A few months ago, I wrote a post on what I would teach salespeople instead of social media. Most of the comments were positive, but a few people suggested that I was wrong and that social selling is the most important thing for salespeople now. It’s possible that our experiences are very different, but here is what I would train your sales force to do right now:
How to Schedule an Appointment with Your Dream Client: This is the first commitment we need in B2B sales. But there is a value-creating methodology that you can use when calling your dream client to schedule an appointment that differentiates you, making it easier for your prospective customers to say “yes” to a meeting request.
How to Develop Latent Dissatisfaction: Most sales organizations I know have prospective clients who need to take some new action to avoid losing ground, but these prospective clients aren’t yet dissatisfied enough to take action. Salespeople need help developing the structured conversations that help their prospective clients decide that they have a compelling reason to change.
How to Create Compelling, Differentiated Value: Assuming you have a documented sales process, if you are not winning deals at the rate you need to, it is because you aren’t creating enough value to compel your dream client to take action. Or you aren’t creating more value than your competitors. This challenge is why I created the Level 4 Value Creation methodology.
How to Build Consensus: In business-to-business sales, more and more decisions are being made by consensus. And more and more stakeholder’s needs are being considered. It’s tricky to identify all of the players, and it’s difficult to gain access to the stakeholders you need to support your initiative. I teach this with a model that provides visibility into who is needed, as well as identifying a range of choices when it comes to building consensus. Consensus-building isn’t something we teach salespeople, and it is why they are losing to competitors and the status quo.
How to Gain Commitments: The one thing that salespeople always want from me in training or a workshop is language. When I share with them the words to use to have the difficult conversations that move their prospective client forward, they record me, furiously scribble the language, or ask me to repeat it until they can capture it. There are ten commitments we routinely have to gain to create and win new opportunities, and most salespeople haven’t been taught they exist, let alone been given the language.
These are the challenges that I see, and I don’t believe any of them is solved with a social tools or some new technology. I always go back to what Air Force Colonel John Boyd said, “People. Ideas. Technology. In that order.”
Selling is about conversations and commitments around change. If what you sell is cheap, if there is little risk, and if your prospects are lined up to buy from you, then none of the ideas above is necessary. But if the opposite is true, I’d focus on the list above. I’ve written about all of these ideas on the blog, and it’s all there in the archives.
What training do you believe you need right now? What training would best help you to create and win more opportunities? If you lead a sales team, what do you believe they need to perform better?
Post a comment send me your thoughts, stories, and ideas. Hit forward to send this to anyone who might need some ideas about where the gaps in their sales approach might be. As always, they can sign up for the newsletter at http://www.thesalesblog.com/newsletter.
Do good work and I’ll see you back here next week!