The True Cost of a Toxic Sales Culture

What is The True Cost of a Toxic Sales Culture?

Employees have to feel comfortable and secure at work, but the pressure of making profits and selling particular numbers each day can result in a toxic sales culture. As the leader or manager, you have influence and power, which means you could be the one creating that toxic environment. Your goal is to motivate your employees, but a tough-love attitude can quickly cross over to abusive. While some people believe that being unforgiving and tough is the best way to manage everyone, the truth is that each person on your team must be managed differently.

 

What enforces the rules with one person may not work with another. You can scream and yell with some people, and that’s the only way to get the point across, but with most people, politeness and compassion work much better. Read on to learn about the characteristics of a toxic sales culture and the affects it can have on an organization.

Poor Sales Leadership

There are many examples of what poor sales leadership looks like. Organizations that lack a structured sales coaching model can lead to unorganized, uninformed, and anxious sales teams that are in constant pressure to meet sales quotas. This often leads to an unhealthy competitive atmosphere.  Toxic sales cultures often start from the top of the chain where sales managers take advantage of their sales teams and treat them as a means to an end instead of providing inspiration and sales coaching.

Related Reading: How Successful Salespeople Grow

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Abusing Power

Power is essential because the employees must know who is in charge. However, it’s very easy to lord your power over the employees; power is intoxicating. You might believe you’re pushing others to do better but be careful with how you make use of the power you have. Abusing power can lead to employees feeling as if you are undercutting them. Learn to build your sales team by investing in your professional development as a sales leader.

Leading by example is a more effective way to gain the trust of your sales professionals instead of relying on fear to motivate them.

Related Article: Sales Leadership 3.0

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Displaced Aggression

Many times, sales managers are under a lot of stressful situations. Sometimes sales managers will project or displace their stress on their sales professionals in an unhealthy manner. Irrationally displaced aggression if left uncheck, can alienate other employees and decimate a sales professional’s workplace experience.

When you allow your aggression and power to control the situation, employees feel undermined. Instead of being goaded into doing better, they tend to become even more lackluster. They might not care about the consequences because they’re already tired of the job and may be looking for work elsewhere. If they’re average or above-average employees, you’re on the brink of losing someone worthwhile because you took advantage and didn’t realize how toxic your behavior was until it was too late. Also, many managers never realize that their behavior was inappropriate.

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Losing Worthwhile Employees

When you allow your aggression and power to control the situation, employees feel undermined. Instead of being goaded into doing better, they tend to become even more lackluster. They might not care about the consequences because they’re already tired of the job and may be looking for work elsewhere. If they’re average or above-average employees, you’re on the brink of losing someone worthwhile because you took advantage and didn’t realize how toxic your behavior was until it was too late. Also, many managers never realize that their behavior was inappropriate.

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Feedback is Not Encouraged

Organizations that lack or discourage feedback can be a sign of a toxic sales culture. Pay attention to how employees and their sales managers handle criticism. Does your sales leadership make an effort to make reasonable changes to the organization based on feedback from employees? Sales leaders should encourage conversations to improve the work culture. Communication on all levels is key to strengthening the workplace of your organization.

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A Toxic Workplace Environment Will Stifle Sales Performance

A healthy workplace environment can either inspire your sales professionals to fulfill their true potential or stifle performance that will leave your organization in a hurricane of excuses, finger-pointing, and skepticism. The true cost of a toxic sales culture goes beyond crippled motivation and lackluster sales performance. A hostile work climate that neglects its employees in an unhealthy manner is detrimental to the overall longevity of your business.

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How To Sell Strategically

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How do you sell strategically?

Selling strategically is a phrase that most sales people have heard and wonder about. It’s no question that sales professionals are always looking for the most efficient and effective way to sell their products or services. While strategic selling isn’t necessarily easy, a carefully laid out plan can boost revenue and help your business gain an upper hand against your competitors.

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Learn Your Company
Understanding strategic selling means gaining a clear understanding of your company and its unique vision. When those are well-known and aligned, you can work on selecting the best customers based on how well they fit into the parameters of people who want to buy from you.

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Collect and Analyze All Necessary Information
Selling strategically works only when you make informed decisions from carefully analyzed and accurate information. Learning how to leverage your social selling skills as a sales professional by using social networking to make connections and gather leads that lead to meaningful relationships can be a great way to gather information about your potential customers.

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Establish Yourself as a Credible Expert to Gain Trust
Sales professionals will have a better chance at earning the trust of their customers when they stop trying to sell them something and start trying to help them overcome their challenges. To sell strategically, sales professionals should learn everything there is to know about their customer’s industry, the unique challenges they face, opportunities for resolving these issues, and positioning your product or service as the best way to mitigate risks.  

