“My people are provided product knowledge and the policies to follow. That’s it! I am a believer of sales training but my superiors are not. How do I convince them?”– Anonymous-Regional Sales Manager of a local company
Thank you for your question Mr. RSM. Albeit, let me rephrase it to what management and company owners (like me) can understand better. “Help me justify to myself and my partners why we should spend for sales training? Isn’t it the nature of people who opted for a sales job to know how to sell?
THE MYTH OF NATURE
It should be in sales people’s nature to sell, right? Or is it not? In parallel, drivers by nature should know how to drive, but how come you see a lot of idiotic people behind the wheel responsible for a chaotic metropolis? Similarly, everyone who enters a videoke bar by nature must know how to sing, but how come patrons still shoot each other for poignant assault on eardrums, while melodious singers continue totrain extensively? Likewise, most peoplein this country can play basketball, but how come serious athletes train hard on their game? So when a person gets into a sales job, does he by nature become a professional salesperson or does proper sales training enable the level-up?
THE MATHEMATICS OF SALES TRAINING INVESTMENT
So, why would employers want to elevate salespeople to a professional level? Because professionals sell more, for less time, at the highest possible margins, provides great customer experience with the lowest risk of losing opportunities, whilst depriving competition the similar opportunity! That’s why!
As opposed to that, mediocre sales people sell far less, wastes time, gives away every possible discount when pressured by the buyer, has little understanding of customer experience dynamics to keep customers happy for the long term and most lamentably, loses opportunities to the gain of competition! That is the painful price of having improperly trained salespeople wandering about. Go ahead and multiply that with the number of mediocre salespeople in a company, then by the number of years of mediocre service and a depending on the company’s business scale, a staggering figure of millions or even billions of wasted revenues and resources can be arrived at! Had a portion of that been invested in proper sales training early enough, then the investment would have paid off with an opposite handsome sum!
Not all sales training programs are investments! Obsolete programs are a mere expense and not a sound investment when it: 1) uses “present, handle, objections and close as a process”, 2) relies on closing techniques as if they were pickup lines more apt in a famous senator’s speech of wit, 3) promotes linear methods that disintegrate upon first customer deviations, 4) uses Features-Advantage-Benefits as a process, 5) lumps everything as an objection despite only 3 objections given a total of 9 obstacle types!
Quite the contrast, great sales training investment comes from programs that are cutting-edge, having replaced the obsolete practices for significantly higher sales productivity balanced with positive customer experience, taking care of short term revenues and profits as well as long term mutual gain. To achieve such, there must be respect for customer buying psychology, not to oppose it or circumvent it, but to hand-hold it. Given that the customer decides most of the time, is it not but logical that the customer’s algorithm or flow be used as the working process and not an arbitrary one conceived for the seller’s convenience? Moreover, closing techniques give way to a customer-centric process that naturally leads to a close, thereby committing to the ground six feet under, hard-selling, with a matching obituary! Much more, proper sales training utilize spirals to centrifugally pervade conversations releasing the trap of unrealistic linear anticipation that offer no solutions once interrupted! Interactively mere flamboyantmonologues of linear presentations, particularly ineffective with millennials are replaced by interactive sales encounter control.Furthermore, feature-advantage-benefits and its dreadful failures should have already been re-engineered to align with the customer’s decision flow. And finally, proper training allows for each obstacle to be diagnosed for their nature, addressed systematically with a personality-compatible solution per type of obstacle. Having differentiated value-for-money investments versus poor spending, use the above-mentioned guidelines to ensure your sales training will be very useful now as well as for the long-term. Thus investigate before investing.
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About the author
Rowen Untivero is a Partner and Chief Sales Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., the country’s leading marketing, sales, strategy and innovation training company. Rowen, has injected much replicable science to mere art of selling. Please send your questions, comments or feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.