Insight: Do you have bad sales people – or a…

Insight: Do you have bad sales people – or are they just poorly trained and motivated?

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So, things haven’t been going very well recently. Sales results are way below targets and the pipeline looks very weak – no, actually, it looks grim. So, what’s gone wrong?

Maybe, nothing. After all, even the best IPAs go through a bad patch sometime. But, maybe there IS something wrong. You look at your product offering, you look at your competition, you look at your budget. But, eventually, your eye falls balefully upon your sales force.

After all, keeping a sales team in front of clients is expensive – as is training. But is it the right sort of training?

Training someone to successfully sell a location for major investment isn’t easy. There aren’t many good “off the shelf” training programmes out there. In fact, there aren’t any. Most sales training is based on a short-term sales process, and most don’t understand the investment promotion business. It is, after all, a pretty specialized field – the people who know it well enough and can train people to be successful at it are rare.

So, build your own training programmes. Invest time, money and thought. Understand what your sales people need to know to succeed. Find someone or a company who has a strong track record of success and who can train and inspire your sales people, who can add value to your sales process, who can really make a difference. It won’t be easy; it will take time, money and, above all, thought. But it will pay off.

And make sure that training isn’t confined to a classroom. Have constant and on-going training on the job. Send junior people out with experienced guys who have done it before – and who have done it successfully. Make sure they watch, listen and understand.

Which brings us to motivation. And, by “motivation”, I don’t just mean giving rewards for success. Everyone likes to feel they are good at what they do and be recognised for it – and sales people are no exception. Recognise the importance of what they do. Make sure they understand that they have ownership of their accounts. That they are in the lead. That they can make decisions. In short, empower them.

As Jordan Belfort said in the Wolf of Wall Street, ''with this script, I'll teach each and every one of you to be the best.'' Be the person who teaches them to be the best and inspire your staff. 

This is, of course, only the beginning. But investing a lot of resources in well-focused training and proper motivation will pay. It will make better – and more successful - sales people out of “bad” ones. It will also help good sales people achieve even greater heights of success.

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