ACTG Sales Management Blog

Sales & Sales Management Expertise Blog  

Jeni Wehrmeyer

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5 Keys to a Better Banking Sales Training Approach

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Thu, Aug 26, 2021
In this blog, we discuss the 5 keys to choosing and implementing a better banking sales training program.
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We talk to hundreds of community banks a month about their growth plans and how they are doing against their target production goals. Typically, they fall into one of two cultural categories: Service or Selling. We know right away if a bank CEO is OK with the concept of their people selling. They expect their managers to lead sales, they have sales metrics in place and they are comfortable with the idea of developing the sales skills of their frontline people. They are in the community selling the bank themselves every day. They recognize that their relationship managers or lenders or business development people’s primary responsibility is selling. Sometimes that selling is by developing additional relationships with a current client but it also includes bringing in new client names and companies. It always involves putting the client’s needs, goals and preferences first. These bank CEOs must grow their banks and they know that a banking sales training approach will help them by putting a structure in place for all to follow.

Here are 5 things to consider if your bank is thinking about a more effective banking sales training approach:

  1. Do some soul searching. Does your bank really need to know the answers to questions like; What are our current sales capabilities? How motivated are our salespeople and how are they motivated? Can we generate more business? Can we be better at reaching actual decision-makers? Can we shorten our sales cycle? Can we sell more consultatively? If so, time to look for a better banking sales training approach. Check out these 19 questions to help.
  2. It is hard to fix something you cannot see. In order to have a more effective banking sales training approach, you will need to take a peek beneath the hood, meaning that you must evaluate your sales team, managers, and salespeople. We utilize the #1 sales assessment in the world with our clients which provides them with information about the Will to Sell (and Manage), Sales DNA, and Sales Competencies of their people. You must have an X-ray to develop the treatment plan. Your evaluation should provide a clear picture of who to train, strengths and weaknesses, what priority areas of selling and sales management.
  3. Start your banking sales training development plan with your Management team and put consistent sales management practices, sales systems, and processes in place. We recommend a 4-pillar Sales Managed Environment® program that will make your managers better at setting standards, motivating their sales team, coaching, and upgrading/recruiting. Get your sales leaders a few steps ahead of the sales team and then implement a consistent sales process for all your team to follow. This should complement and align with your CRM so that everyone is evaluated on a consistent approach and your deals can follow a stage-based process. We know from working with thousands of salespeople that “elite” salespeople always have a consistent selling approach.
  4. People learn in different ways so make sure that your banking sales training program offers an integrated learning path with in-person, online modules, live virtual, video, online resources, and even phone coaching to talk about actual deals in the pipeline.
  5. Keep an eye on progress because as the saying goes, you must inspect what you expect. We also call this the shadow of the leader. The banks that are successfully implementing a banking sales training approach are led by CEOs and sales execs who have a passion for growing and inspect sales behaviors and metrics regularly and celebrate the wins. No one can hide from the expectation that they must help grow the bank.

Learn More About Our  Bank Sales Training Approach

Topics: banking sales training, professional sales training, advanced sales training, customized sales training

Coaching Sales Behaviors

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Thu, Aug 12, 2021

Coaching has become the single most important competency for sales managers to learn and optimally, they should spend 50% of their time coaching their salespeople. It is also the single most difficult sales management competency to learn and master.

In this post, we will review the skills that contribute to sales coaching effectiveness and introduce a sales coaching process any sales manager can implement immediately to coach sales behaviors.

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Sales Coaching Skills

The challenge for most sales managers or sales leaders is to have the ability to exhibit and execute these sales coaching skills of being an effective leader: Strong identity, self-assurance, credible authority, knowledge, and a foundational vision, mission, and goal orientation. Strong leaders do not need to be in the spotlight, do not act like they know it all, and ask questions instead of always providing answers.

