Monthly Archives: September 2012
Can we make Ian Thorpe a football player?
What has Ian Thorpe to do with Sales? Well, essentially, we can also ask:
Can a good sales person sell anywhere?
Hello! This is Maya Saric, Sales Psychologist and Inventor of SIP, Sales Inventory Profile.
I’m about to create every video making mistake in the book. I’ve got noise in the background and too much lighting and the sound of the wind on the microphone. Hopefully this will come through well enough that you’ll be able to understand it but I wanted to capture an idea before it was lost and I thought you might appreciate the nice boats in the background if you can indeed see them.
There is a belief that all sales people who are good at selling can sell anything and in any context and often people promote really good account managers to become BDMs or really good BDMs to become account executives and nothing can be further from the truth.
Sales reps are good at, those that are good, are good at particular parts of the sales process or in particular styles of selling because that’s where their attribute match is best so we know from SIP that some people are better at performing new business environments and some are better in account management and we know from SIP and our 4000-5000 existing clients that if you mix them up you get a bad result – you can’t make a farmer hunt and if you do make hunter farm, they get bored and knacky with you.
I’d like to use an analogy about why you can’t make someone who’s good in one field perform well in another. Here is something that’s true, let’s use athletes, really good, high competition World Class athletes.
I’d like to take the swimming group first, high quality world class swimmers, the end talks of the world, have great cardiovascular fitness. Their heart and lung capacity is awesome, and that’s a requirement of a sprint-style sport and swimming is certainly and some distances in swimming more so that others but it’s generally speaking a sprint style sport and you need high cardiovascular heart and lung capacity.
There are lots of other sports that need high cardiovascular lung and heart capacity that are sprint based on land. Let’s use football as one of those, one of my favourite sports or past times is to watch football and if you’ve ever watched a game of football by the end those guys are really sweating and their hearts are raising and you can see that they’re breathing heavily because they’ve done stacks of sprinting in that last 80 minutes. But could we make Ian Thorpe into a football player? No. Despite having that particular aspect in common, the other sport, the football, requires a whole bunch of other skills that are equally important; skills in terms of tactics, ball handling, precision, etc. Tactics that are or components that are not in swimming (even a tiny little bit) and the same is true of sales jobs.
A good sales new business person, BDM, has to have a level of agility and intuition almost about the sorts of information they need to give out in any point in time versus account managers who need to precise, and planned and detailed. If they’re going in to see their clients for the third year in a row or their businesses even if they’re new, they need to know what has happened over those three years and what have been the consequences, what have been the highs and lows and where we’re up to today and what’s next. If they’re whinging it or hoping that their client will give them a tidbit of information that will make the whole story become transparent and capable of closing, they’ll get shot, they’ll get thrown out.
A new business rep has to rely on that ability because they often don’t have the ability to research in any great detail, some ability yes, always some ability, but not in enough detail to be able to predict and ask questions that pinpoint specific issues. They have to have a conversation and they have to ask questions and they have to be prepared to assimilate really quickly on their feet the answers that they’re getting in order to formulate correctly the next set of questions and get better and more precise details from which to close the sale.
I’d like to suggest that if you are good at selling, that you find out why you’re successful and make sure that you use those skills consciously and proactively or if you have a team that’s really good or a team in general, find out what their strengths are and structure your team so that they utilize those strengths to the maximum potential. We could work on fixing their weaknesses but that is such a slow process. The best effect you’ll get, the greatest increase in sales performance you’ll get is by using what you’re good at more often.
So Maya Saric, Sales Psychologist and Inventor of SIP – thanks for your time.
Want to know more about BDMs vs Account Managers?