There are positive sales reps and there are negative sales reps. There always have been but the negative ones seem to be spiraling given the chaos since 2020. Here’s a couple of things I’ve seen with reps that contribute to spiraling negativity:
1) I’ve been on calls with reps, had a great conversation with a customer and come out thinking “wow, lots of opportunity”. On the walk to the car, the rep apologizes for taking me on an unproductive call. I heard opportunity, the rep didn’t. We talk about what I saw and next steps the rep should take to keep it moving but rarely does the rep take those steps. They just didn’t see the opportunity and if you can’t see it, you can’t move toward it. I think it’s because these types of reps want things to be easy. They want the customer say “here’s an order” or “give me a quote on this” and If they don’t hear that, they don’t think there’s anything there. I work with other reps where they see opportunity all over the place. In the parking lot, we talk about the priorities and next steps and the reps take those steps. They see it, so they more toward it. The first step in seeing opportunity is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think about what impacts their ability to their job. Developing personas for each customer type can help with this in a more formal way. In an informal way, reps should take the time to think through what the customer does, how they do it and what obstacles they are likely facing. This will give the rep more empathy for their customer’s situation and new insight into how they can tap into the customer’s challenges.
2) Joint Calls – going on sales calls with a colleague changes things up and gives reps a new perspective. The second person often hears different things than the person leading the call. Reps see what other reps do and say and take little bits away to incorporate into their processes. Reps should do more joint calls and not just with their manager or a technical resource but with each other. Having just one sales call during a sales cycle with multiple participants from your company makes the chances of closing the deal 258% more likely than flying solo during the entire sales cycle.
I personally love the idea of changing your surroundings. Coming in to the same desk every day, walking to the same coffee pot, talking to the same people can create a rut especially if those people are their own ruts. Taking a walk, going on a joint call, working from a coffee shop or moving to different locations in your house if you are working from home help to change perspective and hopefully new possibilities.
What’s your best tip for staying positive?