There are assessments in the marketplace to help people identify if they have what it takes. We use Objective Management Group’s Sales Manager Evaluation. OMG identifies these specific sales coaching skills that a sales leader must master:

Screenshot (71)One of the most difficult skills for most sales managers to overcome is their need for approval from their salespeople. Coaching is different than managing and requires clear direction, discussion, examples, and even demonstration of what is expected of a salesperson. This can be hard for a manager, who also wants their team to like them. They may not want to come off as critical. Coaching sales behaviors is an art, not a science and a sales leader must be adept at asking, listening, and staying focused on developing salespeople to be their best.

Another skill of strong sales leaders is asking questions versus telling a salesperson what to do. In coaching sales behaviors, how you say something can be more important than what you say. Instead of saying “You should have asked your prospect about their current provider”, you could ask “What did you find out about their current provider?” Asking questions will allow salespeople to self-discover, which is the most effective learning mode.

It goes without saying that you must coach to a sales process. If there is not an established stage-based sales process for qualifying and closing prospects, how can a sales manager coach sales behaviors?

Coaching Sales Behaviors with a Sales Coaching Process

It is important that sales managers set aside specific time for intentional coaching, not just coaching to a specific deal or proposal. Consider putting time on the calendar weekly for 1-on-1 coaching with salespeople that can be used to prepare for an upcoming call or debrief after a recent sales call. But you must follow a sales coaching process. Here is the approach we recommend and use with our clients below. All of these steps can be done remotely, using virtual tools like Zoom so no excuses!

Gaining insight is all about what is happening in the field on a sales call or what is not happening. You can gain insight firsthand by observing a call or gather it from huddle data where you review sales behaviors and results. For example, how many calls and appointments are your salespeople supposed to make, and what were their results in a certain timeframe? Then, most importantly, what behaviors did your salespeople exhibit to get those results and if not to goal, how will they change their sales behaviors? We recommend the coach ask their salespeople “What would you do differently if you could not use that as an excuse?”

Giving Feedback is when coaching sales behaviors gets more difficult. Here are a few tips:

  • Makes sure feedback is timely and specific
  • Review the Good, Bad & Ugly (find something good to point out)
  • Ask questions to help them self-discover
  • Gain agreement on the real problem

Demonstration of the sales behaviors you want and expect can be hard for many sales leaders because they may not have come out of a sales role but they can demonstrate the questions needed to be asked and the sales approach that should be followed. We call this the Shadow of the Leader. To effectively coach sales behaviors sales leaders must identify the gaps, demonstrate the desired behavior and instruct on the critical steps.

Roleplay is never anyone’s favorite activity but once the sales manager has demonstrated the sales behavior, it is important to have the salesperson role play. Don’t call it role play, just name it a practice session but make sure they do it. Muscle memory needs repetition!

Action Plan is putting the learning into action. Is the salesperson going to call the prospect back and ask those additional questions about their current provider? Make certain to identify specific actions that will take place, set a follow-up to discuss the outcomes, inspect, then coach their sales behaviors again. And don’t forget to celebrate the success and address the failures.

Coaching sale behaviors is an all-the-time effort. Are you devoting 50% of your time to developing your team?

 

Download our Free  9 Keys to Successful Coaching eBook

Topics: sales coaching skills, coaching sales behaviors, sales coaching process

Cold Calling Strategies with a Warm Approach

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Thu, Jul 29, 2021

The best cold calling strategies involve doing the work necessary to warm your cold calls up.

In this blog, we discuss the top 5 cold calling sales tips that you can implement into your sales process today.

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I like my house cold at night and my wine slightly chilled, but I don’t like cold calls. Who does? But it must be done. We must make chilly outreaches, and they can still be productive (and even fun). In this article, we’ll cover ways to stay positive and attract more sales with our cold calling strategies.

Cold Calling Sales Tip #1: Warm It Up!
First, don’t let the cold stop you! All salespeople have the job of prospecting, finding new potential clients that they can help. Therein lies the cold call sales tip #1. Identify, find, and reach out only to those you know you can help, and then it won’t be so cold. I call on associations and groups where our sales development experts can help their members with sales leadership strategies and tools. I make cold calls on those directors in charge of events and education. I start with their website and find out what events they are working on that align with what we do. I personalize every communication (warming it up) to their association and event and ask the question – could we be a resource for you? I provide examples of how we have helped other associations with similar events. l also look for connections we have to that association. Who could reach out and introduce us as a trusted resource?

