This was the question posed to me at a recent dinner party by a Sales Director after we had gone through the formalities of "What do you do for a living?" He explained that his company was 12 years old and they sold high quality "timeless design classics". The company do not work with agents or distributors, but they have a telephone sales team, and I answered him with an analogy. If you go to your doctor and said that you were sick, the doctor would proceed to ask you a whole host of questions, check the symptoms you had described before prescribing any medication. He smiled and asked whether he could book me for a sales training workshop, with the aim to motivate and inspire his team to increase their sales performance.
We agreed that I should come and spend a day observing his sales team, as you always get great ideas from people who are doing the job. I have found that involving the staff when researching for sales training workshops ensures the team feel a sense of ownership, and then everyone is rolling in the same direction.
Here are a couple of observations from the exploration day in their sales office after listening to the types of calls they were making: "The salespersons have so much to speak about, that they tend to over explain and not focus on what the customer is really looking for." Too much of their sales pitch is in the "so what" category. "Price is a phantom objection", it just means that you have not demonstrated value for the customer, etc.. I also asked the sales team individually amongst other things, whether they were happy at work? What were they doing that they felt good about and what they felt that they needed help with?
The subsequent one-day workshop was built on 3 pillars of excellence: FOCUS - ACTION - REFLECTION
Role-playing to help the sales team understand how to divide their calls between categories (courtesy, qualifying, arranging and pure sales calls). How to interpret customer reactions? How to identify and react to receptive states? How to introduce the company in under 45 seconds? How to build questions around planning, production, pricing, placing, enthusiasm, respect and references. And of course, the classic, how to overcome objections?
I am only qualified to deliver measurable results as passion, guts and hard work are not enough to make a real impact on results! You can always adapt to challenging circumstances by developing your sales team and their skills. I am an optimiser!