Q&A with Tom Abbott by Andreea Zoia
In this Q&A session, Tom Abbott and TV Presenter Andreea Zoia discuss what are some of the problems that sales teams are facing right now and how having the right sales mindset will not only benefit a salesperson but also your perception on life.
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How is your mindset different from those who don’t like sales?
I think people feel like selling is trying to convince someone to do something that they believe that person doesn’t want to do, which isn’t right at all.
It’s all about your perception of sales.
When I walk into a room I always feel like I have something tremendous to give you. I have a gift for you. I can help your sales team hit their numbers. I can help your sales professionals reach their goals. I can help your salespeople to help their customers achieve what they want.
So, it’s two things. Your perception and your belief in what you are conveying. I believe in what I do. I believe what I do makes a difference and helps people and that it matters. So, I project that.
When it comes to sales teams, what is one thing that when you tweak, they perform better?
It’s usually around being clear about the sales process and understanding the true signs of success.
A lot of salespeople are very vague so they’re like “I think the meeting went really well.” But they don’t actually know how to gauge that the meeting went well.
I’ll always ask my sales team, please tell me what happened in that meeting to help you believe that it went well? If their answer is “Oh, I don’t know. We just had a really good chat.” Okay, so the chat is one thing but did they give you particular buying signals? When you ask this question, what did they say? If they reply with “Oh, I never asked that question.” Then I know they’re not qualifying properly. They’re not making sure they’re actually speaking to decision-makers or maybe the gatekeepers. They’re never clear about budget, authority, need, timeline; the basics of qualifying. And most sales professionals have no clue.
Qualifying questions they need to be asking are:
- When will this deal close?
- Who else should I be speaking to about this?
- Who else are you talking to?
- Have you talked to some of our competitors?
- What did they say?
- What do you like about them?
- What do you not like about?
Often they don’t use a CRM, they don’t track anything. So, they don’t know how to move this opportunity from one stage to the next.
What makes it super frustrating is you can have five people on a sales team and they all have their own way of selling. There’s no process so a sales leader can never go, what stage is that opportunity. Oh, I’m in stage three. Oh, I’m in stage four. But your stage three is not the same as that person’s stage four.
What helps sustain training?
After sales training, the team needs to return to an environment that actually reinforces what they learned.
That’s where sales leadership comes in. So, does leadership know what we covered? Do they follow it up with weekly sales team meetings reinforcing what was covered in the session. Checking in to see how they’re doing with the new skills.
We also follow up all of our training with videos, blog posts, articles, slide decks every single week that reinforces what we covered in the training. This is what helps to reinforce the training.
How does being good at sales help you in life?
If you’re really good at sales, you’re able to ask for what you want. You are more confident, you take ownership of your life.
Sales is one of the only jobs where people will consistently say no to you. So you learn to have a thick skin, to be able to handle rejection.
If you weren’t doing what you are doing now, what else would you do?
I would be a tennis instructor, traveling around the world coaching up-and-coming tennis players.
I’m passionate about the sport and that’s why I’m in Dubai this week.
If you were not teaching tennis or selling, what else would you do?
I would just be full-time dad. I love hanging out with my boys and that’s my passion. I would take the kids to watch tennis tournaments, which we do anyways. So really if I wasn’t doing what I’m doing now, I would do exactly what I’m doing now but more of the things I love about it and less of the things I don’t.