Team Selling: Is It Worth It?

Team selling is a very powerful tool when orchestrated correctly.

Unfortunately, more often than not, team selling can backfire and cause sales to be lost, rather than won. It appears that adding each additional person to the sales team increases exponentially the chances of the sales call going south.

There are several vital advantages of working as a team when attempting to bring in a new customer or client, or to sell additional business to a client that simply cannot be accomplished when a partner goes on a sales meeting by him or herself.

But there are many risks of team selling that one must be aware of to avoid losing business; these often overshadow the advantages and result in lost sales and bad impressions. Most owners, sales managers and partners do not know what these dangers are, and as a result continue to make the same team selling mistakes over and over.

Let’s take a look at some of the rewards of team selling and some of the pratfalls. Then you might be better able to quantify the loss potential of your team and correct it.
Some Advantages of Team Selling

 "Two Heads Are..."

Having two (or more) people on a sales call increases the chances of asking the important questions that need to be asked to draw the prospective customer's needs out.

 It’s a Powerful Learning Opportunity

Team selling allows the members to plan, execute and then review the sales interview afterwards and discover what worked and didn't work for future reference.

 It Introduces the Players

Bringing with the key people who would interact with the future client can be a powerful sales tool. If the customer likes the people she will be working with, a good portion of the sale is already made.

Dangers of Team Selling

There are several hazards of team selling that one must be aware of to avoid losing business that often overshadow the advantages and result in lost sales and bad impressions.

▪ Confusion and Loss of Credibility

How do you think prospective customers feel when they see the people selling them step over each other's sentences?

Ever have someone contradict you in front of a customer or client?

Salespeople and professionals must be perceived as effective and organized. A confusing sales call always leads to lost business opportunities.

▪ Overwhelm

Pretend you're the buyer. How would you feel if a company showed up with 19 people on a sales call?

Don't laugh; it's a true story.

Very often companies think the more, the merrier, applies to selling.

Don't do anything to create fear or overwhelm on the buyers' side of the table.
Some Proven Rules of Team Selling:

In order to work effectively and create the desired result, certain guidelines of team selling need to be followed. Here is a sample of the rules of the road as it applies to the art of team selling:

Rule #1: Select Team Members Carefully: Make sure there is a good chemistry amongst those going on the sales call. Don't bring with people who don't like each other. This lack of chemistry is unspoken and is always perceived by the prospective customer. Consider who the buyers are; it would be wise to match up your people with the client’s.

Rule #2: There must be an "Orchestrator": Someone should be the lead person on the interview. This person maintains order and controls the meeting, asks the majority of the questions and directs the customer's inquiries to the proper person for the best possible answers.

Rule #3: Answer Questions Succinctly: All too often sales interviews involving teams turn into "educational seminars" that not only can bore the prospective customers silly, but fail to allow enough time to get important concerns of yours answered by them.

Rule #4: Be Flexible As To Your Agenda: You may think the meeting should go one way, but the customer has another agenda in mind. Be adaptable enough to allow them to get their needs met and they will feel better about you as a provider of services.

Rule #5: Sell Something! Be committed to selling some piece of business every time you go out as a team, even if it is a sample order or a small study about a potential problem. Make your investment of time and effort pay off by getting your foot in the door for more business somehow.

Allan S. Boress, CPA, FCPA is the author of 12 published books on marketing, selling and managing the business development process for CPAs. He has consulted with over 500 professional firms and trained over 200,000 professionals since 1980. His “I-Hate-Selling” methodology is available at www.ihateselling.com

This blog

by Allan Boress, CPA - Based on over 25 years being a practitioner and consultant to the profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.

43671

Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.

76165

Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.

48634

Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

89349
Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.
20740

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".

55856

William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.

80888

Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (www.ubcc.com), a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.

25072

Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of TaxMama.com, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.

64334

Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

34532
Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com
102986
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.
26063

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

52777
Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
27961
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.
32278

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.

100763

The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.

33445

FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.

111769

Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.

61267

Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

39271
Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.
66634

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of Yellowbook-CPE.com a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.

92676

AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish AccountingWEB.co.uk share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.

53710