Rob Lingelbaugh, Sales Leader, Online Recruitment Industry
Recently, we had an opportunity to connect with Rob Lingelbaugh, Sales Leader in the Online Recruitment Industry and listen to his thinking on what makes top-performing salespeople different and what sales leaders can do to train and support them. He shared a number of unique ideas focused around:
- Genuine Curiosity Facilitates Real Conversation
- Sales Leaders Must Identify and Help Change Bad Habits
- Make yourself Better Today Than You Were Yesterday
Early in the interview, Rob said something that really framed the rest of our conversation,
“The best salespeople have genuine curiosity. Not forced conversation, it’s not thinking about my next question, it’s listening to the client and following them down that conversational journey.”
The type of genuine curiosity that Rob is referring to is a trait we commonly see in top-performing salespeople. The reason for this is that being naturally inquisitive lays the foundation for many basic sales skills. As Rob points out, one of the most critical of these skills is the ability to actively listen and stay engaged in your client’s message. Curiosity helps top performers to key-in on the important elements of what their client is communicating to move the sales process forward in a natural way.
Genuine Curiosity Facilitates Real Conversation
We asked Rob his thoughts on why the best salespeople are naturally curious. Here is his thinking:
“Genuine curiosity will help to have better, more real conversations with the client. By doing so, your client will see you more as a client advocate and not as just one more sales rep who’s trying to reach into their wallet and grab some cash.”
The really interesting thing that Rob called attention to is the fact that genuine curiosity not only leads to better questions and more engaging conversation, it also has the added benefit of lowering the buying resistance of the decision maker(s). The best salespeople recognize this relationship and use their curiosity to ensure the client feels they care and are invested in their success. As Rob points out, once the client sees you as their advocate they’ll be more inclined to hear your solution.
Next, Rob made a great point about the role curiosity plays in effectively presenting a solution,
“We all know as salespeople, and our intuitions, what we think the “end result”/solution looks like for a client…sometimes even before the actual conversation has taken place. The problem is, the client must walk along that journey with us. This is where salespeople are sometimes missing out. ”
At some point in their career, many salespeople may come to a place where they have seen enough to know the solution they will likely offer to a prospective client even before they meet. The disconnect between top performers and average salespeople occurs in how they treat that client during their interaction. Top performers will still engage, ask insightful questions, and actively listen to the responses even if they believe they know exactly the solution that meets that client’s needs. Average salespeople may recognize early buying signals and present their solution without having “walked” with their clients along the path of discovery.
Sales Leaders Must Identify and Help Change Bad Habits
Next, our conversation turned towards sales leadership and coaching. We asked Rob what he sees as the sales manager’s role in coaching. Rob responded,
“When you have bad habits that your salespeople have picked up, that is the sales leader’s job to identify and to make the necessary changes.”
Many executives have told us this very same thing. We often hear that the role of the front line sales manager should be to effectively coach, train, and develop their salespeople. We have conducted a lot of research into how front line sales managers are coaching and what we found was that the one coaching style that really seems to move the needle in terms of skill level and sales fluency involves deliberate practice that focuses heavily on repetition and rehearsal.
We asked Rob how much of this type of practice he feels salespeople are getting. Rob commented,
“Regardless of what people will tell you practice is not being done.”
We have observed in our findings that Rob is likely correct. By and large, most of the practice salespeople seem to get consistently is during live interactions with their potential clients. Sales is a lot like learning to play a sport, it takes deliberate and intentional practice to hone your skills so you can perform when the pressure is on. An athlete that only practices on the field during game time is not likely to perform well under pressure. Similarly a salesperson who only practices in front of their clients during sales interactions is not likely to reach the highest levels of performance.
Make yourself Better Today Than You Were Yesterday
As our interview concluded we asked Rob what his one piece of advice for sales professionals would be and he said,
“You have to do something today to make you better than you were yesterday.”
A commitment to continued growth and development will serve any salesperson well. The best salespeople pair this dedication to learning with passion and discipline to achieve stand out results.
Thanks to Rob for the interview and solid tips on how to generate stronger sales teams!
For videos on how to increase sales utilizing the SalesGym’s “Compete Selling” approaches, check out our SalesGym YouTube Channel!
SalesGym is a research, consulting, and training company that works with and learns from sales teams all over the world and has refined a coaching and training process that trains sales teams the way elite athletes are trained. More insights and articles from us can be found on our RESOURCES PAGE.
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