ACTG Sales Management Blog

Sales & Sales Management Expertise Blog  

How Your Sales Coaching and Method Have a Direct Impact on Your Results

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Jun 02, 2023

Every organization has sales coaching and a sales method. What many companies either don’t know or unsure of is this: What direct impact does our sales coaching and sales method have on improving sales?

 I can’t answer that question, but I can with 100% certainty make this statement: Your current coaching and methods are perfectly designed for the results you got last week, last quarter, and last year. Furthermore, they perfectly designed to get you your future results.

This is also what I know to be 100% true: If there is something about your sales outcomes that do not meet expectations, then something has to change. As the saying goes, you can’t keep doing the same things and expect different outcomes.

Often companies turn to sales training and management coaching to help with sales outcome problems. The positive impact you might be planning for as a result of any sales training will only happen if...

  • You have the right people on the team today.
  • You replace under-performers with those “that are highly likely to succeed’ (click this link for free download of Sales Candidate Assessment with 92% predictability)
  • Your analysis of your sales systems and processes point you in a direction to implement and or fix required supporting sales systems and processes.
  • You have the sales management DNA required to be successful at coaching, performance management, recruiting, motivation and upgrading.
Finally, do your sales managers have the sales management competency skills required to change outcomes?

The approach to improving sales skills (using SMART Goals and SMARTER Data) and coaching must help your people adjust several skills:

  • Getting to Decision makers
  • Using storytelling, metaphors, and analogies to make a point about how a solution might help a prospect.
  • Outbound lead nurturing practices
  • Finally, no excuses for lack of EFFORT

Having what we call a Sales Managed Environment® helps companies understand what needs to be changed and how to change and adjust to the moving landscape of pricing, availability, and competitors looking to buy market share. It’s tough to be successful at overcoming challenges and obstacles if you don’t have a built-in process that includes Performance Management, Skills Coaching, Hiring, and 1 on 1 deliberate coaching specifically to improve skills and change behavior.

Bottom line, you cannot possibly control all that is going on around you and your people. But you can control the habitus they live in, the quality of coaching support they get, and the availability of improving skills.

Sell Better. Coach Better. Hire Better.

Topics: Sales Training, increase sales, hire better salespeople, consultative selling, consultative sales coaching, sales training courses, online sales training, hire better people, insurance sales training, train the trainer, driving sales growth 2020, sales training workshops, sales training seminars

I Would Sell More and Increase Sales If Only I Would....

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Fri, May 26, 2023

In this blog post, we present a question that may force you to look yourself in the mirror and ask, "What can I do better as a salesperson to increase my sales in 2023 and beyond?" 

This question, although difficult to admit and analyze, is necessary in your evolution as a salesperson.  


I've got a fill-in-the blank for you.  Are you ready?

"I Would Sell More If Only I Would __________"

What comes after would? We had the chance to ask that question around the country with a variety of companies both large and small, and it's interesting to hear how salespeople respond when you ask them to fill in this particular blank.

Sometimes, you'll hear excuses.

Sometimes, you'll hear valid reasons for why they're not selling as much as they would like or their manager would like. When we hear these valid reasons, we immediately think about the core steps in the sales process.  

First, you have to call on your prospects.  Then, you have to go see them.  You must set meetings, you must qualify prospects, deliver presentations, and of course, you have to win your fair share. 

If you're not where you want to be in 2023, ask yourself,

  1. Why are you there?
  2. How long have you been there?
  3. Are you fully committed to getting back on track?
  4. What's going to be required to get back on track?
  5. Do you have to get there?
  6. What happens if you don't?
  7. What is the problem costing you?
  8. Do you have to fix it?

If you know anything about our organization, you know that is how we encourage the unveiling of the sales process. 

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Asking your prospects questions like:

  • What is going on?
  • What do you have to fix this problem?
  • How long has it been a problem?
  • What have you done to try and fix it?
  • Do you have to fix it?
  • What happens if you don't fix it?
  • What's this problem costing you? 

All of that fits into one of two categories: Excuses or reasons

Just remember as you answer the question, "I could sell more if only I could ____."  If your answer is an excuse...

"Excuses are the nails used to build houses of failure."

Now go out there and get it done!

To learn more about our organization and services, click the link below: 

Sell Better. Coach Better. Hire Better.

Topics: Sales Training, increase sales, hire better salespeople, consultative selling, consultative sales coaching, sales training courses, online sales training, hire better people, insurance sales training, train the trainer, driving sales growth 2020, sales training workshops, sales training seminars

5 Proven Tips That Can Increase Virtual Sales

Posted by Gaia Hawkes on Tue, Jun 21, 2022

Many people prefer purchasing things online nowadays. In fact, three-quarters of surveyed buyers prefer virtual sales over traditional sales.

