Much has been written on the critical skills, technologies, systems and methodologies associated with successful selling, but research has shown that consistent sales success involves more.
We’ve just completed some research into the most critical factors for sales success, carried out across several different organisations, markets and types of sales roles.
We are seeing some very illuminating initial results. The two factors which we’ve found to be most important for high sales performance are resilience and intrinsic motivation. Strangely, given their importance, these factors rarely receive attention and or development.
Bounce, bounce, bouncing back from adversity
Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from set-backs and to keep going in the face of challenges in order to achieve your objectives. There are two main aspects to resilience and its effect on sales performance.
The first is how badly a set- back affects performance. When a sales person loses a major deal or client, it is natural to feel down and demoralised. But does this result in just a small drop in activity levels for a short period, or a major and long lasting drop in activity and performance?
The second aspect is how long does the drop in activity and performance last for? It could vary from a few minutes to days, weeks or even longer. We’ve even seen cases where a sales person’s performance never fully recovers.
It is easy to see that the deeper the dip and the longer it lasts the more it will reduce sales performance, so resilience is vitally important to sales success.
I can’t get no satisfaction?
The second factor is intrinsic motivation, which is the degree to which people want to work well in their jobs in order to achieve personal satisfaction and success, rather than for external rewards such as pay, bonuses and awards. External motivators do work, but the effect is often short lived and not as strong for solution selling, compared to transactional selling. This link between intrinsic motivation and effort, persistence, productivity and turnover has been repeatedly and reliably demonstrated in many studies.
‘Will-do ‘or ‘Can-do’?
Together, these factors also explain the difference between ‘can-do’ sales people who have all the obvious necessary skills and knowledge but don’t have great success and ‘will-do’ sales people who not only act positively on what they know but keep going when the going gets tough. This is often the case with problems such as ‘call reluctance’ and low activity levels.
So, do you know how resilient you, or you sales team, really are and what could be done to grow resilience? One approach would be to take our on-line Sales-Motivation and Resilience Questionnaire. It consists of forty simple questions and takes just a few minutes to complete.
When you have completed it, you’ll receive a personalised six page report describing your personal motivation and resilience profiles and what you can do to maintain or improve them to boost sales performance.
We now know that anyone in sales can increase their performance by developing their intrinsic motivation and resilience. It works with poor performers as well as helping others move from ‘good’ to ‘great’ and helps the ‘great’ become consistent ‘Sales Superstars’.
Bryan McCrae helps sales people, teams and organisations boost sales success by developing motivation, resilience and ability to cope with pressure, using advanced psychological techniques. He is the founder of Sales-Motivations and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.