Sales and customer service training often has a minimal impact on improving sales numbers and critical metrics.
There are three specific reasons for this:
- The sales team does not have the basic skills in place and the content of the training is way to theoretical, planning and strategy oriented and not nearly practical enough.
- Sales training transfers knowledge but practice elements are weak so practical selling skills don’t get developed much
- Sales managers/coaches don’t know how and/or don’t have the time to do much real sales coaching and follow up to sustain the progress made in training.
Over the years, we have met with hundreds of sales managers who said things like:
- “Our people are really good, but they need something new and more advanced.”
- “If the training is too basic, our people will not like it.”
- “Our people are pretty high level, we don’t want to insult them with beginning training.”
And then, when you go out and start talking to the sales team and ask them to do things like:
- Give me the three most important competitive advantages of your company?
- Tell me who are the 25 highest capacity buyers you are trying to schedule meetings with?
- Give me a concise and compelling success story of a customer/client of yours using your most popular product/service.
- If a prospective customer/client were to ask you to explain what you and your company do, how would you answer?
- What is the most common objection you get and what exactly do you say when it comes up?
- Explain what it is that makes your company a better choice than your two strongest competitors?
- How do you get a sales conversation off to a good start? Specifically what do you do?
- When a prospect or customer will not give you an answer (yes or no) what are the different options you use that produce the best results?
- Explain a new product or service your company is offering that you would like to see more of your customers purchase? Tell me about the product and what it could do for a specific customer?
More often than not many of the answers to these very basic selling questions and situations are weak and some are downright terrible. Sales people, even “high level” sales people, often fall into terrible habits when it comes to the bedrock skills of selling their product/service. Companies put sales team members through complex account development training when they can’t even leave a great voice mail that answers the simple question: “Why should I call you back?”
Interestingly, when companies understand this and finally put their team through a very rigorous coaching experience to learn how to communicate this stuff, the top performers LOVE IT. Why? Because they know this stuff makes a difference. There’s a time and place for more systems training, more ideas on how to maximize a CRM interface and yet another account planning and forecasting tool, but, at some point, a sales person has to be able to generate selling opportunities, then say the right things at the right time in the process to move the buyer forward in the sales process.
That’s what we do better than anyone else. There simply is no program that offers more rigorous coaching and practice repetition than what Consilio delivers. It’s the way a Navy SEAL trainer would teach sales people how to perform the critical skills that determine their success in the trenches. Thinking about prospects and strategy is very important, but not as important as the basics that always come into focus when we are voice-to-voice or face-to-face with a live customer.
This is what most sales organizations should focus on to generate better results:
- Intensive training for managers, coaches, sales people and customer service agents that interact live with customers.
- Rigorous coaching and training on the interactive skills needed when voice to voice with real customers.
- Mastery of the core language needed to persuade and influence prospects and customers.
- Mastery of the most basic interactive model that creates rapport, discovers needs, tailors products and services into high value solutions and all the skills to overcoming buying resistance in a natural and low pressure way.
- Practice, coach then practice some more until every member of the sales team can effectively verbalize competitive advantages, differentiating factors, customer success stories, credibility statements and value propositions. If they can’t do this stuff at a world class level, all the training in the world on advanced account development theory won’t make a bit of difference.