If virtual selling is already part of your business strategy, you might want to ramp your efforts up. Here are 5 proven tips to help you increase virtual sales.

virtual sales

Image: Credit: Unsplash

Many people prefer purchasing things online nowadays. In fact, three-quarters of surveyed buyers prefer virtual sales over traditional sales. For buyers, this means that they can have more frequent communication with the seller because they need not meet in person. It’s also cost-effective and convenient, removing the need to leave their house or travel to purchase products or services. Lastly, purchasing online allows buyers to interact with more sellers. Through a simple call, message, or email, they can even converse with multiple sellers at once to find the best product for them.

If virtual selling is already part of your business strategy, you might want to ramp your efforts up. Here are some proven tips to help you increase virtual sales:

Acquire virtual sales training
While the time, effort, and resources needed to train people can make it a little tedious, virtual sales training is critical in increasing sales. A thought leader in relational and collaborative sciences, Keith Ferrazzi, notes how today's new virtual dynamic is an opportunity to recalibrate teams to be more collaborative and effective. With the pandemic increasing the number of prospects willing to purchase things online, virtual sales training equips employees with the right skills, such as persuasion and proper online presentation, to carry out their job more efficiently.

Repeat important points
According to neuroscientist Carmen Simon, customers will remember very little about your conversation, especially in this digital, information-filled era. They can only retain information for a few seconds at a time before it is replaced or distracted with new thoughts. This is why it's important that you repeat important points once every minute — especially if your sale is happening via a call. If you're selling products via email, repeat words that will convince them to purchase your product, such as the benefits it can give them. More often than not, your customer will remember the points you’ve made, positively impacting their purchase decision.

Practice listening
While this seems trivial, listening to what a potential customer has to say mid-sale can go a long way in convincing a lead to feel their value to your company. In fact, sales strategist Michelle Seger believes listening to your clients' thoughts and opinions is crucial, despite the consequence of a delayed agreement. This allows salespeople to know how to provide better service, explore how leads want to buy from the company, and make better deals moving forward. Knowing when to switch from selling to listening is key in securing sales.

Keep your social media platforms active
Social media is a convenient way for sales teams to potentially "seal" deals with prospects before even meeting them. After all, consumers and potential clients will visit your social media profiles before making purchasing decisions. It’s the most accessible way for them to get to know about your company and product, so these platforms must be active. As such, consistently publish relevant social media content regarding your products and services so potential clients stay informed.

Encourage product reviews
Finally, don't forget to tell your customers to leave a review if they like the product they've purchased. Product reviews can influence a potential customer’s buying decision more compared to star ratings alone. Apparently, it’s the text that makes a difference; without it, potential customers are not swayed. Thus, encourage buyers to leave a product review with their thoughts and experience. If you're selling a service, receiving a testimonial from them via email or virtual call (and posting it on your website) works just as well.

Virtual sales are becoming the preferred method of the majority of buyers. Hopefully, these tips help you satisfy leads and increase your sales.

Need Help?  Check Out Our  Sales Growth Coaching Program!

Topics: increase sales, virtual selling, virtual sales process

Terminating “Think it Over”

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Jun 09, 2022

In the profession of selling there is a response or an answer we are often confronted with that causes great distress, delays in decision-making, or loss of opportunities. That response is: “I need to think it over”.

There are three major areas that "think it over" typically appear- the initial phone call, the first appointment, and the presentation. 


In the profession of selling there is a response or an answer we are often confronted with that causes great distress, delays in decision-making, or loss of opportunities. The response is: “I need to think it over”, or what we at Anthony Cole Training refer to as “TIOs”. Today I am going to do my best to help you minimize and or eliminate TIOs in your professional selling career.

Keep in mind that TIOs don’t just show up after you’ve presented a product or business solution. TIOs can and do occur when you first call someone in an attempt to convince them to meet with you. TIOs also show up after you’ve met the first time, delivered a bit of a pitch, and asked the prospect what they think. They may respond with, “let me think about it and I’ll get back to you”. Or, “let me run this past my team and I’ll get back to you”.

So, let’s take the three major areas: The phone call, the first appointment, and the presentation, and help you TERMINATE TIOs!

The phone call: You’ve made contact with your intended target, had a discussion about your offerings, benefits, or products, and the prospect has expressed some interest. But when you ask for the appointment or get invited to meet, they tell you they want to think it over or they ask you to give them a call next week. Here are your options:

  • Ask the prospect if you can make the decision easy for them, they will say yes and then say, “Why don’t you just tell me no”.
  • Tell the prospect that you hear that a lot and what most people are trying to do is just get you off of the phone without hurting your feelings and ask if that is what is happening here.
  • Suggest to the prospect that you’ve had others make this request, and when you follow up as requested, the prospect never takes your call or answers your email. Ask the question, “how do we keep that from happening here?”

