How to Get a New Salesperson Up and Running Quickly

Young woman comparing products with saleswoman

A sales manager once told me he only hired salespeople who could sell; he provided no sales training. You could say that “sink or swim” was his motto—and I’ll bet most salespeople he hired sunk.

Let’s banish this myth that anyone can sell without guidance. Here’s what sales managers should do if they want their new hires to be successful.

Provide a sales manual

I have created many sales manuals for clients. My first thought, in almost all cases, was “I can just imagine what they were doing before they had this manual.” And I know the answer: They were wasting a lot of time. Their salespeople were experiencing unnecessary stress and failure; they certainly were losing sales.

Why does a successful sales organization need a sales manual? Because this is management’s preferred guide to how it wants it products, services, and the company represented in the marketplace. It’s a best practices guide for selling.

Do you want to make it easier or harder for your sales team to be successful? If the answer is you want it to be easier for your salespeople to succeed, then you provide a sales manual.

A manual should define the sales process

Your sales process is a series of steps you want your salespeople to work through in order to make a sale, and you need to provide the steps. Steps should include how to identify prospects, how to contact prospects, how to get the appointment, tips for asking questions during the sales call, how to close the sale, and services to provide after the sale.

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Your sales manual should detail how to execute each one of those steps. For example, it should define the criteria for an ideal prospect, and it should define the lower limits of a prospect—you do not want your salespeople thinking an unacceptable prospect is in fact a viable one. As a salesperson uncovers the problems, needs, or wants of a prospect during questioning, your manual should identify the issues that your products or service address and for which types of prospects.

It’s unfair to tell a newly hired salesperson to figure out what prospects are best suited for the products or services he or she is selling. It’s not their job to identify the features and benefits of your products and services. That should be part of management’s job to develop the sales process, and to include it in the manual.

Just remember that “Go sell” is not a process.

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Selling is a team sport

Some sales teams provide mentors for new hires, while for other teams, mentoring is the sales manager’s job. Either way, the role of a mentor is a critical role in the sales process. You don’t want new hires wasting time having to figure out the sales process on their own, or experiencing unnecessary failure before they learn how to be successful. Mentors guide new salespeople to avoid failure.

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