At the age of 56, with over 28 years of sales experience, I have earned the right to call out the biggest challenge facing companies today: LAZY SALES PEOPLE!

Don’t believe me? Google “sales training” and tell me how many hits you get! Somewhere in the vicinity of 950MILLION! MILLION! Why? Because the business landscape changes all the time, but the attitude and abilities of most sales professionals remain the same! So day after day, year after year, companies try to get their sales people to be more productive and efficient and spend billions on sales training. Most of it fails. Why? Laziness!

Don’t get me wrong, sales people across the world are working extremely hard! They’re just focusing on the wrong things! Why? Because the things they SHOULD be focusing on take time and effort to learn! And most simply don’t want to spend the time and energy on them.

Why do we accept that doctors, lawyers and engineers have to study, practice, and experiment before they can be considered great, yet anyone can get a job and put “Sales Executive” on their card? It’s sad, and insulting to the prospects and clients they deal with!

Sales professionals need to understand that “sales” is a career and takes practice, practice and more practice! In today’s information overloaded world, if you don’t have a compelling story, or something to differentiate yourself, you will be what I call an “averager”! 70% of sales professionals I have trained and coached are “averagers” (when they start! LOL)

And here are my top 6 reasons why most salespeople are lazy:

  1. No sales process. They “wing it” at every meeting
  2. Focus on products, not “people” and emotions
  3. Use facts and figures instead of “stories”
  4. Don’t listen, just talk
  5. Have no idea how to ask the “right” questions
  6. They just don’t care! It’s a job, not a profession!

Now, maybe average is ok for some and they don’t care about any of the above! But not me! I want to be the best! And I want anyone I work with and coach to be the best!

So, what can leaders do to try and make “top performers” out of “averagers”? Well, it’s not easy! And most sales managers are as guilty as the lazy sales person (that’s for the next article!). But here’s a good start:

  1. Make sure your team/company has a tried and tested, consistent sales process. If not, how can you possibly manage behaviour and success.
  2. Make sure that if you do have a sales process, you manage to it and make it the default methodology. Hold sales people ACCOUNTABLE!
  3. Train all staff on the art of “questioning” and the ability to use “active listening”. If your prospects talking, you have a greater chance of learning and closing the deal!
  4. Finally, use the art of “story selling”. Research this approach, and see how it can completely transform your closing rates. Or ask me! As a stand-up comedian that’s how we win over the crowd. Take them on a journey!

Don’t let even ONE salesperson do damage to the profession. Take charge, hold people accountable, and change negative behaviour!