Cold Calling Sales Tip #2: Find Advocates
So that is cold call sales tip #2 – find out who can put a good word in for you. You may find the prospect, but maybe your current client or someone you used to do business with can get that door opened more quickly. That is a cold calling strategy that top performers utilize daily – they have their advocates open the door and build trust for them. When you find your next prospect, research them, make sure you can help them, and find someone who can put a word out in your favor – and don’t forget to thank your advocates.

Cold Calling Sales Tip #3: Enjoy the Small Victories
Cold calling sales tip #3 is celebrating when you get a response. I get quite ditsy with delight when I hear back from one of my associations that they are interested in talking further or want to hire us for a workshop. Celebrate because, as all salespeople know, you send out 20 personalized communications and you may hear back from 2-3, or at least that is my hit ratio. So, you must celebrate when someone responds and sees your value.

Hop on that lead with no delay, which goes right into our next tip.

Cold Calling Sales Tip #4: Move Fast & Be a Problem Solver
Tip #4 is that leads are highly perishable. If you receive a lead, perhaps from your website or an introduction, you must quickly help them solve their problems and answer any questions or concerns they may have. By responding quickly to your leads, it creates a friendly environment where trust can be built and business can be won.

But to win business, you also need to be quick and agile in delivering follow-ups. Your prospects have plenty of other things going on in their day, much like yours. Striking while the iron is hot and providing a quick follow-up can keep you top of mind and close more sales.

Cold Calling Sales Tip #5: Nurture
Then nurture – cold calling sales tip #5. Nurturing comes naturally when you care, and it matters. When you are confident in what you have to offer and are eager to respond, provide more information, customize your delivery, and set a follow-up meeting. Your end goal is to make your prospect’s life easier so that you can wow them, and then they might think of you first next time they need your similar product or service.

In summary, the best cold calling strategies involve doing the work necessary to warm your cold calls up. It truly is a numbers game, but there are people out there who need what you are selling, and it is your job to go find them. Put in the work, celebrate the small victories, follow up quickly and have some fun along the way!

Need Help?  Check Out Our  Sales Growth Coaching Program!

Topics: Cold Calling, sales tips, cold calling strategies, cold calling sales tips

Increase Your 2020 Sales With These 9 Sales Productivity Tools

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Fri, Feb 14, 2020

It's a new year and we have some new content to share with you here at Anthony Cole Training Group.  If you're looking to increase sales this year and beyond, then you're in the right place!

These 9 Sales Productivity Tools are inspired by practices and systems that improve players and performance.  Selling is a competition, and, as in football, the right team, perfect practice, and planning wins the game and the sale. 

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Download our newest Whitepaper "9 Tools to Increase Sales in 2020" below:

Download "9 Tools to Increase Sales" Whitepaper

Some of these 9 Productivity Tools include:

Practice Schedule- Set a practice schedule for your salespeople to practice sales skills: asking for introductions, qualifying a prospect, maximizing the initial call, etc.

Sales Probability Scorecard- This scorecard is like the yard markers on a football field.  These markers tell you how many yards you must go to score and how many yards you must protect to keep from being scored upon.

Sales Huddles- Just like in football, huddles are a communication system that provide coaches with real-time information so you can make real-time decisions.

Personal Goal Setting to Business Plan- Set goals prior to each fiscal year based upon past year's performance, the competition, experience and sales talent of your team.

Download your copy below!

https://blog.anthonycoletraining.com/increase-sales-2020

Topics: Sales Training, Sales Coaching, increase sales, hire better salespeople, Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis, sales productivity tools, sales effectiveness training, banking sales training, corporate sales training, online sales training, hire better people, train the trainer, driving sales growth 2020, 5 keys to sales coaching, online sales management training, sales training workshops, sales training seminars

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    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.

     

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