5 questions to answer before employing a Sales Mentor

5 questions to answer before employing a Sales Mentor

Most business owners are not sales experts.

AND most business owners will never pay for sales advice or a Sales Mentor.

Is this the most damaging equation in your business today?

The first part of the equation is perfectly understandable. When people leave education their career usually introduces them to something they are good at or something they are passionate about. Ideally both.

That means people become experts in technology, HR, finance, drones, marketing…. You name it, there will be someone who specialises in it.

But the list of options is so long it’s a simple law of averages that the majority of people won’t specialise in sales.

Once you’ve accepted this it’s the second part of the equation that makes less sense. Sales is the lifeblood of every organisation, so if you’re not expert at it, why not engage a Sales Mentor who is?

For sure, some people who’ve never been trained in selling are naturally skilled at it. But for most people applying themselves to something they are neither trained in nor comfortable with feels really awkward. And awkwardness delivers sub-standard results.

What’s holding you back?

Here are five questions that will help you figure out whether you require the services of a Sales Mentor.

1. What would successful selling look like in your business?

It’s a really helpful start point if you can identify what good would look like. There’s a good chance your answer will link to more revenue, but think broader than that. There are many ways your answer could go:

  • Employing someone you like and trust to manage sales for you
  • Never spending your evenings worrying about your forecasts
  • Keeping in touch with key clients at social events but leaving trading detail to others
  • Not stressing that your biggest customer might find a new supplier
  • Something specific like improved conversion rates from new leads

The more accurately you can describe what it is you really want to achieve, the more likely it is you’ll be able to shop around and find a Sales Mentor to help you achieve it.

2. How do I feel about selling?

This might sound an abstract question to ask but it will really help you identify any obstacles that prevent you from chasing hard after the goals you identified in question one.

You wouldn’t be the first person who thinks selling feels a bit uncomfortable. For some it’s a straightforward risk of rejection: They don’t like being told No.

Others just don’t like the feeling that they are leaning on customers’ goodwill so hold back from anything that might be considered pushy.

Whether it’s for these reasons or others, it causes many business owners to focus on the technical aspects of what they’re selling. Rather than exciting clients by demonstrating that they understand their needs and have solutions, they fall back on dull explanations of product features.

These are valid beliefs to hold, but they will have a seriously limiting impact on the growth of your business.

It’s very rare we come across a business leader who says they’d love selling if only they had the right techniques. It’s almost always how they feel about it that holds them back.

You can transform your sales line if you can help your ideal customers understand just how you can help them fix their biggest problems.

3. What’s my capacity for change?

If you bring in a Sales Mentor for you and your team, the results can be transformative. But transformation is change. And change is hard.

However far away you are from the sales goals you set out in question one, you’re probably doing your best now. Maybe you need better skills or an injection of confidence, but if those things were easy you’d already have them.

Taking a meaningful step forward will mean embracing activities that you’re not currently doing. If you have a team you’ll need to encourage them to get on board with this new initiative. That in itself might need careful persuasion.

You remember the first time you drove a car or painted your garden fence? The first time you do those things you’re really tentative, and only with practice does it get quicker.

That’s how learning new sales techniques will be the first time you try them.

Knowing it’s going to help you win in the long haul will help you through this lumpy and time-consuming period of transition.

4. Am I happy with a self-service Sales Mentor?

This question leads directly from the last one because it impacts your capacity to lead the change. It also has a big influence on the budget you’ll need.

If you want to transform your sales capability then you can employ someone to do it for you.

Maybe your business is heading towards where you can employ an experienced Sales Director. But for many that’s a far-off dream. Still, you can find someone who’ll help you on a part-time basis, let’s say a day a week.

This allows you to tap into the expertise of someone who can operate at that level whilst allowing you or your team to keep day-to-day sales operations ticking.

It’ll help shape your future commercial plans and should provide a smooth transition if you ever do make a full-time appointment.

The alternative is for you to take on a Sales Mentor who’s just advisory – and this is how most people approach it.

You still get the wisdom and guidance, but if you need a project delivering to improve your customer presentations, re-word your outreach LinkedIn messages or rebuild your sales pipeline then it’ll be you and your team making it come to life.

Figuring out precisely what shape you want sales support to take will help you manage the pace of change.

5. What’s the knock-on effect elsewhere in the organisation?

If you really want to deliver change in how your business sells then it will impact everyone in the organisation. In a good way!

Customers don’t care much about your job titles or what reporting line your people have. What they care about is output and the responsive experience they get in dealing with you.

So your people in functions, from marketing to IT, should all see benefits from this initiative.

If you’re going to invest in a Sales Mentor to improve your selling capability then it really should impact on everyone else.

This can help you get better value for money as it often costs no more to train a cross-functional team in customer skills than just focusing on the sales team.

Having everyone in the room with a Sales Mentor can help sharpen up your sales process too, and can be great for morale.

Just helping everyone in your team believe that selling isn’t just the job of sales people will accelerate your sales performance overnight. Read more about how to find the time for a Sales Mentor.

Armed with the answers to these five questions you can go back to that equation. If you’re not a sales specialist are you really happy bumbling along without that expertise in your business? You decide!

Are you struggling to untangle the complexities of your sales process?

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