Most of the early sales training I received had one fatal flaw.
That one fatal flaw caused me to under perform as a salesperson for many years.
Here’s what would happen.
I would join the company on Monday morning and sit in a classroom environment for the next five days receiving product training.
The features and benefits of the different products would be extolled. We would receive comparative product training explaining our unique selling points compared to the competition.
At some stage in the first month we would receive our compensation plan. One of the clauses would cover the definition of an ‘order’. An order would usually be characterised as complete when the customer had taken delivery and payment had been received. Once that had happened, commissions would be paid.
As you’re reading this, you may be wondering – what’s wrong with that?
The salesperson has received good product sales training and a well-articulated compensation plan. This company appears to have a good on-boarding process for new recruits.
It’s only when you dig a little deeper that you discover the two massive problems with this process.
Let’s look at them individually.
Mistake # 1: Demonstrate first
When you become a product expert, your tendency upon meeting new prospects, is to extol the benefits of your products and the company that sells them.
After all, we are excited about our products and services. Shouldn’t we enthusiastically transfer that excitement to our potential buyers?
When companies hire sales people, are they not looking for enthusiasm as a key characteristic?
But it gets worse.
When we sit in front of a customer, they reinforce the situation. Their expectation when they meet with a salesperson, is that the representative will act as a walking, talking product brochure.
The may say something like…
- So, talk me through XYZ product or service.
- We’re using ABC at the moment, how do you compare to what we are currently using?
We use that as the trigger mechanism to start talking about the things we sell.
This is a major mistake.
Goal number one in any selling situation is always the same.
Discover everything you can about the client situation and the issues they are trying to solve… first! You can only present the benefits of your product and service in the context of the issues the client is trying to resolve with those products or services.
Which brings us to problem number two.
Mistake # 2: Close the delivery loop
If you agree with the concept that customers buy products and services to resolve issues, then it makes sense that we have to redefine what we mean when we say something has been delivered.
Let’s look at something basic like sales training
Why would somebody want sales training?
Surprisingly, it’s NOT because they want better trained sales people.
They are in reality after results such as; more new business clients, shorter sales cycles, higher gross margins, more accurate forecasting, et cetera.
In some ways, the sales trainer has to work with the client to ensure the client got the results they were told they should expect to get.
Sales training is not delivered after the trainees leave the classroom. It should only be considered to have been delivered once the client has got the result they were after.
My son is going on a speed reading course later this month. His goal is to cut down his home work hours and revision time for his exams.
As the paying client, I consider the course delivered when my son can do the same amount of revision and homework in a reduced number of hours.
When you start to take more responsibility for the results you’re delivering to clients, your business life will change dramatically.
You can sell at premium pricing.
You can significantly reduce your average selling cycle.
You will build a reputation for producing results, not just selling products and services.
I’ve operated in 14 different industries and sold everything from copiers to consulting services. You can apply this model to every business that exists if you’re willing to engage in a bit of thinking time.
Contact me here if you have any questions.
FREE Resource: I produced a special CONSULTATIVE SELLING BLUEPRINT that I give my private clients to use. It includes the ‘6 Issues Questions’ you must use in every prospect meeting if you want to sell on value instead of selling on price. You can download it for free using this link.