Your sales team in a slowdown

There are a lot of sales people talking about an economic slowdown at the moment, but whether it's true or not, it can become self-fulfilling.

Andy Preston, founder of sales training company Outstanding Results, offers his advice on how to promote confidence and success in a sales team in a difficult economic difficult climate.

The more people talk about a slowdown, the more sales people believe it. If they are experiencing even small challenges closing deals, “the slowdown” is what they will blame.

The minute sales people begin to doubt themselves, it starts to affect their overall confidence. They may start having thoughts about leaving the company, leaving the industry or even quitting sales altogether.

This situation calls for strong leadership. From the CEO or MD right down through the director and management levels, your sales team need you to show confidence in them, and give them reassurance that if they keep their activity levels up and their mindset right, the results will come.

Getting the sales team to pull together

Try to get internal staff to support the sales effort, instead of working against it. Focus on the administrative back-up for the sales team, the customer services team (especially those dealing with problems and complaints), the accounts department and the production department or warehouse. Get them to anticipate problems and solve them themselves where necessary, instead of just adding to the workload of the sales team.

The team needs to see you and other managers remaining positive and action-oriented. Make sure you hold regular short training sessions or team briefings, covering things like objection-handling and negotiation tactics. Constantly drill into the team the importance of their attitude and actions in the face of current market conditions.

If you refuse to let doom and despair take hold, you stand a much better chance of winning business while less proactive companies founder.

More sales advice: How to get sales and marketing teams working together better.

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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