Selling is one of the most emotionally draining efforts in business. One’s self esteem is put to the test with each challenge, objection and rejection. But unlike most competition, sports or even war, sales is usually a fight that one person is making on their own. Worse yet, if one fails in a sales call or series of efforts, they not only face the initial rejection but the cross examination and second guessing from management and their peers.

So, given the pressures and solo nature of sales, is there anything that can be done to ameliorate the potential for self-doubt, emotional downturns and static sales strategies?

There is a strategy that many of the best companies strategically employ to foster continuous improvement in selling efforts, cross training, improved esprit de corps and enhanced credibility — team sales calls. Unlike the shadowing of a sales manager with their sales rep, team sales calls of two sales reps have a different dynamic. There are times where it is important to have management shadow sales reps, but this strategy is different.

What we have found is that when occasional team sales calls are scheduled between peers in the field there are several benefits: increased productivity, exchange of selling strategies and ideas, improved closing ratios and improved morale.

We find that tying current top objectives to the purpose of the team sales calls can often accelerate progress toward reaching those objectives. Whether it’s training and skills improvement, productivity improvement or just improving sales revenues, incorporating team sales calls can often help a company to reach its sales development goals faster. Here are a few applications of the concept.

Peer to Peer Evaluations & Training. Sales reps of all experience levels have areas that they could improve. Have your sales team create a list of areas that they would like to improve organizationally and in their own selling execution is a great start to beginning peer to peer evaluation and training. Create a check list and/or ratings sheet of areas that need to be evaluated. Alternate reps evaluating each other on team sales calls and require recommendations for improvement to each other. Professionals that evaluate others on their performance end up learning much for themselves.

Best of all, the recommendations tend to be more readily received because they’re from a peer and not from “just management who doesn’t really know what it’s like out there right now anyway,” as sales reps often claim.

Sales Blitzes. To address productivity that is lower than the potential or to penetrate a territory quickly that is new or has been somewhat ignored, it can be quite effective to get “all hands on deck” and put as many people into this target territory to make joint sales calls and see as many of the prospects and customers as possible. The teaming tends to ensure that everyone is productive and making as many calls as possible.

The result is proof and confidence that a much greater number of calls can be made. Also, it can be a bit of a shock treatment for the market/prospects who experience your company coming out in full force and thus makes quite a powerful impression.

King Calls. Involving presidents, GM’s and owners on calls can be miraculous at improving credibility, shortening sales cycles and bringing improvements to the sales efforts. Customers and reps appreciate the respect that is shown by occasionally having the top echelon out in the field. Many of the best CEOs make this a regular practice.

Determine where you could make team sales calls and watch sales improve.