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Are salespeople ready to sell is a million-dollar question for any company. How do they or the salesperson themselves know when they are ready to sell? The importance of this question lies in the relevance of professionally trained and prepared salespeople.
Sending an unprepared salesperson on to the “battlefield” can reduce customer acquisition and even make you lose important clients. However, you can also backtrack your business if talented salespeople get stuck in the training process.
To identify “molded” salespeople, you should focus on their achievements. Some of them can fit into the role much faster than others. That is why your attention should be directed to milestones they need to cross; not how many days have passed since their onboarding.
Time cannot guarantee you results. You cannot expect different people with different skills and personalities to learn at the same pace. Access your salespeople' readiness based on something more tangible – achievements.
Salespeople need to take a lot of steps between onboarding and selling. So, better make sure that you count those steps diligently.
So, how to know when your salespeople are ready to step into the “real world”? Implement these actions if you want to improve that assessment.
Define and Assess Salespeople Skill Levels
Do you know which skills are necessary for successful selling?
You need to look beyond the basics. Do not just rely blindly on what a training program states. Be aware of key skills that salespeople need to develop.
Some essential sales skills will not come naturally to salespeople. They need to be honed and maintained to start showing. Focus on the right skills and you will know when you have a “complete” salesperson.
One of the methods for identifying the salespeople that can fly on their own is ticking the boxes next to key skills. Some of those skills are the following:
Time-management – Time is money. If they manage their time wisely, they can make more sales. Prepared salespeople need to know and show that they attained this skill.
Active listening – Pay attention to the salesperson’s level of engagement in conversation. Is he/she a good listener? They must be if they want to efficiently respond to prospects’ needs.
Prospect analysis – Salespeople need to be able to evaluate prospects and define what kind of approach works for what kind of buyers.
Communication skills – Keeping the conversation’s flow consistent and lively is the ability that salespeople must attain before they start selling.
Proactive objection prevention – Does the salesperson know how to apply objection prevention? Handling objections before they arise is a key skill. Make sure that the salesperson passes this milestone.
Speed Up Putting Theory to Practice
Decrease the gap between passive learning and making the first sale. The best indicator of whether (and when) a salesperson is ready to sell is how well they perform in practice.
Allow the salespeople to show themselves. Whatever they learn, they need to be able to do. Accelerate their training. Let them reinforce their knowledge.
Be mindful of how well they apply every new lesson. Do not stick to whether every word they utter is in correspondence to what they have learned. Rather, assess their ability to bring results. That is how you know at what level of readiness is your salesperson currently.
Create milestones that need to be achieved at each stage of the process. The milestones will be a true reflection of whether the salesperson is ready to move onto the next stage.
For example, the first milestone (after a designated period of time) can be to source a certain number of accounts. Move forward when they get that done. The next milestones can be to reach out to those prospects over email, and so on.
Each accomplished milestone is a new achievement. When the salespeople successfully pass all milestones, you will know that they have covered all that a salesperson needs to know and do.
In addition, you will not need to wait for that “aha” moment. It will not be necessary to look for a point of absolute realization that a seller is ready. Why? Because they will already be making sales and doing what salespeople need to do.
Enforce Consistent Monitoring
You can use tests and exams, but nothing comes close to the sales manager's assessment. A mama bird knows best when her little one is ready to spread the wings.
If you regularly monitor the salesperson's behaviors, you will be more in the loop with their progress. What is more, you can identify their weak and strong points and help them shape up faster.
No longer will new salespeople waste time on mastered sales skills and leave behind still undeveloped skills. The monitoring can give the salesperson some guidance on what they need to work on and what they can move away from.
Having a sales manager providing insight into salesperson's performance will give you a true evaluation of their capabilities. Also, allow the managers to identify prepared salespeople and inform you when they have mastered the selling.
Do not Just Train – Coach
The salesperson should not carry all the responsibility. They cannot be forced to master the art of selling in a few months. It takes more than training to ensure that the salesperson is prepared. That "more" comes in the form of coaching.
Coaches should be people to whom the salespeople can look up to. Look for people with an admirable number of sales. They can also have set authority in sales established through published sales-related essays on sales-educating blogs.
A coach will provide consistent guidelines, sales tips and put the salesperson back on track when they take a wrong path. Remember that this is a team effort. Teaming up a salesperson with a coach will ensure that the right values, knowledge, and skills are developed in the salesperson.
Work on speeding up the path to readiness. What is more, make sure that that path is paved with steady and secure blocks that will not crumble. There is no point in finished sales training that proves useless the moment that salespeople need to take action. Coaching will not let that happen as it focuses on a more tailored and guided experience.
Do you know what makes this salesperson identification process impactful? Because you are not just explaining to them how to sell, you are teaching and testing them. By the time they start selling, they will be already an established salesperson with a few sales behind them.
There is no magical time limit that ensures your salespeople are ready to sell. You will know that they are ready when they successfully accomplish selling milestones.
Kristin Savage is a marketing expert and a freelance writer at Subjecto. She found her purpose in writing as it gives her an opportunity to exchange ideas and share her knowledge with others. Kristin likes to expand her fields of expertise by attending international conferences and taking courses on different subjects. In her free time, she volunteers at a local animal rescue
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