What Makes Salespeople Different?

By Lain Ehmann

If you’re a salesperson, you may take for granted that you know how to plan a great meeting for your fellow reps. But if you’re not a member of the sales profession or if it’s been a while since you’ve checked your preconceptions about your coworkers, it might be time to review some of the ways those who sell for a living differ from the rest of the population – and how that affects the meeting planner’s job.

Salespeople need to move. Because salespeople are used to moving from place to place on the job, being forced to sit in a stuffy conference room for hours on end can have them climbing the walls. “Get them up. Get them moving. Get them active,” says Kerin Brasch of Seattle’s A Brasch Company.

Salespeople need to be involved. But moving doesn’t mean just offering lots of breaks, says Brasch. “You have got to engage them,” she explains. When addressing a group of salespeople, she tries to go no more than an hour before offering some sort of interactive activity where participants are asked to work together to solve a problem, practice the concepts they’re learning or break into smaller groups. “They want to be doing. And they learn by doing,” she explains.

Salespeople need to see the value of what they’re doing. Because time out of the field means time not earning money, it’s critical that the value of the training be stressed. Let reps know beforehand what they’re going to take away from the meeting, and make sure you deliver.

Salespeople need to see new skills in action. Drive home the usefulness of what you’ve presented by giving attendees assignments after the meeting is over, says Brasch. “They like that,” she says. “They need something that extends beyond the meeting.” By asking them to put their new knowledge to the test, you also offer a concrete example of the ROI from the meeting, something all sales managers are concerned about.

Salespeople need to succeed. People don’t like others to see them fail, and that need for public success is heightened for salespeople. While reps are used to getting up in front of a group, “they like to perform and they like to perform well,” says Brasch. If you will be asking them to make a presentation or other performance, make sure you give participants plenty of notice so they can prepare or at least know what to expect.

For more information, please click on www.abraschco.com.