Are your sales reps constantly complain that they are “stuck”? It could just be one tough deal that seems to be endlessly dragging on, and subsequently dragging them down. Or it could be a bad quarter that is making them feel stuck in a huge rut. How do you help them get through and get back on top of their game? Maybe we all need to think outside of the box a bit and explore some more unconventional ways to help them move on and start bringing in those big deals again.
Take a Break for Safety’s Sake
As a sales manager, when you see a rep’s pipeline at a standstill, it may be tempting to just encourage them to keep pounding away at prospecting or spur them on to keep working until they find the right answer for a client’s problems. But perhaps what they really need is a short break. In fact, studies show that taking a break can actually bolster your creative thought processes. When we let something go, our minds are free to wander all around the periphery until an answer can be acquired.
So how’s that work? Well, your mind’s got two positions basically, diffused and focused. Focused mode is great for accomplishing a task that’s already outlined, making those phone calls, sending those emails. However, the diffused mode (our more relaxed state) is best for creative imaginations and ideas. And being creative is sometimes just what the rep needs in order to solve a tricky problem and get that stuck deal unstuck. Encourage that rep to go take a jog, mull it over, and then come back ready to jump in with a diffused mindset.
With sales, technology is what it is today, and everyone, even 8-year-olds, having iPhones, you really can work anytime and anywhere. Is there a member of your sales team that sends eloquent and poignant emails when they are out of the office, say at a local cafe, but can’t put together more than four words when they email you from two desks down? Maybe a co-worker’s chatter or human interruptions at the office are a hindrance and they just focus better outside of the physical constraints of “work”. Now, I’m not suggesting you allow your salespeople to all go work from Bora Bora for the week – that would be asinine. But, we all work best under different conditions, and honing in on what makes certain people tick is part of our job in sales. Give your sales reps some flexibility and you may be surprised at how quickly they get their groove back.
Same goes for the hours they work. At a company I used to work for on the East Coast, I once put out a poll to my team on if they considered themselves morning or night people. Then we restructured our lead routing so the “morning people” were assigned to European prospects and could start their day at the crack of dawn EST, when Europe came online, and the “night people” had more West Coast leads, to align with their preference for working late. Day or night, office or coffee shop – work with your team to let them perform to the best of their ability and they will start closing big deals again.
Laughter is the Best Medicine
Let your salespeople in on this tip: humor is one of the most effective ways to get a client to open up and see the real human being behind the sales guy. Maybe your rep isn’t making the best first impressions because they seem like they are under pressure. Suggest to them that they tell a joke to their clients, showing that they are vulnerable, friendly, and intelligent. When we laugh, we release endorphins in the brain, which causes us to feel good, relax and move in the direction of accomplishing tasks. Now that sounds like a positive atmosphere for closing deals!
So what type of humor should you suggest your salespeople try? One of the most recommended forms of humor is poking fun at yourself. You don’t want your reps making themselves out to be idiots, but they will seem more approachable if they can make cracks at themselves. Joking about their receding hairline is funny, while taking digs at your company is not.
Encourage your team to lighten up their first impressions and let the laughter flow and soon your company will be laughing all the way to the bank.
Tying it All Together
As Sales Managers, we need to always be thinking of ways to motivate and encourage our team. Sometimes this means going out of our comfort zone and suggesting some unconventional ways to help them step their game up. Take advantage of technology and it’s ability to unharness their work day, let your rep stuck on a deal go for a jog, and please, tell ‘em all a good dirty joke.
Bio on the Author: Adam Honig
Adam is the co-founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the ‘No Jerks’ hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.