Coaching Salespeople on Posturing

I originally published this article on my other blog in June of 2011. I hope you enjoy it.

Who do your salespeople identify with when they’re working? Do they think that they’re better than the person that they’re talking with? Smarter? Do they feel that they’re at a disadvantage? Do they think that the prospect has all the power? How do they feel about gate keepers? Can they adjust as they interact with people at different levels of the organization? Do people at different levels of the organization relate to your salespeople?

You can do little things that show that you understand ‘their’ world, regardless of who ‘they’ are.

On a coaching call recently, the salesperson told me that the chairman of the board had introduced the salesperson to the president of the company. These are excerpts from that intro. “______, I just got off the phone with ____. We were reminiscing about good ‘ol _____ days and some of the projects we worked on together when (company name) was pushing _____ stuff. I understand she worked with you occasionally as well.

_____ is now running a ______ consulting company focused on _____. Some of the things they did @ (company name) in the early days of ___ bear resemblance to some of the challenges we have in (our new company). I think you’d enjoy talking to ____ and getting re-acquainted and exploring possible marketing projects @ (our new company.)

Consider yourselves re-introduced. “

How could the president refuse? During our next coaching call, the salesperson told me that the president had talked pretty freely about history, the team, general plans, but time ran short and they scheduled a follow up call. However, during the second call, the president was less forthcoming and although my client was uncovering reasons for change, the president was holding back.

My client thought that there were many opportunities, but that the president wasn’t making them a priority and was trying to decide how to change his mind. After the first cpnversation, my client sent this email to the Chairman of the Board. “Just wanted to let you know I had a very interesting 45 minute conversation with ____ yesterday, and we’re scheduled to talk again on Tuesday. Thanks for suggesting we connect. Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!” After the second conversation, my client didn’t want to bother the chairman. I explained that the chairman had a reason for making the intro. He’d want to know what happened with his president. So, my client sent another email to the Chairman. “Do you have a few minutes to talk about the conversation I had with ____ yesterday?” His reply, “I have some time tomorrow morning. I’ll be travelling to the airport at around ______. Maybe we can talk on the way?”

After that call, I got a voicemail from my client that started with, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” Later, my client told me that the conversation was now at the board level and the chairman was coaching my client on how to ‘handle’ the president. My client is now postured at the board level as an expert.

Another quick story about another client. A while back, this client was brought into a conversation by the CMO, who happened to be the son of the owner. The owner was on the call as was the COO, the other son. My client told me that the two brothers spent the whole call arguing and that it was difficult to make any headway, but that they did uncover a few significant issues to did down on. I advised my client to call Dad and lead with, “Are they always like that?”. My client was immediately postured as Dad’s peer. They understood and connected.

Salespeople need to pay attention. It’s not all about your stuff. It’s about your posture.

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One thought on “Coaching Salespeople on Posturing

  1. Rick – I think part of posture is that you bring value and insights. While overused, you must become a trusted advisor, whether selling a product or service, that helps the buyer create and achieve a better vision. You earn that right in having a walking tall posture when you bring real value to each person at the buying organization

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