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How to Build an Effective Sales Team: An Interview with Adam Shaivitz


All entrepreneurs must be well-versed in sales.

We are always selling: Selling to employees as well as customers, investors as well as partners, etc. And those who excel at selling have a major competitive advantage.

To make sure that both you and I are in fact not only great at selling, but building an effective sales team, I recently interviewed sales whiz Adam Shaivitz.

If you're not familiar with Adam, Adam is the co-author of a best-selling book on selling called “Selling is Everyone's Business: What it Takes to Create a Great Salesperson.” He is also a sales consultant with Accelerate Performance who has consulted for Google, ADP, Pimco, Morgan Stanley, and many others.

Adam conveyed tons of great information. Two points that I especially liked were the following:

1. Make sure that you are properly motivating and solving the problems of your buyers.

The best salespeople are problem solvers who are able to sell the benefits of their offerings tailored to one or more of the six basic fundamentals that all of us as humans want:

  • Desire for gain
  • Fear of loss
  • Security and protection
  • Comfort and convenience
  • Pride of ownership
  • Satisfaction of some emotion like love or hate or ego

Great sales people understand which of these six motivators are most important to their prospects, and sell into them.

2. Spending time with your best sales performers.

Adam told us that too many business owners neglect their top sales performers. Rather, they tend to focus on improving their lowest performers.

There are two problems with this approach. First, working with and improving the performance of your best sales performers by only 10% may be easier and more beneficial than improving the performance of your lower sales performers by 25%. Secondly, your top sales performers are the ones that will be targeted by headhunters and other firms, and you can't afford to lose them.

A few of the other areas we covered were:

  • The keys to building a successful sales team
  • Adam's favorite ways to motivate a sales team
  • At what point can the entrepreneur or founder still run the sales organization and at what point should they bring in a dedicated sales manager
  • How to provide feedback, motivation, and inspiration for team members
  • How to transfer the skills of top performers to everyone else in the organization
  • How to create an environment that encourages improvement and performance

The full interview is available for members of Growthink University

To listen to the first few minutes of the interview, please click the blue triangle in the player below.

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