One of the most common questions I get from Sales Managers and Sales People is what is the one thing that kills sales success.
This question is the trigger for multiple debates regarding what is the cause for most sales failures. And there are the usual suspects – poor selling skills, bad attitude, poor communication skills, too loud, too aggressive, too quiet, too passive, lack of closing skills, and other assorted answers usually based upon some form of logic.
Well, while the above answers all hurt a sales person’s success – they are not the main killer of sales success in business to business (B2B) sales. There is the “one” thing I have found keeping a sales person from moving into the consistently successful sales professional ranks.
The killer? Here is the answer…
The answer is DISBELIEF.
Yes, disbelief is the killer of sales success. I have run into this issue while developing sales teams and while coaching major account sales people. You may ask – what is the disbelief about? Is it a religious issue? Or How does disbelief impact a sales person?
All good questions, yet, the answers lie with the sales person. Each sales person believes something is broken, impossible or beyond their ability.
Here are some examples…
- Doesn’t feel the customer will buy anything.
- Doesn’t believe in what they are selling.
- Doesn’t believe they can sell well.
- Doesn’t believe the sales process works.
- Doesn’t believe the sales training is valid for their industry.
- Doesn’t believe they are talented enough to sales successfully.
- Doesn’t believe in the new method of selling.
- Doesn’t believe customer’s will buy anything in high amounts.
I have witnessed all of the above, yet, the one that continues to amaze me the most is when a sales team is transiting to major account selling techniques. Usually this transition requires a sales person to change the way they are selling to their customers. It is all about building an account rather than making a short term, price based sale.
When you see and hear several sales people bellowing the same excuse – this will not work in our industry, market or customers. You begin to think of the buffalo herds running off the cliffs at full speed – because everyone else is doing it!
Then, one sales person on the team begins to believe the new selling system or process “may” work and makes a decision to try it a couple of times. Using this new found believe, the sales person actually lands a “big” account or deal. The other sales people all look around at each other as if to say…Hey, I know Joe well and he is no smarter than me. If he can do this, then I can do it too!
Then other sales people actually “take a leap of faith” and suspend their disbelief while launching into action. They use the same techniques, methods or process – than couldn’t or wouldn’t work a week before – and meet the same level of success.
In summary, I find the most difficult thing to do when changes have to be made in the sales process is the “unlearning of old habits.” These old habits are the nesting place for poor belief systems about what works and what does not work. For an meaningful change to take place, a sales team and each sales person must suspend their disbelief in the new process.Taking action and elevating the results is a much better approach than not attempting the new.