George M. Etheridge
Why Sales Training Is So Important To Growth
Why Sales Training Is So Important To Growth
Sales training goals can be a behavioral change for increasing sales performance.
Usually, most salespeople apply what they have learned, their techniques, wisdom in an old outdated manner, and they abandon the real-life practical training and skills through which they can genuinely get benefits. Sales training goals must be directed to produce some changes in the behavior of your salespeople.
Your company's entire management team from the top executive to a manager needs to apply some amount of commitment for sales training. The real-life techniques and some new skills, which you teach in the sessions to your salespeople, must be applied in practical sessions repeatedly in order to achieve the goal. Any executive or top management team must repeat the new skills in their daily conversation with any member of the sales team in order to accomplish the goal. If you communicate the new sales skills and techniques on a regular basis, your salespeople will undoubtedly adapt those skills and techniques in their daily routine. Hence, you can achieve a sales training goal without much hassle.
The new approach, which your salespeople will start following, must be conveyed in such a way that they believe that they will not fade away with the time and hence, will become a part of their sales culture. You must design a training curriculum to achieve behavioral change.
If you want to achieve your sales training goals, you need to follow some basic rules. To transform your salespeople's behavior, techniques, and skills in order to achieve their goals, you need to set some manageable goals that can be realistic enough to be achieved by your salespeople. Most of the time, it happens that we tend to give them to many additional responsibilities, and there seems to be a large list of things for them to do which slows them down, Try not to give them too many tasks that aren't producing revenue in sales if you want them to achieve their goals.
You must also clearly define their sales goals for them and hold them accountable. Most companies fail when trying to achieve goals because they are not clearly understood by their salespeople. Hence, clearly define their goals so as there are no questions as to what they are supposed to do today this week, this month and this year plus what events are necessary during each time frame. This will help your sales team to understand what they specifically need to do to achieve their goals, instead of just telling them to hit a target of so many dollars.
Make your sales training well planned as this will be huge in helping them achieve their goals. A well-planned sales training class can give your team valuable ideas on how to grow their sales and stay motivated while doing it. A well-planned training routine can establish their goals more effectively than a quick get together without going over some new ideas and techniques.
Set your trust in your sales team. It is highly essential to set your trust in the people whom you are training to guide them properly, and hence you need to trust on them so that they can honestly work out the outcome in a positive manner. In this way, your sales training goal can be achieved.
You must keep them on their toes by adjusting your goals because the assessment is extremely important in determining whether the goals are producing the desired results or not. Hence, to achieve the sales training goals, you need to do lots of hard work because ultimately you want the success of your business and that can not be possible without team motivation.
What will you do if your best salespeople were to leave you in quick succession? Naturally, you will try to locate suitable replacements as quickly as possible, but what if the situation repeats itself again in the future?
The aftermath is not hard to fathom. Your results and profits inevitably take a hit, so much so that meeting monthly targets until new salespeople are found and trained may become impossible.
High attrition also increases the workload on managers, and they may have to share some of the burdens of their teams.
Other team members will not turn into champion salespeople overnight, so poor customer service is a strong possibility. If the drop in the quality of the customer service you provide lasts for any sufficient time, your brand image, too, may take a bad hit.
Last, but not the least, to train and hire new employees, you would need a considerable amount of resources, resources which you could have otherwise spent on strengthening your brand image and bottom line.
Salespeople are the backbone of any company so, frustrated as you may be, you will have to search and recruit all over again. However, along with finding replacements, you need to search for the cause of this retention issue.
How do we fix this issue?
The right solution is the one that addresses the root cause of the problem, not the symptoms.
This problem of the best people leaving once they become successful is a major issue for all companies today.
Our sales training specialists with proven expertise and in-depth knowledge of the psychology of salespeople quickly identified the cause, suggested changes, and guided the management through various stages of implementation and coaching.
Some of the common areas that our sales training specialists focused on included, among others, the following:
Lack of Training
Lack of Guidance
During the past two years, many companies have stopped offering sales training. When budgets are cut, it's usually the first thing to go. This is a mistake because the training helps reps see missed opportunities, explore a range of choices, and make wise decisions that close more deals. Beginning and experienced reps alike gain tools to sharpen and refine their skills. Training also reveals patterns in the sales cycle that are both successful and unsuccessful.
The following are five reasons why sales training is essential to your company:
Focus On The Wrong Thing. Most people never aspired to be sales reps, they needed a job and fell into sales. They receive initial sales training, which is mainly acquiring product knowledge, then they were released into the wild. The skills they developed along the way are ones of trial and error. Trial and error is a good thing, however, to really succeed, skills need to be taught, refined, practiced and strengthened and most of all they need guidance.
It's a sad situation for reps who never receive training. They make mistakes repeatedly and nobody points out that they are taking the wrong action. They talk about things that are irrelevant to the sales or desirable to the prospect.
Think about this…Professional athletes spend hours every day practicing timing and execution of fundamental skills with the help expert coaches. Salespeople are no different, to stay at the top of their game, they too need to rehearse the fundamentals of their profession under the guidance of a professional trainer.
Some sales managers confuse product training with sales training. Professional baseball players don't spend their time studying every detail of their bats and gloves; instead, they practice using those bats and gloves to hit and catch balls. Likewise, while understanding the product is important, determining what motivates customers to purchase is what they really need and how to successfully solve customers' needs, is critical for success.
