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Business Today

14 July 2017

GroWth s trateGies

Sales Orientation: How to read a sales exec’s psyche Did you ever wonder where a person is coming from, particularly your sales professionals? How an individual is oriented to the world and people around them impacts their perception of where and how they fit, what they may or may not have control over, what motivates them, and how they react to problems. If you know their perspective you may be better able to find the best ‘fit’ for them in your company, or eliminate a hiring mistake.

Here are some examples

If a person frequently places themselves in the pivotal center of stories where they alone were responsible for success, perhaps they see themselves as more influential or effective than others, and they may work best, alone. If a person reaches out to other people by asking open-ended questions to initiate conversations then listens well, they may be acutely aware of the needs and feelings of others which may posi-

tion them as someone who draws on Interviewing: Identify Their the expertise of others making for a Orientation powerful team approach to sales. Knowing during seIf someone talks most lection how a person frequently in quantitaplaces themselves in tive terms to explain sucrelationship to other cesses or describe situapeople may help you tions (as in “86% success distinguish a flexrate” vs. “it was a highly ible strong team player successful outcome”, or, from a solo sales prac“91-degrees and 85% hutitioner with a by-themidity” vs. “it’s hot and book-only perspechumid outside”), you tive toward others. may have identified a You need the best fit person focused primarfor your organization ily on methodical proand its sales processcess steps and numeriSales Coach es such as long term cal goal achievement vs. relationship building relationship building in CHERYL KANE that develops customtheir sales orientation. ers (hopefully) for life None of these is best, (insurance, healthcare practices); correct, or undesirable, unless the ‘fit’ to the sales role placement is not ac- telephone call center sales (catalog curate. Aim to locate and place sales sales, fundraising); and highly adaptprofessionals with the best alignment able sales approaches from customer to customer (advertising, automotive to your sales process objectives. sales). Each requires unique sales process approaches with a distinct fit for success in sales roles.

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Knowing during selection how a person places themselves in relatioship to other people may help you distinguish a flexible strong team player from a solo sales practitioner with a by-the-book-only perspective toward others. Training: Set the Direction

When you design new-employee orientation, design it to frame the sales process, the explanation of how your organization works, and why your company polices and administrative practices are the way they are, relating each with frequent reminders of their relationship to the mission of the company. It sets employee expectations in a way that gets them

accustomed to using that same directionally oriented method to solve problems on the job, interact with other employees, and how they work with customers.

Mentoring: Define the Desired Orientation

As you offer personal insight to challenges you’ve confronted in your career, carefully and precisely identify the ways you prioritized the issues at hand, and how you evaluated alternatives for the good of the company and the customer at each step. Don’t assume the employee can see the context-define it, repeat it, then ask them to paraphrase your story, or tell a current comparative situation of their own-then listen. Are they picking up on the alignment of company values and sales process objectives you want instilled in them? When they can do this in a mentoring session they are more apt to be able to do it on their own in the field.

Evaluation and Discipline

As you review performance and find improvement needs-use their specific situations to review with them. Get the sales professional to reflect on the viewpoint they may have had at the time and listen to their thought processes as they made decisions. Where was their frame of reference? What was the pivotal decision point? How did they evaluate alternatives and balance out options? The insight you gain may offer you priceless ways you can redirect them in future situations. If you select and manage your sales professionals whose orientation is a best-fit to your particular sales processes, it can enhance your sales professionals’ motivation and sales effectiveness at every step.

Cheryl Kane, MBA, PHR, GPHR, SHRMSCP, is a strategic business consultant, sales trainer, & professional speaker specializing in strategic planning and service quality. If you seek assistance in growing your business, need a business speaker, or have a topic you would like to see in this column, Cheryl welcomes your communication at (704) 595-7188 or through her web site,

Business Today - July 2017  

The July 2017 issue of Business Today

Business Today - July 2017  

The July 2017 issue of Business Today