If you have a sales manager worth his salt, not only can he manage your sales force when everyone wants one of whatever product or service you are selling, but he can fix whatever happens when sales tank.

Frankly speaking, methinks there are few sales managers who can do this.

If you are experiencing this in your organization look for five things.

1. A reliance on product training, not sales training. Too many companies conduct product training sessions, hoping in some backward form of logic that customers buy features of products and not solutions to their painful issues. I think it is just simpler to do product training than sales training. Don’t mix up the two, and realize that increasing the amount of product training will most likely not result in added sales.

2. Not enough listening. This is generic, but it almost always can be detected. This is closed connected with alignment issues, see number 4. Good sales people know how to listen, and how to listen for the issues that are bothering the prospects. Only by good listening can the sales rep advance the ball. Look here second.

3. This is too basic but true. In hundreds and hundreds of sales calls that I have listened to or participated in, in almost 75% of the cases, there was an opportunity to ask for the order. For whatever reason, the sales rep did not do this. Ask for the order. Highlight this one on the chart above.

4. Alignment issues happen most frequently with an experienced sales force and even good reps. Basically, they are so good at knowing what the prospect needs, that they diagnose the problem apparently too fast for the prospect. Read yesterday’s post on this key problem. This is often called being out of alignment.

5. No energy in the sales force. This might be a cultural thing inside your company, but it is easy detect by outsiders. Your sales force should have a positive energy, an almost StarTrek Enterprise force field of excitement and energy. If you lack it, you know it, and you must fix it. If your sales manager can’t, if it is just not who he is, find someone else who can fill this role. As someone told me once, in a sales conversation someone had better get excited, and it is easy for it to be YOU.

If you want a poster of the above graphic, just email me and I can send one to you. Ed. Note: What GL failed to mention is that there is a charge of $20 for each poster. He regrets the omission.

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