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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5 Steps to Mastering The Art & Science of Selling

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Is Selling an Art or a Science?

Have you ever wondered if selling is an art or a science? Talk to any successful sales leader and they’ll tell you that to succeed in sales, you’ll have to master a combination of both. Regardless of how sales was done in the past, science has proven that the brain uses specific patterns to make choices about various factors that are taken into consideration. To succeed in sales, mastering the art & science of selling means following a structured process while understanding the specific needs and problems of your customers.

Selling products usually involves following a methodically structured transactional process. Sales professionals will often learn from successful strategies that can be easily recreated and taught to anyone with even the slightest social skills. However, when it comes to selling services or digital technology, the selling process can be thought of as more artistic. This approach requires cultivating a deeper relationship with your clients to build trust, credibility, and loyalty.

Sales professionals who can creatively paint a compelling picture of their product’s unique benefits to the customer while adhering to a strategically structured sales process will gain the upper hand in selling. Mastering the art & science of selling requires sales professionals to balance a carefully crafted dance between structure and creativity.

Maintain Curiosity

A curious sales professional digs deep into a potential client and seeks to understand their issues and needs. Maintain curiosity with your customers and get creative with your questions to find out what their motivations and goals are. Sales professionals who can understand their customer’s business and their unique issues can paint a better picture of how their product or service can be the solution they need. The goal is to listen to the needs of the customer and present two or three options that are beneficial.

Read Related Article:  How To Be an Authentic Sales Professional

Establish Anchor Points

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In psychology, an anchoring bias in decision-making refers to the human tendency to rely entirely on one trait or bit of information when making decisions. Studies have shown that the brain uses anchors, creating a bias that shapes how information is received. Once an anchor is established, a person will become bias towards the value of that anchor.

As a sales professional, it’s your job to create anchors for potential customers. They tend to look at prices and determine if it’s fair or unfair based on the price of something similar (or dissimilar). Customers will also look at what they paid the last few times, what other quotes they received, and other such anchors. You should address pricing before revealing it by using comparison points.

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Hone Your Presentation Skills

Whether you’re delivering a presentation along with a competitor or trying to figure out when to list features and benefits of your product, timing is everything. Those who sell more tend to know instinctively when to present their qualities or features. The challenge for most sales professionals is creating art from words and understanding when and how to say the right things to engage, entice, and persuade customers.

Utilize Data and Technology to Your Advantage

Advancements in technology has changed the customers’ expectations and the sales process. Technology has allowed the customer and sales professionals to make fact-based decisions.  It has long been understood that sales professionals have relied on traditional selling methods that have been documented and replicated with scientific accuracy. With the advent of digital technology, sales professionals are now equipped with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools, analytic software, and social media to gain a better understanding of their target customers.

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Beware of Reactance

Reactance is a psychological principle that occurs when an individual feels that others are restricting their ability to freely choose and make decisions. Reactance is often triggered when an individual has an instinctive desire to rebel against a restrictive force.

Reactance has been known to shut down sales because of an uncomfortable sense of urgency that a sales person creates for their customers. Often times the pressure to buy is overwhelming and will force a customer to back out of the deal. To mitigate reactance, sales professionals should engage customers in a way that gives them the power to accept or decline decisions without any pressure.

Try using stories to distance the customer from the resistance and remember to create a meaningful relationship instead of pressuring customers to commit to a one-time sale.

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5 Key Principles of Successful Selling

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Remember These 5 Key Principles of Selling

Whether you’re new to the selling world or have been in the industry for years, you will likely come to realize that trends and patterns change all the time. While most sales professionals are content on achieving average or less than average results, most sales professionals want to excel and achieve great things in their professional sales careers. The modern sales landscape has given way to big changes in all aspects of selling. The ability to integrate timeless best practices in sales with modern sales techniques is key to becoming a successful sales professional. To close deals and optimize your sales process, keep these 5 key principles of successful selling in mind when navigating the modern business landscape.

Related Reading: Mastering The Sales Mindset

Retention

Customer retention is an essential principle of successful selling in today’s modern business landscape. It’s easier to keep your current customers happy than it is to find a brand-new customer. Over time, you will inevitably build a healthy client base, but one of the key principles of successful selling and client retention is to go above and beyond for loyal customers that you already do business with.

Keep your loyal customers engaged by offering referral bonuses or rewarding them with discounts to show appreciation. Successful customer retention means showing your customers that you care about their business. Rewarding loyal customers can be a cost-effective way to keep them happy.

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Social

It is no secret that social media is the wave of the future.  Everyone is on one platform or the other, so it makes sense to utilize social media in order to promote your business. Social media is not an option and should be thought of as a key principle of successful selling for any business.  The ultimate goal is to create content that engages the reader, promotes your brand, and possibly lead your customers to buy products through your website.

Successful sales professionals know how to utilize social media to gain insights into leads allowing them to streamline the sales and prospecting process.

