Sales managers are responsible for optimizing seller performance to realize revenue goals. Often, sales managers rely on training to help improve seller performance, but this approach by itself is insufficient. Training and hands-on experience can only get sellers so far. The most significant difference between successful sales performance and a lackluster record is the mindset.
Sales managers can best support their sales team by helping each seller identify the mindsets limiting their sales performance — and then assisting the seller in overcome those mindsets.
Understanding a Sales Mindset
A seller’s mindset is a set of beliefs that shapes how sellers make sense of their sales efforts to drive expected outcomes. It influences how they think, feel, and behave as they manage their business and interactions with customers. Sales managers cannot see actual improvement without identifying which mindsets limit seller performance, even if sellers are trained on new skills.
People won’t change their behaviors if the new skill or approach doesn’t align with their beliefs and mindsets. Therefore, a shift in perspective is key to growing sellers’ potential.
Overcoming The Most Limiting Mindsets
Beyond training and experience, nurturing mindsets will make the most significant difference to sales success. In particular, sales managers must help their teams identify and eliminate these most common restrictive mindsets sellers fall victim to:
- Sales Success Is Inherently Cyclical
Replace with: Sales success can be consistent.
Many sellers have the mindset that their sales success will naturally follow peaks and valleys. They expect a seasonality of hot streaks and slumps. This idea limits performance because it takes power away from sellers, leading to complacency and variations in effort and growth.
Machine learning programs can help you mine behavioral data and touchpoints like emails, phone calls, and meetings.
- Seller Responsiveness Can Manifest Sales
Replace with: Set proper expectations with leads or customers.
To help sales representatives overcome this mindset and replace it with a more productive one, sales managers should show sellers the benefit of setting clear expectations with customers and leads. Of course, this means sales managers have to approve of and encourage boundaries. Expectations around time and responsiveness can help sellers follow a plan that allows them to connect with a contact they have neglected with new insight, prepare for a customer meeting, prospect a new account, or prepare more strategic account plans.
- Selling Is About Positioning Your Products well
Replace with: Focus on the customer.
Sellers need to switch from a product-based mindset to a customer-focused one. This means sales teams need more data and insights about their clients. Sales managers should conduct client interviews to understand what customers want from their sales reps and communicate that information to their sellers. This is also an excellent time to pull in data and analytics about buyer behaviors to drive a more customer-centric approach. Sales managers should challenge sellers to build value by connecting the offering to the business results the customer is trying to go rather than delivering generic value statements.
- What’s Worked in the Past Will Continue to Work in the Future
Replace with: Analyze sales approaches and allow them to evolve.
If there’s one thing we know in 2021, change is the only constant — and sales is no exception. The business landscape will always face change and uncertainty, whether that comes in the shape of a global pandemic, small changes in consumer behavior, or something in between. With this in mind, sales managers need to push sellers to constantly evolve how they interact with their customers and manage their pipelines.
Sales managers should find every opportunity to proactively inform sellers how the business could be impacted if they don’t progress their selling practices. Point out how the industry is changing and why it is critical to evolve. For instance, discuss the pandemic’s ramifications on client expectations for face-to-face selling and how sellers might develop their practices accordingly. Run examples like this and have sellers practice agility and flexibility.
The most important aspect of selling success often goes overlooked, and that’s the mindset. No matter how much training or experience a sales representative is given, they can only achieve sustainable success by changing their perspectives. Sales managers should look for evidence of these and other limiting mindsets and help sellers adopt growth-based, performance-enhancing points of view. Through mindset coaching, sales managers can lead sales representatives to much higher close rates.
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