Managerial Tip: How to Overcome Feelings of Inferiority in Your Salesmen
Since a salesman's activities can easily lead him into feeling inferior, you as sales manager must work vigorously to build a positive mental attitude in each of your employees. You must continually point out the strong characteristics in each salesman under you. And you must teach the salesman how to strengthen his weaknesses.
There is an offsetting action that can be suggested for a given weakness. Does the salesman have trouble remembering names? Introduce him to a good book on improving memory, or suggest that he can attend a class on the subject. Does he have difficulty thinking on his feet when a prospect starts to throw roadblocks in the path to a possible sale? Tell him inspiring stories about salesmen who were able to weather the challenges. Does he have trouble planning his work or in following through? Set up rigid controls so that can review his daily plans and follow-through.
There is a formula to develop self-confidence: make the offsetting action a habit. If a salesman practices an action regularly, he will gain self-confidence in the specific area to which the action is required. Suppose, for example, he has only a high school education and he is selling to engineers. He gets a feeling of inadequacy because he is always dealing with people who have a better education than his own.
Thus, you might suggest that the salesman subscribe to several trade magazines and read them regularly. In addition, you might suggest enrolling in night school, or taking a correspondence course to boost his knowledge, morale and confidence.
As a result of such activities, the salesman will soon discover that he is as well or even better informed than the engineers with whom he deals. He will find that he can understand their concerns and the problems they face. This will gradually boost his attitude and better his performance.
Successful people have the ability to do their work well, and they apply themselves because they are interested. If one were to choose between ability and interest, interest is probably more important -- for interest overcomes lethargy, boredom, and other negative feelings that sap an able person's willingness to succeed.
One way to stir up a salesman's interests is to identify his work in terms of his wants and needs. If he can imagine future satisfactions that will be garnered by plunging into his selling effort, he will get more interested and involved. Remember, as the leader of a sales group, you are the key motivator. Help your staff help themselves and all of you will be reaping vast benefits.