How is your sales training working out for you? Are you focusing on better closing techniques? How about objection handling? Are you teaching your people how to control the sales process? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re wasting your time and money, and you are ensuring that your company will become obsolete in the next few years.
The confluence of rising e-commerce and inbound call centers, as well as increased client sophistication and access to knowledge, is creating a landscape that is inhospitable to traditional selling. Sales people who are armed with product knowledge and objection handling techniques provide no value to their prospects.
Here are the new skills that you must develop in your team:
1. Strategic understanding
Value is either derived from helping a company strategically or by lowering your prices. There is nothing in between. If you have the high cost of a sales force and they do not know how to create strategic value, you will find yourself increasingly squeezed by lower and lower margins, and higher and higher cost of sales.
2. Focus on your customer’s customer
As I conduct workshops around the world, I am repeatedly confronted by the reality that most sales people don’t really understand their customer or their customer’s customer. The opportunity to create real value for your customers lies in your understanding of how your customer creates value for their customer.
3. Have a solution focus
Customer challenges are becoming more complex. Showing up with a pre-defined offer and calling it a solution is like taking an exam, and without bothering to read the questions, furiously writing out your answers and hoping your professor will be impressed! Real solutions are arrived at collaboratively with your client. Albert Einstein is noted to have said, if he only had one hour to solve a problem, he would spend the first 50 minutes defining it. The real skill in solution selling is problem definition not solution presentation.
Before you invest in another sales training program ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the trainer understand how the discipline of sales is changing? Is he/she training sales people for the way things were or the way things are going to be?
- Does the trainer understand corporate strategy and can he/she connect the dots between my corporate strategy, my sales strategy, and my ideal client’s strategy?
- How much time will be devoted to helping my sales people define problems and map processes versus taking a canned approach to selling (solutions).