you as a manager, you're the one that has to foster that type of an environment, that culture within your organization, to have members feel comfortable that they're willing to share their thoughts in the openly in those meetings. That's the way that you're going to grow your team so they can learn from others.
Rich: Tip number three, master the fundamentals. What are, what are the fundamental, Steve?
Steve: Yeah, that's a great question. When we're talking about fundamentals in sales, let's break it down into the skill sets that they have to have mastery over, the ability to prepare for a sales call, the ability to do research on different clients or prospects, the ability to ask good questions and follow up questions. The ability to tie the information that they received when they've "probed" people with these questions to be able to make recommendations, understanding their products and their services and how they would apply to and provide solutions for. So you could break down fundamentals in the world of sales into very specific actionable items in steps and there're some other ways that we implement it as well.
Steve: Salespeople should know a sales process like the back of their hand. In today's selling environment, there's so many different influences on the selling process, so many different people that are involved with just a typical decision. So for a salesperson to control the sales process, they need to know where they are and where they're going. No matter who they're interacting with, or no matter how many different influences come into each one of the sales interactions that we have, they need to be able to control where they're going and where they are. In addition to that, it also provides the selling skills, those skills training that we were talking about, because in each one of those steps, in any type of a sales process. There're key steps and milestones in every one of them and those are skill sets that we need to master.
Rich: Those are great point, Steve. I mean, I go back to my selling experiences and one of the things that we lacked truly was having a sales process and for me to go back and be able to say, "Well, this is where I was, this is the step I should have taken," would have been monumental in my progress. Besides that, knowing what I needed to improve, that's really where those sales skills trainings come in.
Steve: Great Point.
Rich: Tip number four, replace negative energy with positive influences. This is a huge one in my book, Steve. Tell us a little bit about it.
Steve: Well, Rich, I think all of us have been in environments where is that person that comes into the room and there's a black cloud over their heads all the time. There's nothing ever positive. Everything's always a problem. Everything's always negative. They just suck the energy right out of the room. And I know you had some own personal feelings about that as well.
Rich: Yeah, for me, my whole life, I try to emulate and live through the life of PMA, which is positive mental attitude. And I just tried to strive for everything and replace any kind of negative energy with positive influences to help me drive in the right direction and to change the outcomes of what those situations may be.
Steve: It's more positive way to go through life, isn't it?
Rich: Much easier, much easier.
Steve: So let's talk about ways that we can implement it. Number one set the example of being positive and confident. You as the manager are their leader, you're their coach. If you're positive and upbeat and confident about what it is that you're doing or how you're working with your team, they're going to follow that example. I think about the number one example, the best practices for a sales manager is always lead by example. Well, being lead by example is being positive and competent in your own ability and they'll feed off of you as well.
Steve: Number two, pairing new sales reps with a mentor. Now I want to clarify this for just a second, pairing a new sales rep with a mentor who doesn't adhere to the things that you're saying or follows their own rules and regulations is probably the worst thing that you can do.
Rich: That's a big no, no, Steve.
Steve: That's a big no, no. So what you want to do is you want to coach up the mentor for exactly what it is that you want them to do and how they can help the sales rep get up to speed. And it's interesting right now, Rich, we've got a growing population of people that are going to be retiring here as well, at a point, and some of the absolute best salespeople that I know are really conscientious about what's going to happen to the next generation of salespeople, especially when they work for an organization for a long period of time. And they really look forward to the role of mentoring the next generation of salespeople for their organization. That's a healthy organization.
Rich: Powerful, powerful stuff, Steve.
Steve: And encourage your reps to surround themselves with successful goal-oriented people. I once sat in on a seminar, and I thought it was always an interesting seminar. The person that was conducted it drew a circle and inside that circle, he said, "This is the area of your comfort zone, and anything that you did inside of that circle, you're very comfortable in doing." But what happens when you have to get outside of that circle? We call that the area of the possible. For you to venture outside of that comfort zone, the best way to do it is to surround yourself that have a bigger vision of the possible than you have. People that are currently successful in those roles and can show you the way to get into that area of the possible, to really expand your roles and that's surrounding yourself with successful goal-oriented people that don't accept the status quo, they're always looking to improve themselves. Surround yourself with those people, you'll replace all that negative energy. There'll be nothing but positive influences as you professionally grow.
Rich: Great insights, Steve. Tip number five, become a subject matter expert. Well, Steve, as a millennial what we do right now to become an expert is just watch a couple YouTube videos. Does that work? Does that work for you?
Steve: Let's just line up three or four YouTube videos and we'll be in great shape. What do we need to be a subject matter expert on? Well, it could be things like your products, your services. It can also be your industry. In the book Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, there's a great article about Henry Ford and what he did to basically work out all of the problems and the issues they were having with the assembly line. Because remember when he built the assembly line for the Ford plant, for the Model A cars, he was the first one whoever invented it. He had a discipline, is every day he would focus for one minute. Now, for a millennial, the focus for one minute, I'm sure it's going to be a little bit more.
Rich: Ten seconds.
