The 7 Reasons Why Your Team Isn't Selling and What You Can Do About It

By: Eryn Sorensen, ICS Consulting, Inc.

How do you sell the idea of selling? What is the difference between selling, networking, marketing and business development? And how do you develop a universal method of communication that is inherently good within your organization? Dean Hyers and Pete Machalek, founders of SagePresence, touched on these questions and the seven reasons that your team isn’t selling and proposed strategies on how to properly influence and motivate your professional staff. Your firm needs to provide the proper tools, communication methods, accountability structure and methods of measurement for your professional staff to be successful.

The seven reasons your team isn’t selling are:

  1.  It’s not on their radar. It is your responsibility to show how selling and business development and their participation in those efforts can lead to success. Simply having a conversation around the idea of selling communicates the importance of the weight that selling and business development holds. Explain to your teams the importance of business development, how the individuals on your team fit into that plan and how all efforts are valuable to the firm.
  2. They don’t understand your expectations. At times, there is ambiguity and uncertainty about selling, marketing and business development. If no expectations are set, your professional staff won’t be able to properly meet the unsaid expectations let alone know if they are successful in their efforts. Not only is a specific action plan necessary, but how your staff communicates your firm’s story is crucial.
  3. They don’t want to “sell.” There was not a job description line item that said “selling” when they took this position. Or they may simply not be aware that there is actual benefit in selling for them, so they need not be concerned. Focus on identifying the strengths of your individual employees, how to leverage those strengths in regards to selling and focus on selling the idea of selling. Action without motivation breeds obligation. Understanding what drives your professional staff will help you to frame selling and business development in the appropriate light that allows them to move past their own obstacles.
  4. They’re scared. Selling may be out of the comfort zone of your professional staff, plain and simple. Meeting new people and having any type of conversation, personal or professional, terrifies them. Allow them the opportunity to share their fears, concerns, or doubts about selling and that it is okay to have those fears, but know how to properly address them. If your top leadership also does this, the example will be set across the board. Speak those fears, address those fears and identify tactics on how to properly overcome those fears.
  5. They don’t know how. Many professional staff simply don’t have the knowledge when it comes to selling, which leads to doubts in their abilities to do so and their fears end up taking over their actions. Building your team’s skills will be crucial in this process – practicing with other employees and allowing an internal learning process will spark conversation and connections between employees.
  6. It’s hard. Everyone’s schedules are hectic and business development and selling get pushed to the back burners, let alone tracking and managing the information around leads and opportunities effectively. A well-developed process and structure allows organized CRM information and lead information tracking. These structures allow your professional staff to be efficient and knowledgeable in their interactions with clients.
  7. There’s nothing keeping them on task. If there is no accountability, your staff may feel that their efforts won’t make a difference and their motivation diminishes. Accountability is an ongoing and continuous task and specific methods of measurement should be set to structure this process including who will be in the meeting, the frequency of those meetings and the discussion at hand. A specific action plan can frame your firm’s story and properly communicate that message to your existing and prospective clients.

Positioning your professional staff to better respond to business development opportunities will allow greater focus, follow-up and client relationship building throughout the firm; ultimately leading to additional business. Your team should be taking advantage of every opportunity to start a conversation and develop relationships; key when working within the professional service industry.

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