What do all salespeople have in common? Seriously, what is the one thing you can say about all salespeople 100% of the time? I’m not just talking about salespeople who are effective; I mean your best performers and your worst performers. Your long-term seasoned salespeople and your newly hired salespeople. Your happy salespeople and your sad salespeople. Tall or short, fancy or ordinary, upside down and inside out, what is completely true about salespeople? It’s a tough question and if you are struggling to find the answer you needn’t be embarrassed because most everyone else struggles too. It’s the reason why we have such a hard time connecting with and understanding salespeople. Give up? The 100%, bonafide, no exceptions, steadfast, certain rule about all salespeople is this: All salespeople always want to feel successful. Doesn’t that just blow your mind?!? Well, probably not because, well, duh. And yet, do you really understand what this means?
This elemental rule is extremely important because the whole reason why your sales team is even at your company is that they either believe they are or will be soon, successful. It is this belief that drives almost everything that they do. Think about it, would you take on any job yourself if you didn’t believe you could be successful at it? So much is true also in life, but let’s stay focused on our sales team. This is important because if we all understood and agreed on what success is, managing and working with our sales teams would be a lot easier. You would realize that every day the salesperson arrives at work is a day that they want to feel successful and they are always looking for ways to achieve that. If this ceases to be true, then they may be considering other employment options. But there’s a glitch. Everyone has their own idea of what success is and it often does not completely align with what you think it is or ought to be. So, if you really want to understand your salespeople, here are the 5 most important questions you can ask them about success.
- How do you define success? – Don’t settle for any answer that resembles achieving a sales goal. That’s a means to an end. What you really want to know is what that gets them and how does it make them feel.
- How close are you to the success that you want to achieve? Rarely, if ever, will a salesperson tell you that they have peaked. It’s good to get a sense of their expectations because, depending how close or far they feel from their sense of success, you will have a better sense of what they might be struggling with.
- What do you believe you are capable of achieving? Be careful here because this is where salespeople will try to tell you what you want to hear. The goal is to get them to consider their potential. Get them to visualize what it means to them, not to you.What is their dream and desire?
- What is your most immediate critical goal? Success is a series of steps, or smaller goals, but salespeople can go off course. Do current goals align with the ultimate idea of success? Are they focused and productive?
- What are you critical actions? Again, they may try to placate you by telling you what they think you want to hear, but the point is to get them to critically think about their recipe for success and hear themselves say it in their own words. This will often dial in their compass so they stay pointed towards success.