Sales underperformers still living in Misery

One of the world’s leading sales training organisations has identified that up to 70 per cent of underperforming sales people are still blaming the recession for poor sales, when all of the economic evidence points towards a recovery that’s well underway.

Doug Tucker, Managing Director of Sales Commando, whose work has identified the findings, believes it’s time for ‘recession blamers’ to stop living in the past and face the facts. As he says:

“The results of a questionnaire I have given to new clients’ sales forces who are underperforming show that seven out of 10 salespeople who are not hitting the targets established by their employers believe this is due to external economic factors. They are recession blamers.

“The Misery Index – a multiplication of inflation and unemployment created by Economist, Arthur Okun – is at a record low. Meanwhile both the UK and U.S. economies are growing, consumer confidence is racing ahead and GDP is rising.

“The simple fact is that today if you underperform in your sales role, if your figures are down and you’re struggling to meet targets you’ve most likely only yourself to blame. In short, the economy is no longer your excuse.”

However, Doug is at pains to point out that not all is doom and gloom and, in fact, the majority of sales people he meets and trains are collectively driving the economic feel-good factor.

“My findings represent a small proportion of sales people. For the majority, their hard work and unfailing positivism has been the engine behind our economic recovery.

“Those who are successful in sales treat their professions as a science rather than a job and as such embrace sales training as a critical part of their personal development.”

But what of those who are struggling? Doug suggests that those sales people adhere to the three key principles of better sales – research, rehearse and listen – as he explains:

“Blaming the recession for poor sales is a symptom of a disease that manifests itself in a lack of structure in the way that the business of sales is approached.

“To improve results, sales people should first fully research their prospect. They must ask themselves “What are the problems that my product or service can solve?” And of course, they must have the answer.

“The second factor is pitch rehearsal. As an actor does before going on stage, it’s imperative to rehearse before a presentation. However, this comes with a caveat and that is the third factor – the ability to listen.

“During a presentation simply keeping to a script will not work. The sales person must have the ability to react to a prospect’s questions in a fluid and knowledgeable way. And of course, that all comes back to research and rehearsal.”

Doug concludes: “Great selling is a matter of attitude, effort and application. If sales people find themselves falling short of targets I’d strongly advise they look above and beyond blaming a recession and focus on these fundamental principles of sales.”