April 16

Sales Management: Mission Impossible or Possible?


“Mission: Impossible” was a popular 1960s TV show about the adventures of secret government agents known as the Impossible Missions Force. The show always started with an agent receiving instructions for the next mission from a mysterious voice delivered on a recording, which then destroyed itself. The message always ended with, “Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is…”

Sales managers: You are now the voice. And your job is to get your sellers to accept the mission of selling in what might seem like an impossible business environment

  • Prospects and customers are overwhelmed managing the many implications of Covid-19. As a result, they are putting off buying decisions.
  • Buyers aren’t in their offices. Virtual selling is the new reality.
  • Sellers are doing double duty as they juggle home-schooling children with reaching out to prospects and clients.

How do you help your sales team push through the current “Sales Mission: Impossible” scenario?

Great coaches understand the power in asking provocative coaching questions that shift perspectives, attitudes and actions.

Here are three questions to incorporate into your daily and weekly coaching conversations.  

#1: What do you need to change, learn or adapt to succeed in this new environment? What does the future look like after you change or adapt?

This sounds like such a simple question. But often, when things look impossible, human beings get stuck. They focus only on what isn’t happening rather than on what they can make happen. They focus on the past instead of creating a new future.

#2. When you’ve been faced with an impossible task, what did you do to accomplish that task?

This question is a great reminder for salespeople. They’ve overcome difficulties before. By remembering the tactics they used to do so, the salesperson will be reminded to tap into those same strategies to change, pivot and improve.

#3. What self-limiting beliefs are holding you back from taking action? 

This question leads into a further dialogue about whether this belief is based on perception or real data. For example, a field salesperson may not think he can be effective with virtual selling. Ask your seller if he’s ever set an appointment with a prospect by using the telephone. If he answers yes, ask the next question.

“Is setting up an appointment with a phone virtual selling or face to face selling?”

Wait for the light bulb to light up.

Your salesperson will realize that he has successfully engaged in virtual selling before COVID-19!

During difficult times, it’s easy to make up stories about why trying something new won’t work. And most stories are based on perception, not fact.

Yes, these are difficult times in business and sales.

Yes, you and your sales team will have days where it feels like you have a starring role in the TV series Mission: Impossible.

And yes, you as the sales leader can focus on helping your team see what’s possible.   

Good Selling!


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