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Why So Many Sales Training Programs Are Mediocre

Why So Many Sales Training Programs Are Mediocre

Far too many sales training investments return mediocre results and some inject a lot of confusion into the sales team’s thinking that can reduce results.

Over the last 15 years, there has been a real shift in sales training toward content that is very analytical and case study oriented. Lengthy discussions and planning processes are used to get a clearer understanding of the buying process, psychological factors involved, buyer personality types, etc.  All of this stuff is interesting and stimulating, but is it truly addressing the most basic problem that causes most sales people to fail? We have met and interviewed thousands and thousands of sales people, which resulted in the publication of two best-selling books based on all that data gathering. What we find today is that the three most common causes of poor selling performance are:

  1. Not spending enough minutes during the day speaking with high capacity buyers/customers.
  2. Not being able to verbalize the most important sales communication in a convincing and credible way.
  3. Poor skill at executing the fundamental consultative sales process.

Let’s look at the most important sales communication which we call Bedrock Sales Communication Tools:

  • Communicating the three most important competitive advantages of the company.
  • Knowing who has the capacity to buy a lot of your product/service and knowing what to say to schedule a meeting or phone appointment with that person.
  • Able to communicate a concise and compelling success story of a customer/client of using a popular product/service.
  • Able to answer the question: “What do you and your company do?”
  • Can respond very effectively to the most common objections.
  • Explain what makes your company a better choice than your two strongest competitors.
  • Can get any sales conversation off to a good start with an effective agenda.
  • Knows how to respond when a sales process gets stalled.
  • Can explain a new product or service the company is offering in a convincing and interesting way.

Many sales managers assume or think their sales people know how to do this stuff so they move on to more “advanced” topics which usually means the latest greatest analytic account development system. When we test their sales people, we find that in nearly every case, well over half the team is unable to verbalize this basic sales communication in a way that is effective, credible and convincing.

Consilio fixes this problem. We also have great account planning programs too, but until the team has great sales communication skills that they can clear the bar with, it is best to stick to sales communication training topics because once sales people get good at these skills, their numbers really start to improve.

We do this with a drills-based delivery style that has much more repetition, practice and coaching than any of our competitors. It is so remarkable and different, we are willing to guarantee our results 100%.

 

Why So Many Sales People Fail

Why So Many Sales People Fail

In nearly all cases, Sales People fail because they fall into BAD HABITS.

 

  • They don’t talk to enough high potential buyers on a regular basis
  • They cannot explain their company’s differentiating factors and competitive advantages in a compelling, credible and persuasive way.
  • They are not skillful at applying a proven sales process that generates rapport, discovers needs through good questions and listening then tailors the product/service to truly fit what the customer needs.
  • They are not effective at identifying buying objections/barriers and responding them in a way that lowers resistance and increases buying enthusiasm.

More than anything, what enables these bad habits is poor training, coaching and follow up.  When a sales team has a great sales manager that makes sure the sales people build good habits and learn the fundamentals of selling their product/service, then two things happen:

  1. Sales team members with potential learn, improve and eventually succeed.
  2. Poor performing sales team members either get better or are replaced relatively quickly.

 

There are Two Distinct Types of Sales Training

  1. Programs that focus on the communication challenges of selling
  2. Programs that focus on the planning, strategy and account management challenges of selling.

In our opinion, far too much money is spent on #2 when the real problems that are preventing greater success with more members on the sales team have to do with #1.  There is a time and place for focusing on things like how to leverage social networking, maximizing the CRM, the account development process, networking, building your personal brand, etc., but it’s very important to keep in mind that all those activities, all that planning, all those keystrokes into a master database ultimately are trying to create the EXACT same thing … more voice-to-voice or face-to-face selling conversations with people that have the authority to buy a lot of your product and/or service.  It is what happens in those moments, when that sales conversation begins, that determines success.   More often than not, the sales team members that are not top performers are not very effective at the most basic skills of selling.

  • They don’t talk to enough prospects and customers on a regular basis
  • They do not have an always available list of the 25 high potential buyers they are trying to schedule meetings with.
  • They do not have a compelling answer to the simple question: “Tell me what you do and a little about your company.”
  • They cannot explain their companies differentiating factors, competitive advantages and value proposition in a compelling, credible and persuasive way.
  • They are not skillful at applying a proven sales process that generates rapport, discovers needs through good questions and listening then tailors the product/service to truly fit what the customer needs.
  • They cannot get the customer/prospect to tell him/her the truth about what is causing them not to buy.

All the account development and CRM training in the world is simply not going to move the needle when a sales team member cannot do these things effectively.  From our experience, it is a waste of time, energy and money to train sales people on anything else until they demonstrate mastery of the fundamental and important selling skills.

Consilio, more than any training company on the planet, can quickly turn the fundamentals of selling into one of your company’s most powerful competitive advantages.

 

Why Most Sales Training Is Too Easy

Why Most Sales Training Is Too Easy

Very few sales training or customer service programs really challenge the participants to clear the bar and show they have learned the content.

