“A sale will proceed only when there is a transfer of TRUST and a perception of VALUE” – Tanya Gray
Firstly, let’s assume that both ‘Trust’ and ‘Value’ must be evident before a sale will proceed. Let’s also assume that the greater the financial/ social impact your product/ service has on the organisation, the more fundamental trust building is to the success of that sales process.
In a recent article published by The Harvard Business Review, figures were revealed that state more than 55% of CEOs believed that a lack of trust was a threat to their business growth. However, many had done very little in terms of tackling trust because they simply didn’t know where to start. The science behind this also supports that there is an intrinsic link between trust and economic performance.
Trust is even more critical, as today’s buyers are more sceptical. They read self proclaimed grand statements such as of ‘world’s best’ but know there is no validity or they have ordered something online and then found when they went to return the item that it wasn’t as easy as promoted.
If the behaviours of the sales team serves to erode trust, then sales WILL suffer, and leads will neither be converted or if they do, the customer will unlikely come again.
As sales managers, we are responsible for setting our team up for success and guide their selling behaviours. We use KPI’s, Key Performance Indicators, to influence these behaviours yet we may be in fact encouraging sales mindsets that reduce trust levels and are therefore counterproductive to sales growth.
Many business owners, sales managers, and their teams are completely unaware of how their sales mindset can impact the customer's perception of trust and ultimately how those everyday mindsets when shifted just a little, can deliver astounding results for both your business and your customers.
In the rest of this post I will look at the five different sales mindsets and how they impact sales and how KPI’s and Sales Management behaviours may drive the mindset. I will look at both the pros and cons of each on a high level.
We can all relate to at least one of these mindsets, and as sales people, we are likely to cross over into each of them at times. These mindset can be positive but at the extreme they are damaging on the buyer seller relationship.
It is not my intention to tell you that how you work is incorrect. The purpose of this post is to enable a deeper appreciation and understanding of how your mindsets can influence a customers’ decision to do business with you, or not.
5 Sales Mindsets
I have established there to be five predominant mindsets in sales teams and individuals. 80% of sales mindsets can burn the lead.
The Numbers Mindset
The Numbers Mindset is driven by activity based KPI’s. The assumption being ‘The more calls you make, the more sales you will make; sales is a numbers game.’ This is somewhat true and works in principle but this ‘churn and burn’ approach can have severe implications on building trust.
I have seen this often in call centres. They might measure average call time and number of calls per hour for example, and the consequences are the sales people rush the callers to get through their process and to meet their KPI’s.
- The sales team will do equal number of calls and if the clients being targeted are actively in the buying cycle, then some will convert.
- Quality time is not being spent on building trust. Prospects that need to be nurtured are not given the time, care, and attention needed and this approach leaves customers feeling just part of a process, rushed and unloved.
- It is more of a tick in the box approach to client relations, which can erode credibility and loyalty.
- It is self-limiting. What if you have no more time, how do you continue to drive up sales.
Being activity driven is fine but Sales Managers need to watch that they do not sacrifice quality for quantity. So, I ask you, how does your business measure sales call quality?
The Pitchers Mindset
People with this mindset are excellent at delivering a pitch. They are often focussed, passionate and knowledgeable. Again, to a point, this can work. However, a customer needs to know that you care about their needs and you need to listen to them before they are open to receiving your information. This ‘Show up and Throw up’ approach won’t win you new business or endear your customers to your business.
- It demonstrates passion and knowledge of the company and their products
- Ideal for presenting to large audiences where 1-way communication is expected
- This lowers your credibility as a business, and relationships are considered less important
- Pitching does not always align with the individual customer's needs and so you fire and miss
- Customers feel like they are merely being ‘sold’ to which can trigger a flight or fight response
Sales and Marketing Managers often enhance this mindset by only training their team on your products/ services. So, I ask you, how balanced is your sales training between selling skills and what you are selling?
The Winners Mindset
The objective is to win a sale at all costs. On the surface, having a winners’ mindset is fine. However, letting that mindset rule your behaviour as a salesperson is harmful to the business and exceptionally negative for the customer who is on the receiving end of this ‘Bulldoze to Close’ mindset.
- Individuals with this mindset work hard to retain their number one spot on the sales team
- Great at handling objections and overcoming rejection
- Can often deploy a YES approach to close the sale which leads to overpromising and customer having false-expectations and then the service team cannot feasibly deliver
- Customers can feel tricked, feel they cannot trust the company and don’t return
- The sales people are quick to move companies at the thought of better prospects and more money increasing churn for your business and customers left dealing with new people each time they contact you
Sales Managers often praise this mindset, even though these sales people cause chaos in the business, they out sell the others. So, I ask you to also consider the cost on service satisfaction, customer life span, discounting and overall cost of sales?
The Mates Mindset
The thinking behind this mindset is the better your salespeople get along with your customers, the more probable a sale will be. Having a good rapport is certainly key, but equally so is maintaining focus on achieving your sales objective. Often the relationship is all mates, and no result. ‘Mates don’t rate’ is my message here.
- It can break down some of the barriers associated with selling
- The client will often enjoy talking to the salesperson and show loyalty
- When tough conversations need to be had, it can prove to be made more difficult a conversation to be had between friends
- The sales person will use their customers valuable time and when the customer realises this time is not bring value, the overall credibility of the business is lowered
- These salespeople will have loyal customers, but their overall selling productivity will be low and their sales cycle longer than average.
Sales Managers don’t generally set KPI’s around relationships speciafically, but my suggestion is to watch out for low productivity, little or no sales call planning, sales calls without purpose, progress or result (a coffee meeting), extended sales cycles and avoiding tough conversations (such as price increases).
The Supporters Mindset
This mindset is about finding the win-win scenario at all times. A win for the client is ultimately a win for the salesperson and in turn, your business. This mindset reduces sales pressure, it also builds and retains trust with clients. A supportive mindset will take all the positive elements from the other mindsets and achieves a harmoniously balanced approach. By supporting and not selling, customers are guided through the sales process - trust and value are consistently being built – and results thrive
- Repeat sales are high, and clients enjoy the professional relationship
- Deep Trust is built and retained with ease
- Value is added in every interaction with the customer
- Excellent results are achieved across the board, and the sales team tend to be loyal
- Unless managed closely, clients can lean on supportive individuals for more than they need
Sales Managers driving a Supporters Mindset note that customers see you as a Trusted Advisor, experts in your space and happily refer you to prospects. They will be open and transparent and work with you to solve problems. There is no longer a ‘them and us’ selling environment, it is collaborative, future focused and mutually beneficial.
It is true to state that at one point or another, it is easy for the focus to shift and for one mindset to take priority over another. Quarter or Year-End is a prime example of a driver that can change the mindset, along with incentives that are purely focussed on delivering performance against KPI’s that do not necessarily put the customers at the core.
Getting a great quarter-end performance is great, however, when that affects how customers perceive your brand and result in cancellations or failed retention, the longer-term outcome is nowhere near great.
Change your mindset, change your results.
Making just a small change and shifting the mindset can have a significant impact on your bottom line and help you to achieve sales growth and increase your overall profitability.
By dialing your salespeople into a different, more supportive mindset, you can create greater VALUE and greater TRUST in your brand and in your business. With this, you will not only create more leads, but your referrals will also be stronger, and your loyalty will soar.
If you'd like better results out of your sales team and would like to find out about how BeBusiness can support this, please contact us on 1300 987 567.