Sales Performance

The news of the economic shutdown due to Covid-19 is a shock to all of us. Minutes after hearing the TV announcement, my phone rings. It’s my 30-year-old son (who’s in sales).“Mom, what’s happening to the world?!?” Then, “I’m going to be working from home, aren’t I? What do you recommend I do next, so I get set up and productive quickly?”

It’s the final quarter. It’s time for all hands on deck. It’s time to be innovative.As a rookie salesperson at Xerox, I prepare diligently for my 4th Quarter Review. I’m expecting to sit down with my sales manager for a thorough review of my pipeline. However, I am stunned to see six executives sitting at the conference table when I walk into the boardroom. Six? Why the executive presence?

A recent LinkedIn post from Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, took my breath away…"…we will no longer allow our company the indulgence of asking “why.” We as a company will focus on “what.” What can we do?'Why was I overjoyed to read Mary’s post?She reinforced the exact point I had made in my 5 Bold Predictions keynote for the Economic Times Sales Strategy Virtual Summit in India – the incredible power of “what.”“What” questions stimulate productive, future-focused thinking. They drive positive change and breakthrough results.

“I want my Millennial salespeople checked in…both physically and mentally. And to stay checked in. No matter what they are up against. These are difficult times for every leader – and especially for sales. I need the salespeople to listen strategically to prospects and clients. I want them to activate their creative energy and insights, searching for new ways to serve and new products to develop." (Peter, President of an engineering firm.)

This is hard for business leaders to believe - in the world of video conferencing, A.I., and the latest-and-greatest social media platform, one of the best tools for selling right now is the phone.Yes, the phone!And, I agree - engaging prospects in the opening call can be a challenge, even for the best sales professionals in the best of times.My colleague, Art Sobczak, is renowned for teaching sales professionals how to eliminate the fear, failure, and rejection so they can sell more by phone – without sounding like some cheesy salesperson.