 

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Sell on Value
When you look at the competition, you can clearly see how your products or services differ. However, a customer isn’t likely to know the industry as well as you. They primarily look at price instead of value, so it’s up to you to create a strategy to sell them on value.

Read Related Article: How To Clarify and Align Sales Goals

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Listen for Opportunities
Customers also tend to know how salespeople operate. For instance, they know that you’re going to tell them features and try to push them to buy, so they’re already on the offensive. The goal is to listen in order to get a better feel for how you can strategically position your solution to their problems. Do they want more information? Do they know what they want or are they asking for help subconsciously? Do they desire more information or want you to point out the best products to help with their issue?

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4 Key Attributes of Mentally Prepared Sales Professionals

The Mentally Prepared Mindset

Top salespeople don’t just have meetings; they are mentally prepared for meetings. Just as you would make sure you have the demo, the samples, the PowerPoint or brochures as well as the product video all keyed up on the tablet, top salespeople also take the time to prepare mentally. Are you mentally prepared for your next sales meeting? Here are 4 key attributes of mentally prepared sales professionals.

1) Mentally Prepared Sales Professionals are Organized and Focused

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Top sales professionals keep a great record of their clients and their information. They have the names of their clients’ spouses, information about their passions, hobbies, and the industry they are selling into.

Mental preparation for sales presentations and meetings are a part of mental discipline. It is often not boring or a lot of memorization if sales reps are genuine and authentic. Get into a problem-solving mindset rather than sales mode with clients.

Related Reading: How to Use Time Management To Become a More Successful Sales Professional

 

2) They Study the Unique Sales Problems of Their Clients

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Mentally prepared sales professionals consider the information on the client already known, what would be helpful to know in this meeting, and how the product or service offers value.

In this way, mental preparation is a lot like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. In going over current information, the mentally prepared sales professionals may find missing pieces. Reviewing client information provides a framework for details and data for the sales rep.

This is vital to understanding the story and challenges that the customer is facing. By discovering these details in authentic and genuine conversations, the product or service becomes the solution rather than just a part of the puzzle.

WATCH NOW: Four Traits of Successful Sales Professionals

 

3) They Are Experts at Adjusting Their Sales Tactics Based on the Client

It is very common for a sales professional to find a method of selling which works very well with one client. A common mistake is to develop a thought that this sales technique or method is the “perfect” option for all customers.

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Customers are very different. This difference extends even to companies within the same industry. What works as a solution for one company may not be needed or effective in another company. Locking into a mindset of one sales solution for all customers is not only self-limiting, but it is likely to be self-destructive.

 

A better option is to maintain an open mindset about trying new things. This also goes back to not taking rejection personally. In some cases, the deal-breaker may be the approach that was used. Experimenting with different approaches and methods differently will keep the sales professional focused on the buying signals sent by the client.

For example, one customer may want to spend 10 or 15 minutes sharing personal stories and getting to know you as an individual. Another client may want to talk about the problems they are experiencing, and a third client may want to include a team approach to making a purchasing decision. Some customers may want information emailed while others will want to hear your presentation at the meeting. Understanding each customer will impact how you structure and plan your time with the customer.

4) They Communicate in a Relaxed and Genuine Manner

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By being flexible and carefully discerning what approach is best for the client, top salespeople vary their presentations, communication styles, and interactions with the customers. This flexibility comes across as authentic, natural, and not stilted or forced. It also gives you additional ideas for how to be comfortable in trying new approaches with future customers.

 

Not being rigid also allows the successful sales rep to quickly read a customer and adjust their style in the first few minutes of a meeting. Challenging yourself to meet the best style for working with a customer is a great mindset for success and one which will have an immediate positive impact on any meeting.

 

If you would like to learn more about the attributes of mentally prepared sales professionals, sign up for The Sales Coaching Institute newsletter to learn more!

 

Handle Customer Objections: Key Sales Lessons from Tommy Boy

Key Sales Lessons From Tommy Boy

Sales professionals can learn a lot from sales scenes in movies. Hollywood may seem like an odd place to look for inspiration but rest assured, there are plenty of invaluable sales lessons to be learned from Hollywood’s cult classics. Learning how to handle customer objections during sales calls, dealing with difficult clients, or refining your sales strategy, can improve your selling skills.  When it comes to handling customer objections,  these key sales lessons from Tommy Boy can teach sales professionals a thing or two about how to effectively deal with customers’ concerns. Learn how to navigate the world of sales by taking a cue from these two classic sales scenes in Tommy Boy.