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Data

Information is essential regardless of your business. In sales, it can make or break the sale. Without the right information, sales professionals risk looking incompetent to a client and lose credibility. Make sure to go over pertinent details, look at past notes, and actively listen to what your client needs. Learning how to interpret sales figures, invoices, and other important data has never been more accessible and critical to the closing the deal.

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Technology

A key principle of successful selling is understanding when and how to supercharge your sales methods with technology. Tools can include CRM solutions, meeting software, electronic signing apps, and much more. Access to customer data is an essential aspect of successful selling. The most successful sales professionals are experts at transforming dense data into tangible and visually appealing representations of the customers problems.

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Culture

While business culture isn’t new, salespeople tend to operate differently than other areas of business. Developing a positive sales culture that motivates and inspires is a key principle of successful selling. Effective sales leadership is essential to any sales operation as sales professional looks to management to set a clear path for success.

 

A healthy sales culture empowers sales professionals to understand the role they play within the business, their product, and other sales reps within the team. Sales leaders who are dedicated to facilitating a healthy sales culture take great strides nurturing the professional growth of their sales teams by holding active discussions that identify weaknesses and opportunities for strengthening sales skills.

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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!

 

5 Smart Ways To Succeed In Sales

There are many people who have managed to find success in sales without ever reaching their true potential because they become content with their success. Many sales professionals often lose sight of the fact that there is always room to improve and do more to advance their careers and gain even more success. Those who take this extra step in sales and push themselves to the limit are known as the top 1% of sales professionals. They have found smart ways to succeed in sales by creatively thinking outside of the box and working hard.

These top performers in the sales industry aren’t just the people bringing in the most revenue for their companies. They are the ones setting the standards for everybody else by setting the trends in their industry. These top sales professionals are always hungry for more opportunities to succeed. How do these top 1% of sales professionals reach the top of their industry and continue to ride a wave of success?

In order to reach the top 1% of sales professionals, you must embrace the idea of being a trendsetter. Success is a lifestyle, not a destination and if you follow the footsteps of others you can reach a certain level of success. However, in this competitive business world, it takes more than that to reach the highest level. With this in mind, following the safe path will not always take you to the top of your game. The safest choice is not always the best choice if you want to be in the top 1% of sales professionals. Trends in business are always changing and the ones who are willing to innovate and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of business will separate themselves from the pack. How can your business set trends instead of following them? Here are some smart ways to succeed in sales in today’s complex and competitive world.

 

1. Make Time For Creativitycreative-brain-two-sided

It’s hard to be creative when you don’t make enough time for yourself to let the good ideas flow. Be patient with the process and learn to play around with new ways of doing things. Don’t judge yourself too hard when you are brainstorming. Trendsetters in business are willing to think outside of the box and patient enough to let new ideas grow. The right work ethic and the willingness to explore new ways to tackle a problem will set you apart from the rest.

Related Article: Sell More Creatively and Unlock Your “Inner Edison”

Related Article: Tapping The Right Brain: 5 Steps To Improving Creativity In Sales

 

2. Study the Current Trends

You need to know the rules in order to break them. Learn what trends dominate your market so you can think of new ideas to change the way things are done. Read about the latest industry tactics. Learn from the success and failures of your competitors. Attend webinars and conventions of leaders in your industry and learn as much as you can from them. Trendsetters are always 2 steps ahead of the competition because they stay informed and can anticipate moves in the game.

Related Article: Inside The Mind of a Top Sales Performer

 

3. Learn How Your Customers Think

Listen to your customer base and understand what works and what doesn’t. Knowing these simple things will help you generate new ideas. Figure out what they need and capitalize on it. Understand what customers are saying and have an honest dialogue with what they have to say about your business. Learning from your customers will help you to innovate and think clearly about what really needs to get done to improve your business.

Related Article: How To Brainstorm With A Group

 

4. Establish Your Brand

Separate yourself from your competitors by learning how to brand your business effectively and often. Incorporate your brand into every facet of your business so that customers learn to recognize you. Learn your strengths and emphasize them. Establish a good reputation with your customers by developing valuable content. Valuable content is not an advertisement. Valuable content helps to solve a problem, answer a question or address an issue for the reader.

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5. Build A Great Team

Strive to build a strong foundation for your business by hiring innovative people who will go to bat when you need them to. Treat your team with respect and motivate them to keep up with new ideas in your industry. Inspire your team by holding brainstorming sessions. Let your team bounce ideas off each other and think of ways to help foster creativity by communicating clearly with them. You’re only as strong as your weakest link so it’s important that everyone is on the same page and running like clockwork.

 

Related Article: 7 Secrets of a Happy & Successful Sales Team

 

Succeeding in sales today requires that you think outside of the box, work like hell and call on a large pool of ideas to draw inspiration from. You need to be creative and you need to suit up and show up every day. The top 1% of professionals forge their own path by exploring new ways to innovate and expand. Learn to stay motivated and hungry by executing your goals in a timely and professional manner.

 

If you want to learn more about how to forge your own path to success in sales and sell like the top 1% then visit The Sales Coaching Institute website. We practice smart selling and teach you the latest trends and concepts to open your mind to a new world of possibilities.