For this episode of The Sales Evangelist, I talked with Erik Hart, a Sales Manager for an Internet company, to discuss how he is able to help his team achieve not only sales results and, perhaps more importantly, person-to-person results by learning to be human.
The Numbers Game
Often times, especially with sales, it becomes such a numbers game that the person-to-person experience is lost. The human connection is lost.
We find ourselves churning through conversations and deals with a laser focus on strategy and metrics and we lose context.
Erik, for example, had a rep on his sales team with a great understanding of how to guide his clients through the various buying stages but it became such an exercise in ‘checking the boxes’ day after day that the rep felt totally defeated, unproductive and he failed to generate revenue.
Erik asked the rep to take a step back and to really think about: What kind of story did he want to be part of? What kind of difference did he want to make?
In doing so, the rep realized not only where he wanted to go but how he could get himself there, without just running on autopilot.
Simply put: Let things be a little messy!
The sales rep had organized himself into a rut by creating a very specific process when interacting with leads and clients.
The response to a potentially lower quality lead, for example,
was three phone calls and one email while a high-value lead would have other very specific tasks tied to it.
Eventually, the tasks became more important than actually having the conversations with the clients. He found himself speaking with clients but thinking about the next task – the next box to check – instead of making a human connection.
He was reading the script instead of being present in the moment; acting like a robot instead of really digging into the needs of the client. He failed to see them as people – and they could hear that in his voice.
The New Bottom Line
Taking a step back and re-evaluating his goals worked.
Overall improvement became evident in just three months; not only in sales but with increased engagement with the customers and improved morale.
The sales reps are proud of what they do again. The sales are great, but the intangibles are sometimes even better.
We all have our imperfections and personal baggage and business operations to deal with and they have the potential to become real struggles.
There is a futility to the task of trying to attach the minutia without really understanding the context.
Instead, think about what you want the conversation to be. What’s your story? Where do you want to be? What kind of world do you want to live in?
Let those answers be your guide. Let that help you reach your goals.
It can become an incredibly powerful experience. The minutia will take care of itself.
“Be Human” episode resources
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Check out our new semester of The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League. We’re taking applications for the semester beginning in January, and we can only take a limited number of people.
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