I have found that a great place to start building credibility authority with each of your people is with a pipeline check. Since the pipeline is the conduit from which all sales blessings flow, it warrants a periodic cleansing. Starting here provides an opportunity to use the same skills and techniques you want them to use in selling, while at the same time building your own credibility in their eyes.
To make the most of a management opportunity, you must not only be a manager; you must also be a leader.
The pipeline check can begin with a simple, “let’s take a look at your pipeline,” or “how ’bout bringing me up to speed on your pipeline.” As they respond, your goal should be to evaluate the legitimacy of each name they have in the pipeline and, likewise, help them see the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the prospect status. This is a simple procedure. Your use of the same “process type” questions used in the sales context, many of which begin with the word “How,” force an analysis of each situation upon the sales professional. “How did this person come to be a prospect?” you might ask. If the response does not show clearly that the person is a true prospect, you might follow with, “How did you determine that they are a prospect?” The way the question is phrased and the tone should be inquisitive, not confrontational. The words indicate a presupposition that the named individual is a prospect, until shown otherwise.
What is it that will indicate whether or not the name should be in your salesperson’s prospect pipeline? The long-held idea that a person who can “fog a mirror and has money” is a prospect is only partially true. A person is only a prospect for the sales professional who has been able to show the individual that they have a problem that can be solved by that sales individual. If that has not been accomplished, this person may be a prospect for someone else, but they remain only a suspect for you. Whether a person is a prospect or not is determined by how they see you, not how you see them. Only if they see you as credible (there’s that word again) and knowledgeable, see a need that you have helped them realize or define, and believe that you can help them meet that need, only then are they a legitimate prospect for you. If, on the other hand, they have a need that you haven’t identified, or you have identified a problem but you have not shown them you can solve it, or at least given them the belief that you will develop a solution for them, then they are not your prospect… yet.image credit