This is because most sales training allots minimal time for actual practice and wastes a ton of time on discussion and brainstorming new ideas of what to do.

Sales professionals MUST be able to verbalize competitive advantages, a value proposition and responses to frequently heard objections. All the conversation and thinking and planning in the world isn’t going to give them the ability to do this under pressure. What will give them this ability is practice and repetition with strong coaching. Consilio is the only training company we are aware of that does this and we’ve seen a lot of other training organizations come and go over the last 30 years.

Our team is more similar to Navy SEAL trainers than academic facilitators. They conduct difficult drills, give examples, practice and practice more until every participant can clear the bar and verbalize the core selling language that creates business.

Most sales trainers have little real ability to coach in a group situation so they do what they’re comfortable doing; they lead a lot of group discussion and although participants may like this, the progress and pace is slow and comfortable.

Not with Consilio. The progress is fast, the challenge is high and the intensity of coaching is there every minute of the program. That’s why sales managers love Consilio training. Challenge your team and put them through a program that really makes them perform under pressure to do the things that matter in a sales interaction.

 

Why Best Practices Are So Important And Consistently Ignored

Why Best Practices Are So Important And Consistently Ignored

Every company in the world knows what best practices are and will say they are important

Every company in the world knows what best practices are and will say they are important, but when we talk with sales and customer service teams rarely do we find anyone that can clearly articulate the 3-5 most important best practices that everyone that talks to customers must master.

Rarely = NEVER.

In many large companies, most likely, a consulting company like McKinsey did a study on best practices, put it in a very pricey report and the company executives nodded in agreement and some memos were sent around and the training department might even have taken notice, but operationalizing this critical information never happened. Knowing what the best practices are is critical, but it is much more important to develop a strategy and execute that plan to steadily turn those best practices into skills that more and more team members possess. This is the missing link and this is what Consilio specializes in.

The truth is, it doesn’t take much time or money to find out the best practices of the teams that actually talk and interact with customers whether they are sales or customer service. It always comes down to the same things. We know what these best practices are and we’ve been refining the coaching and training process to rapidly turn those best practices into a competitive advantage. That’s what it’s really all about.

People that interact with the customer need to be very good at verbalizing critical pieces of information. This is where the breakdown always is. They know in their brains MUCH MORE than they are able to effectively verbalize. Consilio fixes this frustrating problem with the most drill-oriented, practice-based training on the planet. It is extremely challenging with rigorous coaching and demanding exercises. Consilio is not about lengthy case studies with invigorating discussions and analysis; Consilio is about practicing how to verbalize a company’s competitive advantages, value proposition, differentiating factors, product advantages and all the important elements of a sales interaction like how to:

  • get the meeting off to a good start with an organized agenda.
  • recap and summarize to move the conversation forward.
  • answer the question: “Why should I do business with you?”
  • ask great questions and really listen then summarize.
  • respond to the most frequently encountered objections.
  • verbalize the price / cost relationship of their products and services.

Sales People need to see the right people, say the right things, organize themselves to get things done on time, communicate with credibility and conviction and follow up relentlessly.

Customer service people need to develop a helpful and positive voice tone, know how to listen and ask questions, reassure the customer they will get their problem solved, and pay attention for clues that can help them make an up sell offer that is HELPFUL to the customer.

These things simply don’t change and unfortunately, more and more companies every day are forgetting to train and coach their people to become masters of these core skills.   That’s where Consilio comes in.

 

Train The Trainer Options

Consilio gives their clients a variety of options when it comes to how training is delivered.

We know that the keys to an effective project to improve the sales and/or coaching culture includes:

  1. Identify transferable best practices that matter.
  2. Build a practice and repetition oriented training program.
  3. Deliver the training with high intensity focus on drills and coaching.
  4. Implement a follow-up process to deliver coaching over time to sustain results.
  5. Make project progress and results highly visible.

Some of our clients need a little help in some of these areas and many prefer us to do them all because of our speed and the difficulty of getting their internal training team to the same level of quality and intensity as Consilio trainers are.

Consilio has the ability to conduct what clients tell us is the best train the trainer preparation for interactive programs on topics like sales, customer service and coaching they’ve every been through. Most TTT programs focus 90% of their energy on program content and how to use the instructor manual. Consilio TTT training goes much further and transfers the best practices Consilio instructors use including:

  • How to use demonstrations more effectively.
  • Giving quick, crisp directions that sweep participants into action.
  • Repetition with drills and incremental challenges.
  • How to coach in a fast paced, repetition driven skills exercise.
  • Table discussions, brainstorming and debriefing effectively.
  • Opening, closing, transitions and motivation.
  • Using better stories to make key points that are memorable and motivational.
  • How to generate the kind of pace that Consilio programs need in order to work.

If you choose to deliver the Consilio program yourself and bring Consilio in to prepare your trainers, they will have the most demanding trainer coaching they’ve ever had and they will be very thankful for it. Coaching trainers is something we love to do and we’ve refined the process because we’ve spent so much time developing our own delivery teams.