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Preparing Your Salespeople For A Pullback

Some say we are seeing signs of the market shifting. For the last year, all I have heard from executives is “the demand is there, we are just struggling with the supply.” Last week, Mary Ann wrote a blog on some concerning trends this is causing. This week, I want to share three areas your sales reps can focus to maintain the success they are experiencing if there is a pullback.

1. Consistency: Stop Looking For Quick Wins

I have often Googled questions, already knowing the answer. Questions like "how to get in better shape” or “how to make more money”.

For a long time, I have known a good diet and consistent workouts will get me in shape. I know that if I want to make more money, I can either work harder at my current job, go out and find a new one that pays more, or find a second job/side hustle. So, why do I spend time trying to solve questions I already have the answer to? I thought it was to help “give me ideas” or “spark creativity”. In reality, I was looking for a shortcut. I wanted faster results without putting in the work needed.

A huge problem when it comes to sales.

Today, sales reps repeatedly look for that “silver bullet” when it comes to finding and closing leads. They expect to hear from prospects within the first 3-4 touches when studies show it takes up to 17 just to receive a response (add another 3-4 to get a meeting). They believe every opportunity they come across will close when they actually have less than a 20% chance of winning.

If you want to succeed in sales today, do the work. Take the time to:

  • Understand your prospects operating reality & their challenges today

  • Create value statements, email templates, and voicemail scripts that communicate how you can help

  • Work to stay top of mind longer than your competition with your outreaches

Quit looking for these silver bullets and hoping for immediate results. You must work at it every day and stay consistent. Hard work works.

2. Prioritize: Don’t Confuse Movement With Progress

“Just because you are doing a lot more, doesn’t mean you are getting a lot more done”

Just because you are going to work harder does not mean automatic success.

Most mornings, I try to listen to something motivating within the first 30 minutes of waking up. I have found this helps me set the tone for my day, especially on the days when I’m not motivated and would prefer to stay in bed. A few weeks ago, I was listening to a “Motivational Speeches” playlist on Spotify and heard a commencement speech by Denzel Washington. He said,

“Working really hard is what successful people do. And in this text, tweet, twerk world that you’ve grown up in, remember that just because you are doing a lot more doesn’t mean you are getting a lot more done. Don’t confuse movement with progress.”

Cue the lightbulb moment.

I have found that even today, I have what feels like the “busiest days”. Days filled with putting out “fires”, internal meetings, putting together proposals, etc. Things that all need to be done, but do not contribute to the success of building my pipeline. Make sure you are diligent where you are spending your time and the quality that comes from the time spent.

Take the time to:

  • Plan your day. 15 minutes of planning can save you up to 4 hours a day

  • Prioritize your “to-do list” with what will allow you the most success

  • Create time blocks on your calendar and stay disciplined using that time for whatever it was meant to be (for me, it is calling a mix of prospects and current clients)

3. Practice: Not Role-play, Role-practice

I mentioned reps looking for a “silver bullet” when it comes to sales, and I do have something that will speed up your success if you do it right…but it requires effort. And Allen Iverson may not be the biggest fan of it.

Role practice & situational scrimmaging.

I talk to 20-30 companies a month and on average, I would say maybe 5%-10% of them have routine role practice with their sales reps. I don’t mean call or meeting debriefs where the damage is already done, I am talking about 10-15 minutes every morning. Role practice that includes objection handling and cold call scripts. “You are the sales rep, and I am the client. Go.” type of role practice.

You want to have better success in sales quicker? Role practice. Working through common objections and scenarios during role-practices can detect weaknesses and help salespeople learn from experience – much better to occur between manager and/or colleague than with a client or prospect.

At Butler Street, we help companies and their sales teams strengthen all of the above. As you look at the rest of 2022 and into 2023, focus on the areas that best position your reps as the market shifts and be proactive in setting them up for success. As a leader in sales, recruiting, and leadership development, we can help. We look forward to connecting with you!


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