All Sales Managers know that recruiting for a sales superstar is akin to hunting a white whale. In truth, it’s far easier to transform an average salesperson into a superstar than it is to spend your time hunting for a big fish, but many Sales Managers are unsure of how to draw out the inner rock star in an average player.
Most sales teams are comprised of “ok” reps. Nearly 70 percent of average sales performers miss their quotas each year, and as a result of that failure, some will leave their jobs. However, of the average salespeople who press on, 15 percent of them will eventually blossom and become part of the A-team. There are average players who within themselves possess an inner superstar – it’s up to the Sales Manager to bring it out.
The Difference Between “Average” And “Superstar”
It is difficult to define a sales superstar across the board. Success in one industry will not be considered success in another. However, good Sales Managers should know quality when they see it. Superstars are independent workers who are consistent in achieving results. They ooze confidence when they are in front of a client, and they are innately tuned in to the nuances of the buying process. A superstar knows how to time calls at the precise moment a prospect needs a service. They know when to “turn it up” or “dial it back” and they are killer closers when big fish come along.
Because so much of a true superstar’s success is tied to his or her personality and intuition, many Sales Managers write off trying to transform an average performer. You can’t teach charisma. What you can teach, however, are the skills needed to tune into conversations and cues that will lead an average player into better interactions with prospects and clients. They might not ever light up a room when they walk through the door, but if they learn some of the subtle techniques that superstars use, they can pave their own road to success.
How To Draw Out Superstar Qualities In High-Potential Salespeople
Nurturing superstar performance takes time – and it takes a talented Sales Manager who has the stomach to put in the work. It involves time observing an individual on calls, debriefing about what worked and what didn’t, testing new techniques and taking creative approaches to roadblocks and objections.
While coaching an average performer, keep one thing in mind: Sales is about belief. If a rep goes into an interaction expecting failure, they will most likely fall flat on their face. If they expect to win, the entire interaction takes on a new tone. To get a rep to buy into belief, managers have to paint a clear picture of success and of where the individual rep fits in to the big picture.
Visualizing is a great tool, and if a salesperson can’t “see” themselves firmly engrained in the broad vision and goals of the company, they won’t feel engaged in its success. Spend time with high-potential reps and give them your thoughts on where the business is going. Ask them to tell you where they think they fit into that vision, and what specific skills and talents they have to help drive success. Add your own observations to that picture to show that you see where their talents lie. During regular one-on-ones, revisit that vision. When a rep is immersed in the vision of the company, they will be more committed to sticking it out and reaching the finish line.
Helping High-Potentials To Help Themselves
You can be there to coach your potential sales superstar to success, but they must put the work in to make it happen. You can’t micro-manage success. Therefore, you must give high-potentials the tools they need to go out and tap into their inner superstar.
While you will need to observe them in the field, you also want to give them the independence to try new things and work through difficult situations on their own. When they face a roadblock, ask them to come up with several different possible solutions. Go through each scenario and have them work out the possible outcomes of each. Challenge them to defend their positions and really think about all sides of the coin. Then, have them go out on their own and try it. If it works, debrief about it, and get them to repeat the action again. If it didn’t work, sit down and work out the reasons why, and come up with alternatives for their next communication.
Growing a sales superstar out of an average performer is possible – and it is far less costly and time-consuming than attempting to recruit one from the market. Through coaching, strong managers can develop stronger sales teams. When individuals can tap into their own unique strengths, they can learn the skills they need to compete on the same level as a “natural” superstar.