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Sales Leadership
Aug 13, 2012 | Colleen Stanley lock

Reality TV shows are quickly becoming the new source of entertainment.  (Why, I have no idea.)  Perhaps it’s time to introduce a new show and contest:  Sales Survivor.  The concept would be centered on making sure only the best salespeople stay on the island because of their ability to sell and influence the right prospects at the appropriate profit margins.  

Business owners and sales managers would be the judges, closely watching each participant in order to cast their vote.  So what would these judges be looking for in order to figure out who should stay on the sales island? 

Here are a few areas to observe, analyze, and judge in order to determine who should remain on your sales island.   

#1:  Actions speak louder than words.  

This old saying is still true today.  Stop listening to what your salesperson is saying, and simply observe his actions.  For example, if a salesperson isn’t hitting their sales goals, are they: 

• Increasing their sales activity in order to fill the pipeline?     
• Tracking and measuring their results in order to course-correct and making sure that time and energy are invested in the right place with the right prospects?
• Are they asking you for coaching or settling for good enough results?  
• Are they working on improving their skills by reading, listening to audio, or watching video programs focused on sales?  
• Are they showing up to the office early to take full advantage of revenue-producing time? 
• When they arrive at the office, are they ready to execute, or does it take them an hour or two to get organized? 
• Are they taking time to deliver extra good care and service to current clients? 

Watch, and you will see the answer to whether or not this salesperson should remain on the island. 

#2:    Resiliency and resourcefulness. 

The salesperson that lacks resiliency also lacks tenacity.  When the going gets tough, the low resilient salesperson gets easily discouraged and starts bringing out the excuse machine.  They blame poor sales results on lack of marketing collateral, a bad territory, or a tough economy.  This is much easier than holding up a mirror, looking at themselves and saying,  I need to change or improve my sales approach.   

The resourceful salesperson figures out a way to make it happen.  When I started in sales many years ago, I had the good fortune of signing up with a small company that eventually went public.  In the early years, the company didn’t have the time or money to produce sophisticated marketing material.  They also didn’t have a lot of time for formal sales training.  

It would have been easy to complain about the lack of marketing material or training, but this company did a great job of hiring resilient, no entitlement sales professionals.  We created our own marketing materials.  No, the materials didn’t look great, but they got the job done.  We invested in our own training by reading books.  Instead of sitting back and complaining, we were busy executing.  Resilient sales professionals manage results, not excuses.  They find a way to make sales happen. 

#3:  Passion and commitment.

A major problem in the sales profession is that most people choose this career by default, not choice.  As a result, you have many salespeople working for companies who are not passionate about their product or service.  They are not passionate about helping and serving people.  In essence, they have settled instead of pursuing a career that they are passionate about.   

The passionate salesperson is excited about learning and makes it a goal to become a subject matter expert in their industry.   The committed salesperson studies, learns, and practices key principles of sales and influence.  They are lifelong learners. 

Passion is what separates good salespeople from great salespeople.  I see it every day in our business.  Five salespeople attend sales training and all take away powerful content and concepts.  So what’s the reason that only three of five reviewed the content, practice new skills and asked for coaching and mentoring?  The reason is that these three salespeople, the ones that will stay on the island, are passionate and committed to the profession of sales.   Simply put, good enough is not good enough for them.  They are always looking to raise the bar and raise results.     

Why wait for a reality TV show?  We are half-way through 2012.  Is it time to kick a few people off your company’s sales island?

About the Author:
Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership Inc., a business development consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, referral strategies, consultative sales training, sales management training, emotional intelligence and hiring/selection. She is the author of ‘Growing Great Sales Teams.’  Her new book, ‘Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success’ will be released in bookstores this fall. She can be reached at 

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