Your Culture is a combination of what you create and what you will allow.” Craig Groeschel

 

I’ve had a number of conversations with sales professionals recently that left me scratching my head.

As much as they are trying to develop relationships with clients and prospective clients, their sales leaders are only interested in hard numbers.  One told me that his leader called him recently and when he answered the phone the leader didn’t even greet him with a ‘hello’, but with “Where is the ______ deal at?”  And, unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident.  Many sales professionals have told me their team meetings are all about how close they are to hitting their numbers and when they think certain deals will close.  Now, don’t get me wrong, we need to measure progress, but at what expense?

This is no different to me than sales reps constantly pestering prospective clients after they’ve presented a proposal or current clients about reorders.  There is a fine line between following up (apologies to Liz Wendling for using the dreaded F word!) and becoming a pest and a nuisance.

What’s interesting about this is many sales leaders train their sales team (or spend big money on having an expert train them) on follow up techniques that provide value and move the proposal forward, yet when it comes to how they treat their own team members, they fall back on a pestering and badgering their team about their numbers.

“Selling based on trust goes beyond needs-based selling, consultative selling, or problem-solving selling. It’s not about getting the transaction- it is about establishing a relationship”  Charlie Green

Trust-Based Selling

What’s interesting about this is many sales leaders train their sales team (or spend big money on having an expert train them) on follow up techniques that provide value and move the proposal forward, yet when it comes to how they treat their own team members, they fall back on a pestering and badgering their team about their numbers.

This is, of course, a systemic problem that typically flows down from the top.  The CEO wants answers from the CRO or CSO who then asks the VP of Sales, who then asks the sales leader who then reaches out to the team.  I can’t prove this, but I think with every level down the chain the request goes, the pressure builds. 

In his recent blog post, “Attention Sales World… Would You Like a Slew of Clients or a Slew of Transactions”, my friend Larry Levine talked about ‘transactional intent and thinking’ when it came to the relationships we’re building with our clients and prospective clients.  This quote really stuck out to me, “This transactional mindset and the way you carry yourself becomes fragile. It leaves you in a vulnerable situation and quite replaceable.”

I believe that sales leaders need to realize that if they are approaching their team with a transactional mindset, then their team is vulnerable and will need to be replaced, because sales people are going to start to look for a way out. This was quite evident when I spoke recently with a tenured rep who’s successfully hit quota year after year, yet he’s thinking about changing careers.  Why?  Because the focus is only on the numbers, hardly ever on the people.

Sales leaders, we need to realize that when all we’re focused on are numbers and goals, then we’re developing a transactional culture on our team,  Wouldn’t you rather have a transformational culture??  

A transformational culture is focused on transforming the lives of your clients and prospects AND the lives of the people on your team and in your company and organization, as well as all of the families that they represent.  What better way to motivate your team than to point out that every relationship they make and conversation they have, is a chance to transform not only their own lives, but the lives of that client, the lives of the employees of that company as well as their own.

We need to choose a transformational culture over a transaction culture if we’re going to bring trust, credibility, authenticity, and genuineness back to the vocation of sales- that’s what Selling From The Heart is all about!

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