Rep vs consultant

What makes a good sales rep?

 

Is it someone who has the courage to walk into a brand new prospective business and give them the “spiel” like a door to door encyclopedia sales person?

Is it someone who builds great rapport on first introduction and makes a time to have a more in depth conversation at a time mutually convenient? 

Is it someone who can plan their conversations and then execute that plan so well that they achieve their intended outcome? 

Is it someone who understands the scope of an opportunity and the steps required to strategically grow and win a national account?

Or, is it a combination of all of these?

 

Oh, so many questions! 

 

But then, it is me, and I do love my questions!!

At some point though, being a walking talking brochure and being the most likeable rep won’t be enough. When the client portfolio shifts from small one off businesses to national accounts, this old skill set won’t cut it.  And without a shift, they’ll struggle.

So that we’re growing and developing our sales teams, here 3 ways to begin to enable our reps to step up:

 

ONE: From likeability alone to trusted advisor

Reps believe their likeability is their point of difference.  Consultants understand that the way they create and reinforce the experience with their clients develops deep trust.  And there are many elements to it.

How do you show up?  Do you come across in the way you look, speak and interact as someone who takes pride in your role, who cares, who understands this space and as someone whose opinion is respected?  Preparation, attention to first impressions, listening more than speaking, and seeking to understand are all critical skills to shift from teller to advisor.

 

TWO: Ability to plan and strategize

Besides planning activity, most reps need to be good at face to face cold calling.  Now, while this skill will always be a handy one, the intention mustn’t be to achieve a “sale” on first meeting with a new prospect.  And yet, that’s what happens.  And not much of that interaction is about discovery or listening.  It’s a big tell fest. 

Larger opportunities deserve a strategy to win them and leave nothing on the table.  This means not only thinking bigger, but of working towards an end game. Cold calls can be used as a tool to secure a time for a proper “business” meeting.  Creating a solid first impression and building rapport is the only outcome for a cold call.

 

THREE: Ability to progress an opportunity in a logical, systematic, consistent manner

When sales opportunities are larger than a one off opportunity,  there is more complexity to the sales process, so an appreciation of all of the moving parts in an organisation and their influence on one another is required. 

Being able to “chunk up” to understanding how a solution can support the client’s overarching business goals often means speaking with multiple decision makers, users of the solution, and with influencers.

It means understanding how decisions are made in the organisation: is there a formal process?  Who is part of that panel?  What is it about the way we deliver value that sets us apart from others in our space?  What matters to them?  What is the best way of conveying the value of our solution?

Reps who haven’t made the shift from trying to “get an order” in the first meeting will struggle.  It’s up to us as sales leaders to support them through the next part of their evolution as sales professionals.

 

 

 

View our other posts

Sales Teams Need Strong Leaders

In workplaces, schools, businesses, politics, communities we look to leaders for strength, truth, hope and a clear path forward.    This couldn’t be more important for businesses everywhere than it is right now.  The right leadership will rally teams together in...

Getting Back Up

How many times can a person be struck down before they just can’t bring themselves to get back up?  We each have a breaking point.    There are superhumans who have a well of inner resourcefulness they draw upon that keeps them internally strong when all about...

Truth

  We know when we hear it.  We sure know when we don’t.  Conveying it without brutality however, is a skill worth cultivating. It’s not acceptable to simply vomit truth bombs on others without any regard for that person’s feelings, experiences or context, and...

Courage

Have you ever woken up at 2am in a sweat?  Filled with anxiety and pacing the floor?  Have you walked around in your pjs in the wee small hours, looking into the fridge, not really knowing why, but hoping the answer will jump out yet at the same time, knowing it...

Have the conversation

The other day I had the privilege of witnessing a sales leader sharing a story with newer sales leaders about a difficult conversation he had early on in his career.    He was 3 weeks into the leaders role and the person he needed to “have the conversation” with...

Belief: what to do when your team doesn’t have it

You may already know that I work with a number of sales teams across a range of industries and regions.  From time to time I come across teams that don’t believe in either their product/service or that their target is possible to achieve.  It might be understandable. ...

When Fatigue Sets In

The great thing about 2020 is that it’s over.  Yes there are the echoes of lockdowns (sometimes actual ones), yes there are still people driving in their own cars wearing masks and yes there are still news reports of COVID lurking in waste water threatening to jump...

What the world needs now, is Trust, sweet Trust

The word “sales” can bring about associations with anything but trust.    For many of us, we’re swift to separate out the activities of selling and consulting, of providing service and sales, of connection and sales.  And here lies the opportunity for B2B sales...

Communicate with Impact

Like listening, we think that just because we open our mouths and words fall out that we know how to communicate.    We know how to get our message across.  As a facilitator, take it from me – I’m not seeing it.  Being able to speak so someone actually hears and...

Energy flows where intention goes

I’m not one for denying reality.    When it comes to a healthy emotional and mental outlook, accepting reality is a key component.  And as I write this, Victorian small business, in particular, has been assaulted with another lockdown on a weekend that many in...