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Winning the Team Sale: Chapter 3 - The Director

team sale director

michaeldalis30 May 2017Blog

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Without practise, what are your team’s chances of success at a high-stakes sales meeting?

If the stakes are life and death, like they are for the Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron, the question is not whether, but how much you should practise.  Flying multiple 22-ton jets at speeds up to 500 mph, and with as little as 36 inches between them — side-by-side or upside-down — the stakes don’t get higher.  Pilots must have a minimum of 1,250 tactical jet-flight hours.  On top of their individual proficiencies, the squadron practises as a unit on roughly 120 training missions prior to its first Blue Angels performance.

A group sales meeting or pitch is neither a show nor a life-or-death moment.  Yet, the stakes for a group sales meeting are high enough that you’ve asked others to contribute to the effort.  Your “pilots” all bring individual proficiencies, but how much practise do you generally do as a unit prior to an important customer or prospect meeting?

Practising for a Team Sale

Practise is about application with the intent to improve.  Successful selling squads practise together not because a manager tells them to; effective teams practise as a group because they realise:

  • Without it, they have a random chance of winning, and they’d rather stack the odds.
  • Feedback is essential to strengthen individual contributions and the team’s performance.
  • Repetition reduces anxiety for all members when it counts most: at the sales meeting or pitch.
  • Talking through who is going to cover what section and what pages, while part of getting organised, fails to cover execution.
Leading a team during practise requires a salesperson to play the role of Director, the equivalent of the Blue Angels’ commanding officer.  So, what’s involved?

  1. Commitment: When recruiting for your team, consider how open each member will be to investing time to practise with the team.
  2. Scheduling: Practising takes a dedicated time and place.  A video-conference is better than nothing.  In-person practise beats a call because it better simulates the conditions you will face for an in-person sales meeting.
  3. More than talk: Rehearsing requires running through the key parts of your team’s pitch, not “Here’s where I will talk about our capabilities.”  What will each person actually say?
  4. Feedback: Creating a feedback loop is essential to strengthening performance when it counts.  That feedback can come from you, as the team leader, and by facilitating it among team members.  High-performing teams also have access to expert coaching, whether it comes from a manager or an external sales coach.
  5. Trust: For someone to accept and incorporate feedback from others requires an environment of trust.  Suggestions should be shared in the spirit of helping a customer, supporting a colleague, and winning.

The Bottom Line

Practise improves your team’s chances of winning the best possible outcome at a sales meeting.  The good news is that what you’re aiming for is way easier and safer than orchestrating multiple fighter jets at high speeds and tight tolerances.  If you want to win against able competitors, you need to be trained to skillfully play the team’s Director so practise occurs and is managed effectively.

Sound daunting? Leading a team in an effective sales call is straightforward when you approach it methodically. This eBook will show you how to effectively win more deals when teams are required.

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