Steve: It doesn't sound like a lot, but he would take one problem, one issue that he had on the assembly line, and he would totally block out everything to totally concentrate and focus in on that one problem and that one issue. After the assembly line was complete and they were highly productive, he started manufacturing. He credited that discipline, of becoming a subject matter expert, the assembly line by the problems that he was solving or the issue he was solving on a daily basis just by focusing in on it for one minute. Seems strange in the world of YouTube videos and nanoseconds, but that's what they used to have to do in the old days.
Rich: Sure thing. It makes sense to me, Steve. I mean honestly, If you're able to know what you're selling and know what your prospects and customers are going through and on an everyday basis, then that's actually going to lead you to the competence there. They're going to see you as a competent person that understands their business and what their needs are.
Steve: Sales managers need to coach their reps to become experts in the industries and the companies and the organizations that they serve. In today's marketplace, Rich, businesses, clients, prospects, they're looking for insights. They're looking for best practices. They're looking for something that they don't have access to themselves. They're looking for organizations and people that can provide them these insights and these expertise in these experiences of working with other organizations.
Steve: They're looking for that and they're willing to engage your organization on a continuous basis by doing it. So if I am seen as nothing more than just a product pushing salesperson, I'm in trouble. I'm an afterthought. If I'm seen as a business or an industry expert, because I understand the business or I understand the industry you're going to be considered, and the ultimate is when we had the opportunity to be seen as that subject matter expert or that trusted advisor where we're actually invited into those meetings where strategies are being discussed as an organization. That's where we need to be. That's where we want to be, but if I don't take the time, I don't make the effort to really learn about the industries, the companies and the organizations that I work with. I'm never going to progress past that salesperson status and that is not a good place to be, because you can be replaced by a computer or some online ordering system.
Rich: Absolutely, it's almost positioning yourself inside the boardroom and helping them to create the RFP. You know it's going to be in your site.
Steve: He who writes the specs gets the check.
Rich: And that's a good one right there. Tip Number six, learn from successes and failures. Steve, do you recall any failures that turned into learning experiences for you?
Steve: Well, it's been a long time since I had a failure. Now, for all of us, if you're in sales, you're having successes day in and day out, but you're also having challenges day in and day out. So the failure not to learn from successes or from failures that you had are lessons that are lost forever and we're doomed to make those same mistakes in the future. So things that you can do, and I think there're ways that we can implement these that are really powerful.
Steve: You start out with the mentality that, "I lost this battle, but I'm going to win a war." So, Rich, if I was with you and let's say we were working on an opportunity and you decided to go with someone else, the first thing I want to ask you is, "Rich, I'm disappointed that we didn't get the business from you, but I fully expect that you and I are going to be doing business in the future." Stay positive and ask for coaching from the prospect, "What is it that we could have done differently," or, "What is it that we need to do differently in order to earn your business for the next opportunity?" Now, they're going to tell you that it was price, that's a universal blow off, everybody says is always price, but tell him to take price off the table and I've learned more from having those two questions answered and won more business from clients that I lost, maybe initially the battle, but I won a war and their long-term clients with us.
Steve: First of all, they appreciated the fact that somebody went back to them and had that kind of concern. How I can do better, how you can get better, how can we serve the organization better, and they'll tell you.
Steve: Number two, determine what contributed to your success and then repeat it. One of the best compliments that we get is that when we work with an organization, and we deliver training for the organization, they say, "Looking back on our conversations, I can see how you use the same sales process that you're teaching my team that we had those same types of conversations." So be consistent, model those successes, do the things that are necessary in a step-to-step way and just repeat those and you'll have continued success. Repeat those best practices.
Steve: And number three, remind reps to resist the urge to coast after the win. Here, we ring the gong when we win a deal, but you know what? All the real work starts after we won the deal. I sat in two meetings today that were kickoff meetings for starting initiatives with clients today. There's a lot of work that goes on behind-the-scenes in order to be successful on those calls.
Rich: Sales is like the quarterback, they get all the reward, and it's always a team behind me.
Steve: But yeah, there's always a team behind you, for sure, but those are just a few different ideas.
Rich: What's that old saying, Steve? A confused buyer buys nothing.
Steve: Yeah, that's a term that we use around here a lot, but there's a flip side to this. A confused salesperson sells nothing. Our job is not to confuse the buyers or the prospects, our job is to educate them and be systematic and have a flow to how we interact with people that's easy to follow and it's repeatable, which leads us to-
Rich: Yeah. And that's honestly the simplicity of the impact selling process, right? And right before you here, we actually have the iron line sales training system platform for you here IMPACT-U. And this is where it's accessible and it's convenient and it's right here in front of you. And what we want to do is, because you're all here and you're joining us today, we wanted to offer you a free trial of the IMPACT-U, and that's all you have to do is reach out to Steve and that firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see his email address right there, and he'll be more than willing to walk you through and even answer any questions that you may have about it.
Rich: So it looks like we are all wrapped up here and we don't have any more time for any questions, but we wanted to thank you for joining us and, Steve, did you have anything on your way out?
Steve: Nope. Just hope. Just be positive. Be Upbeat. Make sure you follow those six tips and you're going to build the confidence in your sales team and they're going to be more confident in you and how you're working with them as well to drive sales moving forward.
Rich: Thanks, Steve. Appreciate it, everyone. Have a great day.