You have two divisions at your company. Each sales team sells different products and services, but they also are encouraged to identify opportunities for other divisions and provide introductions to their colleagues.
It’s a simple and profitable way to grow sales -- except it doesn’t work.
As the CEO or head of sales, you’ve discussed the importance of cross selling. All heads in the room shake up and down in agreement, acknowledging that a lot of money is being left on the table.
Everyone leaves the meeting, only to go back to their old ways of selling what they know to who they know. It’s the old all-words-and-no-action problem.
Now is the time to apply the EQ skill of reality testing. And the reality is that one more speech on the value of cross selling is not going to change your sales team’s selling behaviors.
Instead, call out the proverbial sales elephant in the room.
Your sales teams aren’t cross selling because they don’t trust each other.
Shock. What? That sounds harsh. We hire good salespeople that have character and integrity. Gee, that’s nice. But the reality is:
- A salesperson is not going to introduce a colleague to one of their best accounts if they don’t know and like their colleague. When you don’t know someone, can you trust giving that person an introduction? You aren’t going to have Mike or Michele screw up your hard-earned business.
- A salesperson can’t introduce a colleague because they don’t know or understand their colleague’s business. They have no clue as to what buying signals they should watch for in a sales call to spot an opportunity for their other division.
What’s the solution to this age-old problem?
#1. Work on the right end of the sales challenge with your sales teams. Teach and apply the powerful EQ skill of delayed gratification, which is the ability to put in the work to earn the reward. In cross selling, it’s putting in the time and work to get to know and understand your colleague personally and professionally.
#2. Address the sales elephant in the room: No one has time to do what you are asking them to do. They’re busy trying to achieve their own goals and quotas, much less help a colleague achieve hers.
Remind your team that in this thing called life, you always make time if you believe the investment is worth the time. This leads to point No. 3.
#3. Re-examine your sales compensation plan. Does it reward cross-selling behaviors? Create a recognition program that highlights the sellers that are playing well with other sellers. Show the number of dollars in sales AND commissions that collaboration creates. Have your sales team share success stories about mutual wins in which each party was willing to play the long game of sales.
And…point out that these new clients, created by introductions, didn’t go to the competitor!
#4. Track and measure sales metrics in which sales colleagues invest time to understand each person’s business. What are the trigger events in their world that create opportunities? What are the top three business problems they solve for their clients? Set and agree upon expectations for how they are going to handle introductions or conduct a team meeting.
Stop talking about cross selling. Start talking about the elephants in the room: Trust, time, compensation and team selling techniques.
Then and only then will you stop leaving money on the sales table.