Why can salespeople sell so much better before you hire them?

By May 21, 2020 No Comments

Most sales managers and CEOs will know what I mean when I say that it is a difficult prospect to hire a BDM who delivers on what they promised in the interview process.

It seems that often the greatest sales pitch of all, is the one they make to us in the interview when they sell themselves and then it goes downhill from there. Personally, I am fine with that because it shows me what they are capable of. What I don’t like, is when 3 months down the track they feel they need full marketing support to get leads, sales support to help them complete proposals, and the market going quiet isn’t their fault or responsibility. 

Honestly, when they grounded the airlines recently due to the COVID-19 virus, the pilots were stood down because there was no longer an industry. If you are in sales and you have allowed your industry to disappear, then what more would you expect from your employer?

Let’s explore why salespeople fail in the first place

To use a simple example, a business owner builds his business to a certain level where he can’t possibly take it further on his own. He needs help to expand his sales, so he hires a professional business developer. The BDM, unfortunately, has no chance, in the beginning, of selling at the same level as the business owner as he doesn’t understand the business or the products anywhere near to the level that the business owner does. Newly appointed BDMs go through a phase where their commitment drops after they realise that the job they have taken on is harder than they originally expected. Situational leadership will rebuild the BDM’s confidence and commitment after they have reduced considerably due to the lack of early success. It is crucial that even smaller successes are realised, for both the company and the recently recruited BDM and celebrated. Support is key!

One of our clients has a sales team and was unable to break through for many years before finding us and asking for help. After many years of not being able to exceed their revenue ceiling, we recruited some great BDMs for them, we developed a proper on-boarding program, and we retrained the sales team to speak to higher levels in their target prospects. We coached them to stop presenting brochures, we trained them to ask challenging questions, we trained them to become trusted advisors and in return, within 6 months, not only did sales finally break through the ceiling, but one of the BDMs made a single sale that was worth more than the company’s prior annual turnover. This would never have been possible if they kept on showing their brochures to the normal line managers. This was an excellent ROI.

So the point I am trying to make is this, if you hire the right person, a consultative BDM that knows their industry and can solve problems with your products and services, on-board, support and coach that BDM well so they are credible in front of their clients, then they will create more sales and create less brand damage for your business as a result. Don’t cut corners, hire the best you can afford and create the conditions for them to become successful.

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