3 Silent Sales Killers: Why Your Team Isn’t Bringing In More New Clients…And What to Do About It

When I talk to a manager, a VP, or a leader of a team I’m always curious to hear what skills they wish their employees had. Not surprisingly, the number one thing I hear is ‘closing’. The ability to take a new lead, qualify them, and convert them into a client.

Easier said than done!

There’s hundreds and thousands of articles online about selling. In fact, I wrote one right here about how to close more deals faster.

But what happens when your team ‘knows’ all the things they ‘should’ be doing…but they just don’t do them? Or if they do, they don’t bring in results?

What’s actually going on?

Usually the culprit isn’t a simple ‘talk more about benefits than features’, or the amount of leads coming in. What if you already HAVE hundreds of leads? What if you already have qualified potential clients? What happens at the part in the process where they need to be converted?

The actual problem is a lack of soft skills — the ability to get people to trust you, like you, and want to buy from you — and FAST.

But how do you go about helping your team improve their rapport and relationship building skills? Where do you start? How do you break it down?

Today, I’m going to show you. The 3 ‘silent sales killers’…and exactly what to do about them so you can help your team improve.

Culprit #1: Lack of confidence

This past winter, I went to New Zealand on my honeymoon. And while I was there, I decided to go bungy jumping.

As I stared at the 150 ft high bridge that stood above the rapid water below, I wanted to cry. I KNEW I had to do it. But what if I dropped dead?

I finally get on the bridge. A guy makes small talk with me to calm my nerves. They measure me, weigh me, and tie me up to get me ready to fly. And as I was standing on the ledge…not looking down…I just had to accept that this is what I had to do. And I jumped.

Of course, sitting here writing this, I lived to tell the tale. And I tell this because ‘confidence’ is not what you think. You don’t make your team more confident by telling them to ‘be themselves’ or to ‘just do it’. The intention is good, but there’s so many other reasons why your team might not feel comfortable trying to ‘sell’ someone.

Back to bungy jumping for a second.

After I jumped, we watched a few other people take the plunge. It was clear that one of the guys who stood on the ledge was terrified. His legs were shaking. His arms leapt back to try and hold onto a rail. But the guy who was telling him to jump wouldn’t let him. At one point, we all thought he was going to chicken out because he was trying HARD now to turn around.

But the guy talked to him a little more, and finally, he jumped.

He survived.

Telling the kid to ‘just jump’ — while it’s true that that’s what needed to be done — wouldn’t have done the trick. He needed someone to talk to him, calm him down, and tell him it was going to be okay.

So if you notice that someone on your team is timid about approaching hot leads and ‘closing’, instead of telling them to ‘just do it’ — find out what’s getting in their way. What are they scared of? The better — and quicker — you can find out, the easier it is to talk them through it and help them find a solution.

Culprit #2: Going for the sale too soon

Because in sales there’s so much emphasis on ‘hitting your number’ it’s easy to convince ourselves to skip social niceties and get right to the point. While I’m not advocating for mindless chit chat and waste time, it is critical to make sure your employees feel like it’s okay to spend a portion of their time creating deep rapport and trust with the client.

Yes, even if that means small talk about the weather. It doesn’t matter! It’s the oil you need to get the cogs turning.

Because think of the alternative:

Going for the sale too soon is like showing up to a first date and trying to kiss the other person within the first 5 minutes. I mean, if that DOES happen, great. But that’s not usually how the world works.

So if your team member has no problem getting people on the phone but has a hard time closing, see if there might be a gap in rapport building. Even an extra 5 minutes spent getting to know the client better — without trying to sell right away — can make a huge difference.

Examples of better questions to ask to make rapport building enjoyable are:

  • What did you do this weekend?
  • Oh, that’s so interesting. What got you into doing that? (If they mention a hobby they’re interested in, or an activity they mention they did over the weekend or during the week)
  • What’s the weather like over in XYZ? I’ve never been out there. (Or, the last time I was there I went hiking on Mount Tam)

These are very simple, basic questions that open up the channel for deeper communication because they’re based on a fundamental principle of creating a better connection: taking a sincere interest in the other person. The better your team can connect with potential buyers, the more likely buyers are to choose you over the competition — especially if your solution for them is exactly what they need.

Culprit #3: Not listening enough

Now here’s what’s interesting:

All the confidence and rapport building in the world cannot save you from selling your potential client something they’re not interested in. Even if they’re a qualified lead who wants your solution, when you go for the sale, you need to make sure you’re speaking in terms of exactly what the client wants.

Here’s what I mean:

Too often, we think our product or service is fantastic without understanding how other people perceive and think about it. So if you’re selling a talent solution to a recruiter…but you talk about how great the product is without talking about how it will save that recruiter 10 hours a week and bring in more qualified talent…then you’re missing the mark entirely. The recruiter cares very little about how speedy your product is. They care about what it will DO for them.

So how do people miss this?

One part is they get too eager to close the sale and go for it too soon. When you do that, you lose the battle before it is even fought.

The other part, is that they are not asking good questions or listening deeply enough to what the potential client REALLY cares about. What will REALLY bring them over the edge and choose to buy.

Here’s an example:

There are a lot of coaches out there who work with teams. How they typically pitch themselves is that they help teams ‘perform better’ or they talk about ‘peak performance’.

While those things are fantastic, guess what some managers and shareholders care about MORE than ‘peak performance’?

The number one thing? Generating new business.

So it is a great disservice to use language with prospects that does NOT resonate with them. Why? Because they won’t ‘get it’. And when they don’t ‘get it’, they don’t buy. Worse, they say interesting things like “We don’t have the budget for that” or “We decided to go with so-and-so”. As one of my favorite consultants, Alan Weiss, says: “If the lights are on, they have money. Someone is paying the bills.”

And people think this is ‘time consuming’. And it is! But guess what? If you don’t do it, you lose business. Think of how much more business could be brought in by making these very few, small tweaks? Isn’t it worth the extra time to listen a bit more and get your messaging exactly right?

Now, I’d love to hear from you: what’s the biggest challenge you have with your team? Email me at fel@feliciaspahr.com. I’d love to hear.