How To Develop A Proactive Sales Team

Here’s the quandary we often hear from our clients:

“I want my sales people to be more proactive”

Sales leaders of the world desire it, but they’re at a loss as to how to manifest such an environment. Commonly, in consulting with businesses we see the same dynamic within their sales team. yes they’ll have the off proactive sales member, but much of their sales floor is dominated by reactive sales people whom have become account managers.

If you’re in the same position, or you want to prevent this from happening within your sales team, then take heed of the advice to follow.



Recent Client Scenario

So recently we were consulting with a client. They, alike many, wanted their sales people to be more proactive. Now we recommended a plethora or things they can do, but first and foremost we outlined that before they action anything they must create the right environment for proactivity.

The Toxic Floor

I personally once worked in a sales environment that was toxic, it was very early on in my career and at the time I wasn’t aware of what a sales environment should be like. To put it into context the sales floor was like a morgue, you could hear a pin drop. I, at the time, was the only sales person picking up the phone and making calls. I can remember feeling like a performing monkey, every dial I made I felt conscious of the people around me. How embarrassed I’d feel if I slipped up, if I said something stupid, if I stuttered or didn’t know how or where to lead the call.  

Seldom have I experienced an environment like this again, but in the same breath, I am so glad that I experienced this. It showed me how bad it can be and how important it is for businesses to develop their sales environment. If any business wants to breed sales people whom are proactive, then first and foremost they must develop the right environment.

Environment to Breed Proactivity

This begs the question then, what can we do to improve the environment? Well one thing we’d recommend is utilising something in psychology called deindividuation.

We previously wrote a fantastic article on this which you can read below:

In this article we focused on how peers can compromise your work rate. But the concept of deindividuation comes into play on any sales floor, a person will be more inclined to be proactive if others around them are proactive, similarly a person will be dissuaded from being proactive if others aren’t being proactive.

A quiet, sullen sales floor will not encourage staff to pick up the phone!

So what’s the answer? How can we create the desired environment? At Sales Icon Coaching we’re mindful that any sales floor has a great deal of diversity. You’ll have certain members of the team whom are experienced, whom have a long standing customer base that they attain sales from, commonly there’s little to no need for these sales people to be proactive.

Conversely, at the opposite end of the diverse sales floor you’ll have the novices, those whom lack any customer base and therefore are forced to be proactive to attain any sales. Then you’ll have the mix of other sales people in between. Those whom have some customers, but at the same time need to be mildly proactive to attain more.

Here’s the approach all businesses should take. If you don’t have a floor full of proactive sales people then create pockets of proactivity. Group together those proactive individuals into one area and through the principle of deindividuation, their proactivity will increase. What’s more is that such proactivity will have a domino effect on the others around them, making those other individuals more proactive too.

It’s as simple as that, arrange your sales floor so that the proactive members are seated all together, creating at least a pocket of proactivity.

Heed our advice, you’ll be surprised how a simple manipulation of where sales people sit can have such a dramatic effect on the proactivity of the team.

Next Step

Once you’ve created the pockets of proactivity, then implement some strategies to create a buzz, to encourage proactivity and the behaviour you desire.

Again there are a wealth of such strategies you can adopt. Why not try initiating cold calling session, we’ve written a couple articles on themes you can toy with. Have a read of one of our previous themes and see whether it creates the atmosphere you relish. Have a read of the article below:

Key Take Aways

So to conclude, for a proactive sales floor

  • Use deindividuation to your advantage
  • Create pockets of proactivity by situating those proactive sales people together
  • Adopt strategies to encourage proactive behaviour such as cold calling session

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