How Are Your Sales Reps Shaping Your Business?

by | Apr 27, 2016

Earlier this year I wrote about the body language of your business. The premise is simple – everything about your business or organization communicates and sends a message. Those messages can be intentional or unintentional.

That commentary focused mostly on your physical location as a business. But, when your business is driven in part – or whole – by a sales force, the idea of a “physical” location takes on an entirely different meaning. In the case of a sales rep, the body language of your business is an actual body.

Everything a sales rep does, does not do, and says is scrutinized.

With good reason.

The sales rep is the physical embodiment of your business. No employee in a business is more heralded, blamed, or desperate. Living life from deal to deal is not for the timid.

In my experience, sales reps fall into one of the four categories: Cringe-worthy, Reliable, Smarmy, and Extraordinary.

Three of these are attainable, and account for the vast majority of sales reps.

One of these is nearly impossible. (Hint, it’s not smarmy.)

Here’s a quick breakdown.

Cringe-worthy Sales Reps

In the last year, I have been tormented with a couple of terrible sales reps that embody “cringe-worthy.” I have watched reps parade product “experts” in front of me that are not knowledgeable and cannot answer basic questions. The rep, however well intentioned, usually does not handle that situation effectively. They are watching their income bleed away and an air of desperation causes bad form, like yelling at their colleague in a meeting and within earshot in the parking lot. Seriously.

Reliable Sales Reps

In the famed tale of the tortoise and the hare, the reliable rep is the hare. They never bring you new ideas and they don’t challenge your thinking. But they do deliver in a timely way and the quality of what they do is usually solid

Smarmy Sales Reps

Want some snake oil? You know you’re around a smarmy rep when you just don’t feel comfortable at all, and trust is never established. Their words and actions are setting off your alarm bells, and you feel like you are being hoodwinked. Sales calls with this type of rep cannot be over fast enough.

The extraordinary rep is best understood by example.

I’m lucky to work with Steve Tarr.

Steve understand something most sales reps have forgotten… Steve talks to me. He listens. In person.

When I talk with Steve, his nose isn’t buried in a phone. He’s listening to me, sometimes joking with me, actively.

He knows everyone in the business because he’s personable and helpful. If he happens to be in the office and we have something important going on, he’ll ask if he can help. And, he knows how to help.

I also know for a fact that I am one of 31 clients for him. I know that fact because I asked, and he gave an honest answer. I never feel that I’m one of 31.

Most importantly, he delivers. He explains processes and pricing. He understands my business, and tailors his quotes to take advantage of his knowledge, not my budget.

Take a look at your sales force. Which category do your reps fall in?

And, may you find your Steve Tarr.

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