By Jeff Shore
Why do some of your salespeople neglect to stand firm in a negotiation? Why do some lag far behind in their prospecting? Why do some salespeople show up late to your sales meetings?
It doesn’t matter what the behavior might be. It always comes down to the same core issue. And if you know the right question to ask, you can find the fast track to behavioral change.
I have been coaching sales managers for more than two decades and I have determined that there is one critical question that every sales manager must ask when assessing inadequate behaviors.
The question: “Is this a can’t problem or is this a won’t problem.”
It doesn’t matter what is going wrong; this question will get to the core of the issue.
At one of my recent Sales Leadership Academy sessions, one of the attendees brought up this example: “I have a salesperson who just doesn’t ask for the sale. He freezes up in that critical moment.”
I asked the manager what he has done to correct this. He replied, “I’ve put him through some specific training on how to ask for the sale, and I had him repeat his closing question over and over. It didn’t change anything; he still doesn’t ask.”
Think about that case study for a moment. What is the real issue?
The problem is that this sales leader is throwing a training solution at a motivation problem. Trust me – that approach will never work.
The issue in this case is that the salesperson is struggling with his own desire for comfort. He is simply too uncomfortable at the critical moment to ask the question.
Now, would you describe that as a “can’t” problem (training) or a “won’t” problem (motivation)?
This is clearly a won’t, and all the training in the world won’t help. Until this guy gets it right between his ears, he’ll never be successful.
What about your salespeople? Ask yourself where your salespeople struggle (or where you find yourself routinely frustrated). Then ask if this is a can’t issue or a won’t issue.
You’ll be so much more effective as a leader if you address the right problem in the first place.
Learn more about how tell to tell the difference between a can’t and won’t issue and how to solve them at my Sales Leadership Academy in Dallas, TX.
The Sales Leadership Academy is a 12-week immersive learning experience that accelerates the performance curve for new sales managers so that they deliver profitable results faster while making an immediate and lasting organizational impact. For more information click here.