The appointment: The best way to avoid TIO at the end of your first appointment is to do the following:

  • When you attempt to close for the appointment, your close should sound something like this: “Can I make a suggestion? Why don’t you invite me out to see you and we will ask each other a lot of questions. I will find out more about your current situation/challenges and ask you for more detail about some of the things we discussed today. You will be able to ask me lots of questions about what we do, how we do it, and some possible solutions. When we are finished talking, we will both know if it makes sense to go any further. If we should take the next step we will, if it doesn’t make sense, you can just tell me no and we won’t worry about meeting again. What objections do you have to that process?”
  • When you start the meeting, review what you discussed on the phone and the agreement to decide at the end of the meeting if you will move forward or not.


At time of presentation: Let me make this perfectly clear. It is unreasonable for me to think that you will completely terminate think it overs at this stage. The idea of asking to eliminate think-it-overs is really a strategy to help you more clearly understand the decision-making process of the prospect and possibly terminate think-it-overs. At the very least, you will get more clarity on a timeframe for a decision. Here are the steps:

  • In the meeting prior to the presentation review everything you’ve covered with regards to:
    • Compelling reasons to act, make a change, purchase
    • The monetized value of not taking action, changing, or making the purchase
    • The capacity to invest time, money, and/or resources to fund the purchase, gather, and deliver additional information to proceed to the proposal, and willingness to invest the time required
    • The ability and willingness to undo any current relationships
    • The timeframe for action
    • The decision-making process within the organization
  • Once you’ve completed the review, you share with your prospect what you are prepared to do:
    • Provide a solution to eliminate their problem or help them leverage the opportunity they have
    • You will provide a solution within their budget
    • You will be able to answer ALL of their questions at time of presentation
    • IF you can’t solve the problem within their parameters, you will not need to meet again
  • Share with them how you will finish the meeting:
    • When I finish, I will ask you three questions;
      • Do you believe we understand what you are trying to accomplish?
      • Given how we’ve presented our solution and our company, do you feel we can help?
      • Do you want our help?
    • When I ask the third question you can tell me yes or no, I’d rather hear yes but no is okay. What objections do you have to that process?

So again, you will not completely eliminate all TIOs but think about the very last question. What objections do you have? That question will help you uncover anything you missed especially about money, decision-making, and the ability to leave their current relationship!

Last bit of advice: These suggested solutions will help you get started. I will warn you though that to execute this kind of out of the comfort zone response you will need to have: 

So why am I in the hazmat suit you might be asking. Simple answer: I’m trying to terminate the squirrels in my attic!

Topics: increase sales, think it overs

Increase Sales by Earning First Call Status

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Wed, Nov 24, 2021

Every salesperson wants to win now and increase sales. But what are the chances that you will actually reach your prospect when they have a problem they want to fix?

In this blog, we will discuss how to best position yourself with your prospect so you are top of mind, even when it means sitting at 2nd place.


As a sales training and coaching company, Anthony Cole Training Group is always hired…no matter the industry…for the same reason which is to increase sales. Every salesperson wants to win. Every salesperson wants to win now and increase sales. No doubt the instant gratification world that we live in has contributed to this reality. Amazon has made it abundantly clear that there is really no need to wait for anything.

But for salespeople, patience is more than just a virtue. It is a requirement. Think about all the sales activities that a salesperson must execute in their sales process. They make outreaches in order to schedule appointments. They go on appointments to find opportunities. They do the work necessary to make those opportunities lead to proposals. They position their value to win their fair share of deals from those proposals.

I don’t know about you, but to me, there are a lot of stars (and a lot of sales activities) that must line up just right in order to win a deal. What are the chances that you will reach out at just the right time, i.e., when the prospect has a problem that they are thinking about fixing?

For that reason, while everybody wants to be #1 it is my belief that is ok to be #2…while you continue to build your relationship with your prospect. I have previously blogged about pull-through rate – which is defined as the percentage of first-time new business appointments that wind up becoming your client. For most of our clients that number runs around 15%. That means it is much more likely than not that you are not going to find the stars aligned on that first appointment. Maybe the prospect does not have a problem. Maybe they do have a problem, but the timing isn’t right.

When you create your pre-call plan, don’t forget to plan what you are going to do if the stars don’t align. How will you leave the appointment with the door open to future relationship-building activities? My suggestion is to ask your prospect to think about who they would call in the future if they did need to make a change. Who has earned first call status? Tell your prospect that you would like the chance to work your way onto that list.

There is nothing wrong with being #2. Think about what sales activities you can be doing until you get to #1.

Need Help?  Check Out Our  Sales Growth Coaching Program!

Topics: sales activity, increase sales


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    About our Blog

    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


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