6 tips to build a sales team around your best salesperson

Stop being a Selfish Seller, says sales performance expert Nicola Cook. Read her solutions to turn a self-centred salesperson into a brilliant team player

Is the thrill of the kill damaging your company’s sales efforts?

The first hurdle most early stage or growing businesses have to overcome, is having at least ONE person who can successfully prospect and close deals.

However, once they’ve successfully cracked that problem and they have a high performing, what we like to call SalesBlazer on the team, the next challenge is ensuring you have the leadership, structure, process and culture to begin duplicating your company’s sales effort and putting in place a high performing team of salesblazers.

The challenge with this next step in your business’ growth journey, is that very often sales people are naturally competitive folk, and thrive on the close of the deal – it’s the just reward for all their blood, sweat and tears in nurturing that prospect through a potentially long and painful pipeline.

These ‘Heroic Sales Leaders’ are the worst type of growth inhibitors as they destroy the culture of bringing on the next generation of SalesBlazers, instead continuing to focus on their own sales results first and foremost. Could that be you in your company?

If it is you – very often this selfish act is not done with intent, rather a need to maintain the current level of sales within the business and a fear that if you hand over your existing client relationships or pipeline prospects the business will suffer.

However until you can successfully build a team that delivers a scaleable sales solution you will not be able to grow your company, or indeed increase its asset value.

Switching from being the person who does, to the person who builds and leads a team that do is one of the greatest shifts in a business’ evolution and the greatest challenge for the hands-on entrepreneur.

There comes a point when you just simply have to accept that if you want your business to grow you absolutely must care more about your team’s efforts and results, and do everything in your power to ensure their success over your own personal sales performance.

Here are six tips on how you can turn a Heroic Sales Leader into a strong team performance that drives growth and increases sales revenue.

1. Introduce a culture of shadowing

Make it part of the norm that less experienced staff shadow you and other employees. Even if they are not direct sales people, everyone should have the opportunity to learn from your front line sales staff and vice versa.

2. Encourage participation at bite-size chunks of the sales process

Rather than throw a new sales person in at the deep end, or even if you are growing someone from within, by asking them to lead a new prospect all the way from attraction to closing the deal. Instead encourage them to contribute to one or two significant parts of the process. Perhaps they can open a meeting, compile the proposal, deliver a portion of the pitch presentation or even handle the negotiation.

3. Work in pairs

Working in pairs is a great way to both develop your team and also de-risk your organisation from a single stand out employee performance. Working in pairs one person can ‘stand them up’ and the other ‘knock them down’ and vice versa.

4. Facilitate introductions

Especially where you have client relationships attached to you or where you have clients attached to a single person in your business, you can’t expect someone new to ring up and just say ‘Hi, you don’t know me but I’m now going to be your primary contact at our organisation’. An attached client relationship handover needs to be planned and the client included at every stage. Always ensure you maintain the client’s trust by allowing them to still be able to reach you and elevate any concerns to you personally.

5. Drop the ego

If your need to hold onto and be the key person in any deal is your way of boosting your ego, then you won’t achieve your true growth potential, both personally AND professionally, until you find better ways to fulfill your emotional needs. Drop the ego or keep your business small – it’s that simple!

6. Do whatever you can to make your team successful

At the end of the day, you serve them – not the other way round! The more your team succeed the more successful your business becomes. Seed them referrals, or deals that you know will close easily, set them up for success and congratulate them their success – don’t stamp on their parade and attempt to claim the glory. Make it all about them and they’ll return the favour with even better results, loyalty and lots of hard work.

Ultimately you want your leadership and culture to cascade down through all the levels of your organisation.

As a self-reformed Heroic Sales Leader myself, nothing gives me a bigger kick now, than sending out a note to one of my teams for a job well done, only to then see the internal emails flying around the business, up down and across all levels, sharing the congratulations and endorsing each other’s hard work and achievements.

That for me, is a great example of a team culture focused on growth where everyone succeeds together. This now gives me a greater kick than me winning a big piece of business all on my own.

So who are the selfish sellers in your organisation and who needs to follow these six tips to instead build a team of high performing SalesBlazers?

Nicola Cook is CEO of Company Shortcuts – a consultancy dedicated to excellence in sales and leadership. For information about their one day Secret Sales MasterClass visit www.companyshortcuts.com

Read her 8 step guide to overcoming sales objections here.  

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