As a sales manager, you're very aware that effective selling makes the difference between mediocre and outstanding performance for a company. You'll know that most people in your sales team generate far less than a few stars. Most likely, the top 10-20% of your sales team will be doing most of the selling, in terms of volume and dollar value. Quite possibly, a lot of sales are still generated by you personally, creating an even more complex situation.
The question to ask is simple, but has profound implications. What would happen if all of your sales team could master the skills of your top stars? What would that mean for your business? For your own position?
A medium-sized finance company was performing well in its industry. It relied mostly on selling factoring and related finance instruments to clients operating in Hong Kong. One of the first to set up this type of business in Hong Kong, the company was beginning to feel squeezed as larger competitors began offering similar services and products.
The business was built on the personal selling skills of just two or three people, including the managing director. Clearly, this was unsustainable. Chris Lonsdale was approached with the challenge of changing the entire sales team. The goals were to lessen the reliance on the top two people, and build a broader foundation of stars so the sales team could generate greater growth.
To solve the client's problems we used the special DNAm© process developed by Chris Lonsdale. We began interviewing the top sales people and observing them in action - selling to clients, or doing critical internal tasks. We mapped out the key steps involved in closing a sale and generating revenue.
We next worked with those sales people generating less revenue, and spent time with them collecting all available data. Then, the really critical work began. We studied the tapes and recordings of the top and more average sales people, and identified critical differences. Through this process, we defined a range of specific elements of behavior, thinking, analyzing and communicating that appeared to underpin the success of the top sales people. There were clear differences between the star sales people and less accomplished ones. Even though their personalities were all very different, the successful sales people still shared certain characteristics. These underpinned their sales success.
The next step was to work with a few of the more average sales people and, through one-on-one coaching, help them develop the skills used by the stars. If they could learn those skills AND turn that learning into bottom line gains, we could be certain we had uncovered the model of success for that business.
After several weeks of learning the new model the average performers began to get significantly better sales results. It was time to roll out the learning of the model to the whole sales team. The entire roll-out took a few weeks, after which the business began to show significant improvements.
As the sales team began to apply the skills and techniques that had previously been the province of only the stars, exciting things started happening. Suddenly, the entire sales team had a common vocabulary to discuss how they did what they did. This led to a positive feedback loop which encouraged rapid learning and ongoing improvement in the whole team.
Secondly, stress levels among members of the sales team began dropping. As they mastered the skills of the stars, the selling job started to be fun and challenging rather than painful and stressful (their earlier experience).
The bottom line also began to look very different. Over several quarters the hard business results began to show clearly. The sales team started landing significantly more new clients. They were able to generate more business and higher levels of "utilization" from clients already in their portfolios. And, they started to "sniff out" bad risks in the early stages of business development, allowing them to refocus their efforts in more profitable directions. Together across the whole team, these changes added up to significant value generation on the bottom line.
If you head up a sales team and know you must do more to generate revenue and build your franchise, our DNAm© process may be able to support you. Or, maybe you know exactly what changes are required for your sales team to be more effective. If you're looking for support to make your sales team as great as it can be, check out how Chris Lonsdale & Associates help. Start by signing up as FREE member today., or e-mail Chris Lonsdale to explore what is possible for you.