Build a Winning Sales Team Mike Mann Y ou can teach someone selling techniques but not the natural ability it takes to sell, so always hire the most capable people. Like your other employees, your sales force should be, at minimum, well-organized, great communicators, and self-disciplined. Your sales team is your face to the outside world, so make sure you hire the cream of the crop. Preferably, each employee reports to one boss, and one chief oversees the whole department. Selling is largely an independent activity. Don’t delegate the same tasks or territories to multiple people. It is more important for each individual sales executive to develop a unique relationship with his or her client base. When training your sales team, make sure they understand that people are buying the benefits of the product, not its features. For example, don’t tell your sales prospects about the bells and whistles that are included with your “widget.” Instead, tell your client how widgets can help save them millions, which would then help them go on vacation sooner. Make sure your team knows how and when to ask rational, pertinent questions to prospects mixed in with the small talk, and make sure they LISTEN to the answers carefully. Not listening to what a customer says is a key failure for many salespeople and businesspeople in general. You may be able to tell from subtle intonations what the customer really takes to heart, and then if necessary, instantly adjust your sales “pitch” accordingly. Usually, you should have a semi-formal presentation and then a casual question and answer period, often over lunch. But the most important aspects of your pitch are not in the details, it’s in your positive attitude and clear, confident speech. Demonstrate mutual concern with your prospect and establish a human bond to increase your closing rate.