How a sales training course, with some unique techniques, was developed to give each member of an average team an effective process and selling success.
The new sales manager was introduced to the existing team at their monthly meeting. The team of 15 field sales people were a mixed bag of industry veterans that had been around forever, and younger people who had moved into selling from other parts of the company. There were a couple of salesmen and women that had sold in other markets, and some with C.V.s that showed a long a list of selling related roles such as account management and company representatives.
After the introductions the new manager wanted to get a feel for the level of sales skills the team had. In a conversational style, the manager asked questions that would highlight the team’s knowledge and experience. The idea was to assess their sales skills and the manager would then provide the sales training courses that would increase each individual’s sales results and make the team successful.
After asking questions and discussing the sales process that each of the team used, the manager discovered the following:
Very few of the sales team had an effective sales process that took the prospect from first contact to closing the sale. One of the more mature team members said they had received only one sales training course in their 20 years with the company.
Each sales person on the team had one way of selling, and their lack of sales skills meant there was no flexibility in their sales pitches. If what they did didn’t work they lost the sale, and then blamed the company, the product, or even the prospect.
Sales introductions focused on telling the prospect that they would try to offer them a cheaper deal than the one they currently had. Sales questions were poor and did not highlight real customer needs. They established the details of what the customer currently had, but not what they really wanted.
All the sales presentations were based on price. The aim of all the sales presentations to prospects was to beat the current supplier’s and the competitor’s prices. Despite the team’s many years in sales they had not had effective sales training on how to sell to a prospect’s needs. The team talked about features and benefits but didn’t know how to use them to sell.
Sales objections were answered with prepared replies that came from their own experience and they had no real process for dealing with objections.
You would expect the sales manager to have been surprised, and disappointed, at his new team’s lack of sales ability. Here was a team of people who had been in sales for many years but did not know or understand the sales process. You might think the manager would feel there was a massive uphill struggle ahead to turn this team into consistent target achievers. But the experienced manager had seen it all before. It’s an unfortunate fact that many people in sales have not had the benefit of effective training. There are sales teams around the world in exactly the same situation as this one. Some have had sales training, but it either hasn’t worked or they haven’t taken the techniques on board. Others haven’t received sales training. Many sales people don’t know what they don’t know, they are unconsciously incompetent. It isn’t their fault and it can quickly be fixed.