My Shanghai Sales Experience

By Michael Lang                                                                                                        

I was in Shanghai recently delivering a sales team impact analysis report to a company. The CEO was visibly displaying his frustration at what I was showing him from the report.

What he voiced concerned me:

"I have told them (the team) time and time again, (to focus on improvement) why have they not understood. It was their answers I was sharing."

"This is frustrating as we have given direction many times."

This is more common than you think!

A benefit of conducting a sales evaluation for your sales team is you as the CEO, sales manager or sales leader can gain a objective perspective of your sales team. This includes a clear understanding their individualised strengths and weaknesses.

Think about it..

As a sales leader, you think you have done everything possible for your sales team. Though, you are not seeing the results for your organisation and you want to find the cause to the problem/s.

This CEO thought his sales team were not cross-selling enough, that they have a long sale cycle and not enough new clients.

Does this sound familiar?

I showed the CEO the causes to his sales team issues from the report. The causes were taken directly from his sales leaders and salespeople answers to the evaluation's multiple choice questions.

This CEO now has the brutal facts. I am sure he will be having some interesting conversations with his salespeople after this sales evaluation.

As Jim Collins from Good to Great fame says: " great leadership starts with facing the brutal facts".

One of the conversations we had the following day was what is the difference between a sales process and sales engagement methodology.

The CEO had a huge 'aha' moment from this.

The difference between salespeople "winging it" is salespeople actually putting into practice a sales engagement methodology time and time again.

He also learnt that he must deal with the unconscious biases his salespeople have. These biases will interfere with his expectations of growing their sales skills.

Shanghai was a rewarding experience. SG Partners are looking forward to working with his team going forward and assisting them is growing further.

What can I learn from this?

Here is a question to ask yourself as a CEO, sales leader, sales manager or salesperson: 

What unconscious biases do you have or other leaders within your team that maybe holding the success of your company back?