Developing World Class Sales Teams
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By Richard White

I was working with a sales manager this week who was saying how difficult it was getting a few of his sales team motivated. When I asked him whether he had done goal setting sessions with his team he told me that he had but some of his team were ‘half empty’ kind of people and they could never work out what they wanted.

This sales manager was involved in technical sales where this can sometimes be a problem. People with a technical background often have a different way of motivating themselves to the archetypal sales person who will never have a problem telling you exactly what they want! This does not mean that technical people do not want things. It just means we need to adopt a slightly different approach when helping them find motivational goals.

At a very simplistic level, there are two different ways people motivate themselves. The first is focusing on what they want. People good at sales typically think this way. They want things and are motivated to move towards achieving them. You ask them what they want and a few minutes later they have reeled off hundreds of things and they have only just got warmed up! The challenge is to get them to focus on specific key goals and link achieving those goals to hitting their sales targets.

The second are motivated to move away from what they don’t want.  You ask them what they want and often they will struggle to tell you. Ask them what they don’t want and they will wax lyrical!

For example:

  • They don’t want to work for the rest of their life
  • They don’t want to struggle to pay their bills
  • They don’t want their kids to go to a state school

Finding out this information, however, is only half the story. You need to ask them what they want instead so that you can link it to their sales activity.

If they don’t want to work for the rest of their life then when DO they want to work until and how much will they need to have saved up to retire at that age?

If they don’t want to struggle to pay their bills then how much money DO they need to earn so that paying their bills would no longer be a struggle and they can actually start saving?

If they don’t want their kids to go to a state school – what school DO they want their kids to go to? How much would it cost per term?

People who think in this way can get just as motivated as any other person. They sometimes just need a different approach to get there.

These approaches to motivation tend to be fairly ingrained and take a lot of time and effort to change. It may be quicker to help them discover their goals by starting off with what they don’t want and then regularly reminding them of their goal and why it’s important to them.

The way people motivate themselves is something you should be looking out for during the recruitment process and there are ways to spot an individual’s approach to motivation by simply listening to the words they use. The benefits of learning how people are motivated go well beyong getting your sales team firing on all four cylinders. The ability to spot how people motivate themselves is something that’s also incredibly useful when motivating prospects to buy!

In sales people buy from people they know, like and trust. Being able to quickly establish rapport with people you meet is an essential skill. But how do you establish rapport and trust with people that are totally different to us?

In this recording, top NLP trainers Julie French and Tony Burgess of the Acacemy of High Achievers shares with Richard White tips on how to quickly generate deeper levels of rapport. They cover how to build instant rapport both in person and on the telephone.


Posted by: In: NLP 27 Aug 2010 0 comments

By Richard White.

Words are the tools of the trade for sales people. Its not the words the count but how we use them. Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) provides a wealth of strategies that show us how to use words to effectively communicate, persuade, and influence. Its fair to say that NLP has more than its fair share of jargon. A lot of NLP techniques were originally discovered by studying a number of top therapists. The aim was to teach the skills to other therapists and so there is an element of therapy related jargon.

It is perfectly possible for sales people to learn and apply many of the strategies without the jargon. It does, however, require a bit of effort from the trainer and it is fair to say that many NLP trainers that work with companies still use the jargon.

It seems that top communicators in any discipline share similar language patterns. Indeed, I have since discovered that many of the advanced language patterns can found in top sales people who have never even heard of NLP!

There are many areas of NLP that involve language skills that can have a positive impact on sales effectiveness. The following are some practical applications:.

Selling stories

This is my favourite application. I have never met a top sales person that does not use stories and metaphor. It is very effective for developing trusted relationships. It is also invaluable when selling complex products and services where the benefits are not immediately obvious. Stories also have applications such as lead generation, to make sales presentations persuasive, and to pre-empt objections. Stories are more like anecdotes rather than fairy stories!

Advanced questioning techniques

NLP provides a deeper understanding of questions and a number of very powerful questioning techniques. It also provides an understanding of how to structure questions to influence someone’s point of view. They can be useful in any area of sales but especially in qualifying, discovering needs, and overcoming objections.

Flexible Communication

Top sales people are excellent at adapting their own language to match the way in which that their clients and prospects prefer to communicate. They instinctively use the right kind of words to match how their prospects think. NLP provides the ability for sales people to develop these skills and increase the range of people they can influence.

Advanced persuasion

NLP includes a number of strategies that are very subtle and can used conversationally to put ideas across in a highly attractive way and also to get prospect to see things differently. This has applications in all areas of sales and especially in overcoming objections and negotiating.

When sales people really ‘get’ NLP its like a child in a sweet shop. Any one of the strategies can have a big impact once mastered. For some people it is a case of learning a new skill and for others it’s a case of further developing an existing skill and understanding how else they can apply it.

Rather than learning all the NLP techniques together, another approach is to master one or two at a time. It is easy to understand a technique intellectually but the real power comes when it becomes engrained so you do not have to even think about it.

There are a lot of areas where NLP can help a sales person to significantly increase sales effectiveness through improving their language skills. NLP at the basic level can be taught without the jargon but even with the jargon the potential for greatly improved results makes it worth the effort.