Sales & Sales Management Expertise

Sales Training Lessons - Generating More Sales, "Problem" People & The ONE Thing

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I conducted a sales training session yesterday for Central Investment Advisors.They are the investment division for Central Bank which is based in Jefferson City, Mo. We have been conducting 2 to 3 live sessions a year for 3 years now and, within our deliverable, I work with the Sales Manager, conduct online coaching sessions and provide access to our online learning library.

Yesterday, we were focusing on three critical functions for generating more sales:

  1. Executing a more consistent sales process – So many sales people, regardless of tenure, fail to have or execute a sales process. They have one, but it changes from opportunity to opportunity, day to day, week to week. As a result, gathering any business intelligences is impossible and therefore conducting any intentional coaching to improve skills or change behaviors is prohibited because there isn’t a baseline of performance to measure against.
  2. More at bats – Everything starts with getting more people to talk to and engaging those people in important conversations. Our subject matter was – Getting Introductions (Audio postcard).
  3. Positioning a Solution to Get a Decision (sample online workshop) – Even with all the training done on how to qualify prospects and how to present solutions, there is very little done in the way of positioning the close to get a decision. And, contrary to what would seem to be logical, it isn’t about the sales person telling the prospect, “This is what we do next.” Instead, it’s a matter of continuing to ask questions to find out how the prospect wants to proceed, what they have to see or hear that will allow them to make an intelligent decision, and then gaining agreement on making a decision once you deliver what they say they have to have.

We covered a lot of ground, made them role play, made them analyze their current approach and determine what was the one thing they really needed to address to improve the production, productivity and/or effectiveness. I asked them to write down that one thing so that they could take all the information and point it at just one area of improvement instead of trying to eat the whole elephant at once.

When we finished, I asked everyone to review their notes and identify the one thing they got from the session that will help them with the one thing they identified in the beginning of our workshop. The following are just some of the answers of what we all took away from our 3 hours together:

  • Do a better job of executing my ideal week – time blocking
  • Patience
  • Training is something we always need to do
  • Do a better job of asking better questions
  • When I role play/practice, I must practice how I have to perform when it really matters
  • Identify those people I really want to work with and make sure that, when I ask for referrals, I’m getting introduced to those type of people
  • Ask the question – “Is this a want to fix or have to fix problem?”
  • Make getting introductions part of my sales process
  • Have a process and follow the process
  • Make sure that I reach out to my peers and ask for help in preparing for larger sales opportunities
  • Conduct a “pre-flight checklist” prior to going out on a call or presenting a solution.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected reactions, answers and questions of the prospect.

As I said, this is just a sampling of the lessons from our session. We had close to 30 people in the room and many of those lessons identified were repeated by others. What is always fascinating to me is the variety of answers I get. We focused on just 3 things yesterday, I thought we had just 3 lessons... but the list here includes 11 take-a-ways.

The other thing that I find consistently fascinating is that normally the manager or organizer of the meeting warns me about "problem" people in the group that may not respond because of their tenure. What ALWAYS happens is that some of those tenured, experienced, "problem" people are the ones that learn the most, get the most, change the most and, eventually, produce the most. I think there is a correlation between their willingness to learn and their position in the stack ranking – they are normally the ones to the right of the median line in the bell curve.

My ask of you is this – Review the three topics covered, review the lessons learned and answer the question: “What’s the one thing I could do better?”

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