10 Reasons why New Sales Reps Fail

Hi readers,

This blog is a result of 18 years of sales experience, essaying various roles- Sales rep, Sales executive, Internal sales manager, Consultative sales specialist, Sales Director, Sales VP…..

During my formative years in J&J, there were many occasions in which I tried and failed, and tired again, and failed- hours with my mentors and trainers taught me valuable lessons on failure and the do’s and dont’s that impact results of your efforts.

What I have learnt during the early years, and what I continue to learn on a daily basis, is the basis of this piece that I am sharing with you today

top 10 reasons why new sales reps fail, according to me are the following

  • REASON #1: They base their self-worth on what other people think. If you define your sense of worth based on how you assume your boss, co-workers, and customers see you, you’ll be deeply hurt by anything that smacks of criticism.  Selling, and working inside a sales organization, begins to look like a series of horrible and (finally) intolerable rejections.
  • REASON #2: They assume that past failure defines the future. Some people find failure so unpleasant that they try to avoid it at all costs. As a result, they avoid any situations where failure is a risk. Because any meaningful sales effort entails risk, such people seldom, if ever, accomplish anything significant in a sales organization.
  • REASON #3. They believe in destiny, luck and fate. Some people believe that their status in life and potential as a human being is determined by luck, fate or divine intervention operating upon the circumstances of their lives…
    These beliefs, however, constantly keep you focused on what you can’t change (e.g. fate) and not on what you can (e.g. your skill set.)
  • REASON #4: They lack the right attitude. The right attitude for a sales pro consists three qualities: 1) Empathy, so that you can understand customer needs. 2) Confidence, so that your can bring customers to the point of buying, and 3) Resilience, so that you can use rejection and temporary setbacks as spurs that constantly move you forward.
  • REASON #5: They don’t perceive the subtleties. When mediocre sales pros make sales calls, they are so busy “trying to sell” that they miss the nuances of the customer relationship. Top sales pros know that the most important element of a successful sales call is the value that the sales professional can bring to the customer, rather than whatever might eventually be sold.
  • REASON #6: They’d rather be doing something else. Failing sales pros often wish they had the nerve get out of sales and do something completely different.  If a sales pro’s ideal occupation is to play baseball,  be a musician, write a novel, or do anything else that not in Sales — they’ll eventually sabotage their sales career.
  • REASON #7: They don’t learn from their mistakes. Sales pros tend to avoid looking at their failures and would prefer to examine their successes – and then attempt to replicate them. However, until and unless you understand how, why and where your sales process is failing, it’s impossible to correct systemic problems in your sales approach.
  • REASON #8: They can’t follow simple instructions. Sales skills must be learned.  Some people are naturally resistant to learning new ideas and new techniques, especially if they’ve already achieved a certain level of success.  Many a sales pro has “topped off” at the lowest level because of a failure to understand that news skills are needed at each stage of a sales career.
  • REASON #9: They lack true honesty and candor. Sales is all about relationships and relationships are all about trust.  People who lie and fudge the truth may become good at fraud or other criminal acts, but they’re at an extreme disadvantage when it comes to being successful at an honest sales job.  Most customers can “sense” when a sales rep isn’t being real… and avoid buying.
  • REASON #10: They can, but won’t, do the work. This is true not just of selling, but of every other activity in the world.  Sales pros who don’t makes their numbers either can’t or won’t do what it takes to make sale.  When you can’t do the job, it’s usually because you don’t know what to do.  When you won’t to the job, it’s because you simply lack the drive.

Can You Master Your Selling Skills?

Hi readers,

Training sales newbies in a team is a time consuming process. Having been involved in training my sales team members for over 10 years, I can certainly say that it is like an iterative process divided into 2 parts or levels.

LEVEL 1: Theoretical Understanding

  • Stage 1: Unawareness. You are completely unaware that there is a skill to be learned. Example, a novice sales rep might be making cold calls without realizing that her accent is making it difficult for customers to understand what she’s saying.
  • Stage 2: Awareness.  You realize that something isn’t working. Example, that novice rep may notice that her hit rate on the cold-calls is much lower than the other people working in that office.  She asks colleagues and her sales manager for suggestions.
  • Stage 3: Clarification. You understand what you need to do differently. Example, that novice sales rep signs up for a class that will improve her diction and make it more understandable to the target customer base.

LEVEL 2: Practice Until Mastery

  • Stage 4: Awkwardness. You attempt the new behavior and find it difficult. Example, the novice attempts to apply the skills learned in the class and speak without the debilitating accent.  She finds it’s hard and exhausting to hold a conversation without slipping into her old accent.
  • Stage 5: Familiarity. The new behavior is easier but still not automatic. Example, the novice finds that she can now hold a conversation in the new accent without fumbling or falling into the old accent.  Practicing the new skill is no longer a burden.
  • Stage 6: Mastery. You no longer think about the behavior but simply do it. Example, the novice now finds that talking in the new accent seems as natural than the old accent.  Her brain has been reprogrammed so that the new behavior no longer needs monitoring or specific practice sessions.  It’s now like “riding a bike” – a lifelong skill that you’ll never forget.