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Team Selling Resembles Tag Team Wrestling

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Team Selling Resembles Tag Team Wrestling…if approached with the same lack of discipline practiced by many sales organizations.

This past month I conducted five special “Team/Group Selling” workshops for a client. More than 120 sales professionals participated, so to get a sense of their current process, we divided into groups of four with a 5-minute assignment to describe their Team Selling process. In each session, the 7 groups of four produced 7 different team selling processes.

First, let’s define Team Selling as anytime there is more than one sales person or representatives from the selling company calling on the buying company. Group Selling is defined as anytime the buying decision directly involves more than one decision maker. So it can be as simple as a sales representative and sales manager making a client call or as complex as bringing in a number of individuals from the selling company to work with a group of decision makers with the buying company.

We reached a consensus on the three major challenges in developing an effective Team Selling Process. They are:

  1. Knowing when to involve others
  2. Knowing who to involve
  3. Knowing how to involve others

It was the last one, how to involve others, that was the real challenge.

One of the early goals in “Team/Group Selling” is to make sure that we do not end up with a situation where a group of prospective decision makers who are “all over the map” are sitting in a room with a group of sellers who are just as unfocused. The only situation that could be worse is having the prospect’s buying team laser-focused and the sales team playing tag-team wrestling, which results in a waste of time for both groups and a lost opportunity for the sales team as they are never really in the game.

Let’s break the “how to involve others” down into a very manageable 3-step process.

  1. Pre-call
  2. Call
  3. De-brief

Pre-call preparation is not spending 5-minutes at Starbucks® having a cup of coffee with a quick review of the meeting which is about to happen in 20-minutes. This is a difficult work step that many sales professionals simply gloss over. It is during this step that the roles of the team are clearly defined including who is in-charge from start to finish. This generally should be the person responsible for day-to-day interaction with the prospect company. Often it is this lack of clear ownership that leads to the tag-team wrestling approach and the chaos that follows.

The team leader for the account is responsible to provide all the other team members with essential information about the opportunity so that each can contribute in their role as defined by the team leader. Without a comprehensive understanding of the opportunity, it will be difficult for the supporting cast to effectively play their part in winning the business.

The most important part of the pre-call process is rehearsing as a team. Not the silent in the head type, but live with team members. By doing so, the team can discover those Ah-Ha moments and identify potential red flags—while they still have time to address them.

Next month we will continue the topic with some thoughts around “The Call” itself and De-briefing.

Sandler Training