Sales training isn't about tricks, slick closing techniques or complex models that are quickly forgotten a few days after training. Effective sales training consists of developing strategies, skills habits, and attitudes that build listening skills and demonstrate how to effectively navigate the sales process. Even experienced salespeople must constantly practice fundamental selling skills and undergo periodic training with professional sales trainers to continuously develop and update them.
Coaching vs. Managing. Many sales managers often confuse coaching and managing. "You manage tasks, you coach development. Continuous sales coaching is vital to get the most out of your sales team. With sales coaching everybody benefits with increased profits, repeat lessees and higher profitability".
Most times, salespeople fail when they have less than excellent prospecting skills and don't spend sufficient time improving their performance.
Ultimately, prospects buy from individuals, remember it's all about relationships and coaching improves your relationship skills. Coaching teaches your salespeople how to pick the best prospects, how to really sell their services, and how to practice good stress management techniques. It focuses on the development and what's truly on a sales reps mind. Most reps don't spend time thinking, "How Can I Close Better," but think, "How can I make sure I'm not missing out on Online Sales Courses opportunities?"
Because of today's economy, many Sales Manager's think that their only option is to cut back on training and instead look to recruit sales professionals who, in theory anyway, already possess the necessary skills needed to do the job. However, most of those same Sales Manager's are discovering just how difficult it is to find skilled salespeople, who have all of the essential skills and personal traits. Also, it is not possible to equate experience or longevity with success. Any organization that hires only experienced salespeople and fails to provide them with proper sales training is setting itself up for disaster. The reality is that selling in today's climate is both an art and a science. Selling is a profession that demands a far wider range of skills than ever before, skills that require continual fine-tuning and constant practice.
Consistency Is The Key. Ongoing reinforcement and development is essential for success. The operative word here is "ongoing". Even if your salespeople have undergone progressive sales training, there's no guarantee that they will be successful. It is common knowledge that skills grow rusty over time and salespeople are prone to pick up bad habits along the way or to simply skip steps and take shortcuts that can lead to long-term trouble. Even more important is the fact that markets, competition, technologies, and customer preferences are all in a constant and accelerating state of change. This fact requires that salespeople are able and willing to rethink their sales approach frequently and receive regular skills and motivational coaching. Sales training generates goodwill and concrete skills that forge a path of excellence for your reps to follow.
Have you ever worked as a salesperson in a large sales organization?
If you have, you'll remember the great rah-rah sales meeting complete with company songs, slogans you repeated in unison, and the big sales contest. Sales organizations rely on these events far more than any other profession.
Sales motivation doesn't last forever and some people don’t like it but ask yourself what does work and last?
What lasts… is Teamwork, Comradery, and Training. Your people feeling like they are a member of a close-knit group, part of something bigger than them. Company picnics and retreats definitely help in this area.
Here is an exercise I used in a sales meeting that made a big difference. Try it.
I had every salesperson in the room write out a list of features that our product had. We all joined in the discussion. The list ended up being about 150 features.
I then had everyone privately list all the benefits to every single feature. Personally, I came up with more than 100. Almost everyone had 100 or more written down.
I then asked everyone to check off the single benefits that would, by themselves, justify buying the product. In other words, if the product gave only that one benefit, I would personally buy it. I came up with six. The answers were private. I then had them count groups of benefits until the group of benefits would persuade them to buy. I think I personally had thirty or so groups of benefits that would justify my buying.
Then I said "Now you are armed. You now have more reasons to buy than any prospect has to not buy." I told them to keep this list (most were several pages) and look at them often if they don't feel motivated to sell that day. I helped well enough to include it with every group of salespeople I'm training.
Activity replaces the need for quick motivation. I always paired up a new salesperson with an experienced one. The experienced rep could brag about how he did things (a genuine need in some people), and he would show the new guy that selling wasn't dangerous, evil, dirty work. The new guy made the experienced guy actually work. The older rep had to work, to show the new guy how it was done. Win-win.
Selling is also a pro-active profession. Making cold calls isn't fun for any of us except the purest in sales. Making calls is fraught with rejection. More people say "No" than say "Yes" if you call on them. And the national Do Not Call lists to make calling strangers harder.
So we designed our marketing so that prospects called us. You may not have the motivation to pick up the phone to make a call, but you have to pick up the phone to answer it or click on the chat button to take the live chat, no matter how motivated you are and when they call us either by phone or by live chat it's definitely a better outcome each time.
When prospects call you, it's a completely different dynamic. It is hard for them to hang up on you if they call you.
You just have to offer a great product with great customer service and they will call, and either buy from you or schedule an appointment, it’s just that easy as long as you have highly skilled and well-trained sales professionals manning the phones and live chat lines.
Learning how to qualify prospects definitely changes everything in the selling world. Instead of you trying to figure out how to sell your product, you ask questions to decide if you want to show your product.
Learning how to show the prospect and how your product or service fits them perfectly is the key to generating a high volume of sales. I would simply point out every feature that applied to them and shows them the benefits that applied to them. I would either ignore or just briefly state the features that didn't apply to them directly.
The truth is if the product is everything they want, and they sit on the edge of their seats because it fits them so well, and the value they realize is twice the asking price, closing is an afterthought.
Salespeople need skills. The motivation comes after selling becomes easy.
Sales personnel armed with excellent communication, negotiation, and closing skills attract more and more customers and hence amplify the overall growth of your business.
Good luck and Great Selling