How NOT to Handle Customer Objections

There are key sales lessons from Tommy Boy that teach you how NOT to prepare for sales meetings. Tommy (played by Chris Farley) prepares for the upcoming sales presentation meetings by frantically pacing to overcome his nerves as Richard (played by David Spade) tries to prepare him with some classic sales advice: “We don’t take no for an answer.” What follows is a hilarious montage of sales meetings with Tommy bailing out of every sales meeting after getting rejected without even learning how to handle customer objections.

The fundamental message here is that with every sales meeting will come objections of all kinds. It’s important to be resilient with how you overcome rejections in sales. Pay attention to your clients’ reasonings and objections. Adjust your responses accordingly and treat every objection as a chance to ask more questions about their specific problems. A good sales tip is to know your product or service like the back of your hand.

Sales professionals must also learn to read their customers personality and adjust their sales presentation accordingly. One way to do this is to ask open-ended questions that reveal their specific pain points and problems. Pay close attention to the nature of their language (and body language), when they answer your open-ended questions. Adjust your approach accordingly to match their personality to improve your chances of closing the sale.

Both Richard and Tommy fail to speak the customers’ language in this specific scene. Richard relies too heavily on the technical aspects of the product or service and inevitably turns the customer off. Tommy, on the other hand, is too informal with his approach and unavoidably ends up ruining the sale.

How to Handle Customer Objections  

Now let’s look at how Tommy Boy effectively handles customer objections. In a critical scene of the movie, Tommy closes his first sale with a customer by utilizing open-ended questions and asks, “Why would someone put a guarantee on the box”? This strategy moves the conversation forward and keeps the customer engaged and curious.

A key sales lesson from Tommy Boy is to take advantage of the belly-to-belly you have with customers. Tommy was able to effectively deliver a convincing argument as to why his product was superior. He was able to close this deal by handling the customers’ objections with relevant anecdotes and interesting examples. Tommy’s argument was predicated on the fact that a “guaranteed label” on a box does not always correlate with a quality product. Tommy learns how to handle customer objections and ultimately ends up closing his first sale on the road and goes on t save his father’s company.

 

If you enjoyed these key sales lessons from Tommy Boy and would like to learn more about how to handle your customers’ objections with The Sales Coaching Institutes One-on-One Sales Coaching program or our Professional Sales Training services.

 

5 Steps To Run A Productive Sales Meeting

While the world of business is fast paced and frantic there are times when the entire staff comes together for the purposes of making succinct plans for the future. These conferences, or sales meetings, are important to the employees as well as the employer. It is during these meetings that goals are set and techniques are refined. If you are responsible for setting up sales meetings in your company, then there are several things that you need to remember at all times.

The following information is meant to serve as a guide to help you lead a more productive and professional sales meeting.

 

 

Agenda-ChecklistMake An Agenda

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that you need to have a specific agenda for the materials that will be covered in your meeting. Having a plan is the first step in making your business meeting more productive. If you fail to have a proper agenda, it will become obvious to the other employees that you have not devoted adequate time to your craft. This is the breeding ground for sloppiness and for apathy. Make a plan and stick with it.

 

 

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Every sales meeting needs to embody the salespeople. This means your meeting needs to hold information that can be beneficial to the people who are actually doing the selling. This is a great time to inject new people and new ideas into the conversation. Encourage your people to share and bounce ideas off of each other. This meeting is about making them more productive. Allow them to learn.

 

Related Article: How To Brainstorm With A Group

 

Collaboration

This meeting is not about hearing you lecture. The number one mistake in many sales meetings is the dominance of one person. It is important that this meeting is a time of collaboration. Make sure that you are not the only one speaking. This is not the time to monopolize the conversation. On the flip side, it is important that you do not allow another individual to dominate the conversation as well. In order to foster a good environment, it is important that everyone have a chance to share. It is equally important that everyone feel his or her opinions are being listened to.

 

Related Article: Stop Pitching and Start Solving Client Problems

 

measure-resultsMeasure Results

It is important that your meeting has measurable results. This does not mean you should take a poll of the people immediately following the meeting. What it does mean is that a sales meeting is meant to offer encouragement as well as fine details.Recognizing the individual performances during meetings promotes improvements throughout the sales force. A properly run sales meeting can energize your team and set your week on the right path. A poorly operated sales meeting could undermine your leadership.

Make A Comfortable Environment

Perhaps the most obvious aspect of a sales meeting is that it should be fun. This is not the time for carnival rides or balloon animals but it is a time to make your employees comfortable and loose. Allow for creativity in both the atmosphere and the tone of your meetings.

 

The Sales Coaching Institute offers effective instruction when you want to learn more about how to run a sales meeting efficiently. Get more great tips by visiting SalesCoach.us today.