1. A good attitude.
If your sales team does not have a good attitude, you have problems from the very start. A good, positive, sincere attitude can be contagious. A bad attitude in the group won’t necessarily kill the group, but it is like driving with a flat tire. You can get there but it will take longer, and it’s ugly.
You can do a lot of things to help nurture a good attitude, but it’s basically up to each individual to have a positive, upbeat outlook. Sales reps with constructive attitudes are ready to talk deals first thing in the morning and are always eager to learn. They usually don’t need coaxing and just want to get going. I will discuss how to help reps pick up their attitudes in a future article.
The rep with the bad attitude needs to be called out right away; in front of everyone. Note: Hardly ever should a manager discipline any direct report in front of others. Praise in Public. Punish in Private. However, this is one case I think it’s important to confront the rep in public and let them know they are affecting the whole group. Yours is a team effort and they are hurting the whole team. This affects the company’s success and others’ income.
2. A desire to get better and learn.
Sales reps, like other professionals, need the drive to become the best at their craft. With the web, eBooks, podcasts, email newsletters, etc., it is easy to find relevant, well-designed sales training. A lot of this training is free. You can do your part by providing an environment that is abundant with tools and by pointing them to the above resources. A regularly scheduled training session is also a must. You may get resistance at first, but the reps who want to succeed will come to demand these sessions.
3. A desire to be better than the competition.
No mistake about it, the top performing rep is the one who does not like to lose. This is great, as long as they don’t point those fangs internally. Everyone likes to win. You want reps that hate losing to the competition and don’t well taking second place. You must instill the concept that “there is no money for second place in sales.” Until they embrace this concept, they will never have that sense of urgency.
4. A guaranteed number of QUALITY calls.
Your reps need to be thinking about making quality calls rather than focusing on quantity. They should not want to leave the office until a certain number of quality calls are made – meaning new prospects or current prospects that are moving closer to a sale. There has always been a big debate with sales calls quantity versus quality. (I am not talking about cold calling lead generation here. This pertains to reps that can move a prospect from warm to close.) I am both a numbers guy and a quality guy. If your reps practice, drill and rehearse, and then add quantity, the sky’s the limit.
5. Documentation for every call.
Sales reps come and go. You just don’t want them to go with the knowledge of your customers in their head never to be seen by your company again. Whatever system you use for tracking customer interactions, you need to make sure your reps use every bit of it. Every phone conversation, meeting, presentation, etc., needs to be documented in your CRM system. Additionally, it is a good idea is to send a followup email or letter after a presentation, strategy call or demo. It should document who was present, what was discussed, and what the action items are for each party.
6. The highest degree of integrity.
You cannot be one kind of person and another kind of sales person. You cannot tolerate (or afford) to have unethical sales people in your company. One thing, that should get a sales rep fired on the spot, is lying to or misleading a customer or prospect. How your sales reps act with your clients is a reflection on you and your entire company. This rule should be posted and communicated to every rep (and employee) from their first day of employment.
7. To be thinking about getting customers instead of deals.
If you are in a B2B business, your growth will come from repeat business or recurring revenue from your existing customer base. You can make promises to close one deal but that’s not how you build a business. Your sales reps should be aware of how satisfied your customer will be one month or one year after the first sale. Make sure your reps aren’t making promises your bank account can’t keep. It starts with you letting your reps know your company can’t realistically do some things just to get the deal. And they need to know you are okay with that. It may mean shorter term gains but it translates into happier, longer-term customers and profits.