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Wednesday 22 October 2014
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How to unlock sales performance

Recruitment directors have always wondered why one salesperson gets great results while others fail to hit the mark.
Many salespeople have limiting beliefs about their ability and income potential. These limiting beliefs (in most cases learned many years ago) not only dictate the person’s performance now, but also determines their success in the future.

In a recent survey of 2,663 organisations by Nightingale Conant, a producer and publisher of personal development products, more than two-fifths of sales directors said their staff were performing below expectations.
Most recruiters interviewed claimed they formed their attitudes and beliefs from reading their school reports: ‘could do better’ ‘bright but lazy’ ‘talks too much’ ‘easily distracted’, and so on.

Like everyone, recruiters hold many limiting beliefs about themselves, clients, market, competition, rates, economy – beliefs that can have an enormous impact, either positive or negative, on their sales performance.
While most recruitment bosses understand the concept of managing activity levels, skills development and product knowledge, only the top-performing sales directors understand the importance of the right mindset. Yet far too many feel powerless to help their staff turn their negative beliefs into positive ones.

Recently, a financial search and selection client that I spoke to wanted to know why certain staff consistently under-performed and never over-performed. Every month its consultants got close and nearly hit their target, but never actually reached it. When questioned, these staff did not believe they could hit their targets.

Following some coaching around this single belief, four of the five staff are now exceeding targets every month because they now ‘believe’ it is possible.
When recruitment consultants consistently under-perform it can be very frustrating for their managers. To understand why this happens one has to look closer at the underlying feelings and beliefs of the staff.

As typical with most salespeople, recruiters have a whole bunch of beliefs about what is possible for them, and skills training will always miss the mark if there is an underlying emotional block or limiting belief that doesn’t support training.
I encourage recruiters to ask their consultants a simple question to identify any limiting ways of thinking and ultimately what determines their success. For example: ‘Do you believe you can hit your target consistently every month?’
If the answer is no, the belief that ‘you can’t hit target every month’ will determine your success or current lack of it.
The brain will unconsciously sabotage behaviour to under-perform and miss a target every month. In performance terms, the brain’s job is to simply deliver the belief, whatever it is.

If we change the belief to ‘I believe I can consistently hit my target every month’, the brain stops sabotaging and allows the individual to succeed.
So, how do you change consultant beliefs quickly?

Much has been happening in the field of performance psychology to boost performance in recent times. One method is the use of emotional freedom techniques (EFT) techniques which cut the time necessary for emotional change. EFT is a simple technique that combines focused thought with gentle fingertip tapping on key acupressure points.

I use EFT to remove the emotional blocks or limiting beliefs. A recent success story was with the director of a well-known recruitment business who was losing good sales staff. He thought that he was a control freak and believed that this behaviour was causing his staff to leave.

We removed the limiting belief that he was a controlling figure, and instead installed a new belief that he enjoyed empowering others and should trust his judgement every time.
The director no longer sits in the middle of the sales floor watching everyone and has stepped back and allowed his staff to grow and develop. Promotions have been made and staff now feel they contribute more, and as a result sales have grown.

Fears of cold calling/ prospecting and presenting/ public speaking seriously hold back growth. But, developed through coaching, new empowering beliefs increase productivity, especially in the sales function.

David Childerley
Performance coach