Is your sales team reactive or proactive? A proactive salesperson constantly looks for new opportunities, anticipating the needs of a potential client even before they realize they have them.
In contrast, a reactive salesperson waits for the client to make the first move, hoping they’ll come forward with a need.
While it may seem efficient to adopt a reactive stance, avoiding the perceived hassle of cold calls, outreach emails, or strategic planning, it can leave a salesperson always playing catch-up. There’s this common tale of sales reps missing great opportunities because they were busy chasing ones that seemed ‘easier’ but were less fruitful.
Let’s consider the pack. A sales rep waiting for the next big deal or that potential client’s call lands somewhere in the middle on the performance chart. Sure, they might strike gold sometimes, but it’s inconsistent. They may bag a major client one month but struggle the next three. And yet, they tend to remember only their successes, giving themselves titles like “Top Closer.” Let’s nickname them Mr. Quick. Mr. Quick is also the type most likely to switch companies frequently, believing their skills are universally applicable and not placing value on nurturing client relationships.
Now, many sales reps might observe Mr. Quick’s sporadic successes and try to emulate them, thinking it’s the right approach. This group, following the reactive model, simply waits for clients to show interest.
But here’s the thing about clients who come forward on their own: They’re well-researched and informed. They’ve checked out competitors, they’re aware of the market rate, and they’re prepared to negotiate hard. In essence, they’re seeking the best deal.
On the other hand, clients approached through proactive methods haven’t done all this legwork. They might have considered a need but haven’t acted on it. By reaching out to them, you simplify their decision-making process and position your solution as the best fit. They’re less likely to shop around and more likely to make a decision quickly.
Let’s look at your sales team divisions:
Group One: The experienced pro. This person has a strong client base, built over years. They mostly work with repeat clients and referrals, understanding the value of lasting relationships.
Group Two: The steady performer. Always consistent, they have a set number they aim for, and they hit it every month. They’re loyal to the company because they’ve found their comfortable rhythm.
Group Three: The newcomers. They don’t have a built-up client base and rely heavily on outbound strategies. They’re trying every method, from cold calls to networking, which means they’re being proactive by default. They’re committed because they know they have a lot to learn.
Group Four: The misfits. I believe, teach and confess that everyone can learn to sell. Distinguish that from everyone will learn to sell. This group; the misfits, won’t learn to sell. They might be resistant to training, fearful of calls, or lack the necessary drive. Their time with the company might be limited.
Think about this: If the newcomers, with their proactive approach, continue to improve their skills and nurture client relationships, they could soon top the performance charts. And if someone like Mr. Quick decided to be proactive, leveraging their natural skills, they could be unstoppable.
So, the lesson is clear: Encourage your sales team to be proactive, to anticipate, and to lead. In time, you’ll foster a high-performing, loyal sales team that values relationships and doesn’t rely solely on price-driven deals.
The customer is ready to buy. He needs you to help him believe.