quietWhat do dirty secrets, liars and bad salespeople have in common?

It’s not a joke. I hate to say it, but they have a lot more in common than we realize.

If I were to ask 100 salespeople, I most likely would hear from all 100 of them that they don’t have any dirty secrets, have never lied and would not consider themselves a bad salesperson.

I wish I could believe those three things are always the case, but despite my optimistic nature, I simply can’t.

Why?  Because we’re human and we are prone to make mistakes and then do our best to make sure nobody sees them or knows about them.

The nature of sales is one where the salesperson interacts with the customer, and typically there is little immediate direct oversight by anyone else in the salesperson’s company.  Occasionally, I’ll hear from someone who will say all their phone calls are recorded, but even if this is the case, is anyone ever listening to them?  Probably not.

For the most part, in most companies, salespeople are on their own with the customer more than 90% of the time.

With a percentage that high, let’s not think there aren’t mistakes happening that are then being covered up.  I’m not here to jump on anybody. I’m here to say it’s time for everyone to buck up, put on their big-boy pants and admit stuff happens.

This isn’t easy, is it?  Salespeople don’t like to share what didn’t go right, because they’re afraid their boss is going to come unglued at them and rant and rave for weeks on end.

Managers, it’s your job to discern what are simple mistakes versus a pattern of irresponsibility.  Create an environment where your salespeople feel safe admitting their mistakes.  Then use those as opportunities for the person to learn and for you to remember that you are not perfect either.

No need to throw anyone under the bus. Just learn from it and move on.

If you are in a sales leadership position, what can you specifically do to help your salespeople feel more comfortable admitting their mistakes?

Copyright 2013, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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