with Neil Rackham
does one become a good salesperson?
not magic; it’s hard work. A few people have a natural talent
for selling, but most people must practice, then practice more,
then practice more. It’s just like football. You need a
good coach and lots of practice at basic skills, like asking good
motivational strategies shall a CEO apply to improve the productivity
of his/her sales force?
top salespeople well. Give them lots of freedom. Create a “high
performance culture.” This means that you recruit only the
best. When salespeople join your company, you tell them, “Only
the top performers will stay. After a year, you must prove that
you should stay – we don’t prove that you should go.”
And get rid of poor performers quickly. Research shows that the
number one reason why a salesperson doesn’t improve is that
there is another person in the same team who is doing worse. Money
is an important motivator but it is not everything. Money attracts
and keeps high performers. It encourages people to sell harder.
But paying people more doesn’t make them more smart.
does it take to create a strong sales force -- the “dream
A great sales
team starts with a manager who is a great coach. Next, the salespeople
must have shared values. For example, they must care about their
customers. They must be truthful and they must understand their
products. Salespeople are very competitive and they are not good
at helping each other. To create a “dream team” their
manager must encourage cooperation and caring. The salespeople
must learn to help each other.
do you generate value for the costumer?
In the past,
the product generated all the value. Each company made a unique
product. The job of the salesperson was to explain to the customer
the product’s value. In other words, salespeople were value
communicators. Today there are many competing products and they
are not unique. So the product has not enough value for the customer
to prefer it to a competitor. The job of the salesperson changes
under these circumstances. Salespeople today must be value creators.
They must be experts and they must be creative problem solvers.
to define the objectives of the sales force to reach results? Which
are the fundamentals of productivity?
sales, the best productivity objectives are about activity and
efficiency. So success comes from selling hard. Good salespeople
make lots of calls and the more calls, the more sales. This doesn’t
work in complex sales. More calls can even lead to less sales.
In complex sales the best metrics are about effectiveness, not
image of sales people is tarnished. How can we change that perception
so they can be considered by society as professionals?
judges on the past, not the present. In the past, many salespeople
lied and cheated. They gave selling a very bad name. But today
the sales job has become professional, honest and has high standards.
Society will catch up with the reality, but it takes time.
entrepreneurs good sellers?
are usually bad at selling. During sales calls they usually talk
too much. They don’t listen to the customer. They are too
enthusiastic about their products. When I’m training entrepreneurs
I tell them that good selling means asking questions and listening
to the customer. I tell them, “If you talk for more than
one-third of the discussion, then you are selling badly.”
do we create efficient global enterprises that make high-level sales
domestically and worldwide?
enterprise starts with good strategy. This means that marketing
and sales must work very closely together and make detailed strategic
plans for each global account. In most organizations, this isn’t
happening well. Another thing: most successful global companies
started in one market and then expanded. As a European, I have
had to break into the US market. Sometimes it's easier to start
by breaking into one geographic region or into one type of industry,
rather than trying to immediately break into an entire country.