Lissa Versteegh joined Georgia Sales Development, Inc. as a full partner in 2004 after having used the Sandler Selling System in corporate America for years. Her company helps business owners and executives find ways to maximize their sales efficiency one step at a time through people, processes and planning.
She has a degree in psychology from the University of Georgia.
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Lissa Versteegh has accomplished what most professional women dream of—operating a successful company, and being an active wife and mother. She walked away from a thriving corporate career wanting balance between her professional and personal life. “I was trying to raise a family in the structure of corporate America—finding myself on an airplane 3 days a week,” Lissa started. “I left that position to partner with the man who founded Sander Training 20 years ago. Ten years ago I bought him out.”
While pleased with the move from regimented corporate America to entrepreneurship, Lissa recalled it came with challenges. “The biggest challenge was shifting focus. When you are in an entrepreneurial situation, you’re the boss. You have to set priorities, your course, and manage yourself, “she said.
During a phone interview from her Georgia-based office, Lissa reshaped our perspectives on building a solid sales team.
On Recruiting, Hiring and Onboarding A Sales Team
When a startup is building a sales team, Lissa said most make a common mistake. “Startups rush to hire what they believe are good sales people without taking the time to write a job description, outline expectations, and design metrics to hold sales people accountable,” she said.
Lisa posited that you interview sales candidates to those expectations. It’s tough to manage someone if you have no job description or expectations. Take the time to do foundational work so that you hire talented, committed people, she said.
On Creating a System for Selling
There must be a system for selling; a methodology and metrics to track the activities of sales people to hold them accountable.
What are your sales goals? Give your sales people a roadmap—they are expected to make this many calls, and this many appointments and presentations. Goals allow you to track performance and make needed corrections.
That’s why, Lissa said, “You shouldn’t use a revenue goal. If you use a revenue goal, you don’t learn about changes that need to be made until it’s too late.”
On Understanding Salespeople Individually
Management needs to be equipped to understand each salesperson individually because every person has goals, dreams, and aspirations. “Get the most out of people by understanding what motivates them,” she said.
Retention and motivation saves money and time.
On Convincing Customers Not to Shop on Price Alone
Sandler Training teaches that sales people are consultants. Don’t convince a customer, but rather, help a customer discover a need or problem that your product or service can solve. “When you help prospects discover problems they have that you can solve, they learn the value of that product or service. Price is secondary,” she said.
When asked if it is better to mention price during the pitch, or close the deal with the price, Lissa was adamant, “A customer’s problems, challenges, budget, time, resources and decision making should be discussed before you show up to discuss the solution,” she said. “Then they’ve already shared what they are willing to invest.”
On Handling Stalls and Objections
There’s something more behind a prospect’s stall or push back. Lissa believes it’s more effective to fall back and use questioning techniques to understand a prospect’s objections. If the customer says the price is too high, ask compared to what. Ask about their past experience.
Stay out of defensive posture. Help your prospect understand the rejection is unfounded, or disqualify. “And there are prospects who should be disqualified,” she said.
As Lissa advised, a successful sales force is based on recruiting, methodology, metrics, and understanding what motivates your individual sales professionals. Thank you, Lissa, for taking the time to share your advice with us.