Sales Effectiveness Blog Professional Services Blog

Slow Down to Speed Up Sales

by Christopher Wallace /

Walking_Signal.pngTwo months are in the books and companies are already starting to look for ways to speed up their sales production for the rest of the year. Maybe Q1 isn’t shaping up so well. Maybe the year started strong, but the mountain in future months is steep and you want to build up a cushion.

Time to come up with some ideas to rally the troops, right?!



Companies are conditioning their sales teams to expect that management will start to get nervous and start abandoning the plans they set at the beginning of the year. They don’t even have time to get good at executing the plan before the panic begins.

For example, in a recent sales meeting with a client, I heard a 35-year sales veteran at the company say, “This all sounds good. It sounds similar to the seven other programs we have done over the years. Can we just stick with this one?”

Companies expect their salespeople to manage a lot of priorities, all with the hope that things will go faster. However, it is having the opposite effect. Salespeople spend all their time adjusting to the latest shiny object and it eats into their productivity. The attempts to go faster are slowing organizations down.

Rather than continue this cycle, consider the opposite approach. What if you slow down? What if you allow your salespeople some time to build up momentum rather than trying to force instant results?

In a previous article, we featured insights from NBA skills trainer, Rob McClanaghan. One of his lessons for his impressive client roster is the concept of “going slow to go fast.” Rob teaches players how patience and a slower pace can allow them to better identify opportunities and avoid mistakes. By slowing the players down, Rob gets them focused on fundamentals. The focus on fundamentals put players in a position where they are better prepared to…ACCELERATE!

This same concept applies to sales management. The following are three ways leaders can put this concept into practice:

1) Wait – Don’t panic. Patience now will allow salespeople to focus on executing, not adjusting.

2) Ask – Before assuming what the salespeople need in order to go faster, simply ask how they are doing executing their plan. Find out where the fundamentals could be improved to put them on a better path.

3) Tweak – Resist the urge to make directional shifts. Sales leaders should always be looking for ways to improve their team’s ability to deliver, but too many big changes create confusion and frustration. Agree on small, simple ways to create momentum.

There is constant pressure on sales leaders to perform. While it is tempting to find ways to go faster, it is important to recognize the effect it can have on your team. Stopping or even taking a step back can be exactly what your team needs to speed up in the future. It can be hard, but good things happen when you trust the process.

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