I was in Austin, Texas for a wedding last weekend. Austin’s tag line is Keep Austin Weird, gotta love that.  The city is growing quickly with exciting energy brought about by tech companies relocating to Austin, lots of outside activities, and a wide variety of interesting restaurants and bars.

As we looked for a restaurant one night at 7 pm, our experience made me realize that the hospitality staff and salespeople have trouble communicating and cannot seem to get out of their own way for similar reasons.   

 

Restaurants with 30% of their tables empty have a 45-minute wait and we know it’s because the shutdown caused a labor shortage in the hospitality industry. Hungry guests who show up at the host stand and see empty tables, don’t always make the connection. If the host acknowledged the empty tables, prospective dinners would be informed and probably more willing to wait.

 

My wife I wandered down the street and found a restaurant with empty tables and someone immediately said, “find your favorite spot, and we will be right with you”.  When the waiter showed up, he welcomed us, and immediately told us he and Kim had to cover 40 tables, asked for patience, and promised a great meal. Boom! Our expectations were set. He created empathy for the situation and paved the way for a big tip because of his effective communication—no assumptions required. Head to Cru Food & Wine Bar next time you are in Austin.

 

Salespeople have to do a better job of setting expectations, and managing their calls.  Top-tier salespeople stay out of their own way.  When salespeople get in their own way is largely due to their Sales DNA. Think of Sales DNA as what they have going on between their ears, some of their beliefs, and self-talk.  The Sales DNA is formally defined here

Longing for approval from their customers and prospects takes up real estate between the ears of lower-tier salespeople.  As Humans, we want to be part of a group, family, or tribe so this approval is understandable.  As salespeople, the need to be liked or even loved is a weakness and must be compartmentalized and separate from their role as a salesperson. 

 

Salespeople need to be likable and have the ability to build trust.

 

 

So What?

The waiter at the wine bar in Austin, shared the facts with us that are not what a typical customer wants to hear…two servers having 40 tables was not our problem.  He took a risk for the sake of transparency and created a better experience for all.  For salespeople, it’s the equivalent of telling a prospect their prices are higher than a competitor or pushing back on decision criteria because it lacks a full evaluation of the real issue. 

If your salespeople cannot deal with uncomfortable situations because they need the customer to like them, they are unlikely to ask enough questions, or the right kinds of questions, to handle objections.  These salespeople will rarely create value or help a prospect find a compelling reason to buy from your company. 

 

 

 

Fresh Ideas

Before you spend resources on sales training, find out where the sales team’s strengths and weaknesses are.  Sales training often fails because it does not address how to think about sales. 

 

Gathering the data is painless.  You might be disappointed in the findings, but you will have the data to make decisions to reach your goals. 

I cannot always help, but I am willing to invest 30-minutes so we can ask each other some questions.  Plus, I’ll send you a bag of amazing coffee as my gift. 

Curious?  Grab time convenient for you here.  Be sure to leave your mailing address so my team can send coffee.