One of the biggest challenges for most organizations is helping salespeople execute in the field what they've learned in theory in the classroom. It is easier to execute a sales technique in class when there isn't anything riding on the outcome. It’s in the field, when the lights are the brightest and the pressure is on, that sales capabilities must be demonstrated.
How important is it to you and your organization to actually use the sales skills and techniques learned in the classroom out in the field? That’s a critical issue for most. In the classroom and, more importantly on a sales call, there are five critical sales capabilities that successful salespeople master:
1. Ask the right question, the right way, at the right time. Asking questions is the key to great selling but only if the questions are the right ones and they are asked in a way to build trust and help the prospect to further disclose details around their ‘severe mental anguish’.
2. Listen to the answer, closely. Salespeople must really listen. Most of the time the problem a prospect identifies isn’t the real problem. Salespeople must uncover the real problem by listening intently and asking probing questions.
3. Dig deeper. Salespeople have to master questions and statements like: “Tell me more about that.” and “Why is that so important to you?” They must be comfortable asking questions such as “Is that problem compelling enough to take action on?”
4. Reject rejection. Salespeople need to understand that selling isn’t personal. So if they don't move forward with this opportunity, they must still keep moving forward with their sales activity and other opportunities.
5. Be prepared. Preparation will allow salespeople to utilize their sales capabilities when they need them the most, if they are under pressure or when there is a surprise.
How do you ensure that what was learned in the classroom will be executed on the sales call? The key is to role play, frequently, relentlessly and thoroughly. When role playing, have salespeople sell products that they don’t currently sell. This will ensure that they stay focused on asking questions of the client to understand their issues. It will prevent them from downloading technical knowledge about their products. Role playing in this manner will help salespeople get better at asking the right questions at the right time in the right way because they will stay focused on the client and not on themselves.
In role play, make it as tough as it is going to be in real life. Role play before phone calls, before initial meetings, before meeting with committees and boards, before presenting and before closing. In other words, practice every sales situation possible.
Do you remember the old saying that practice makes perfect? To expand on that, perfect practice makes perfect performance. Now go role play that next call.
About the Author:
Tony Cole is President of The Anthony Cole Training Group, a privately owned company specializing in building consistent and predictable sales growth. Tony has a lifelong focus on helping people and organizations achieve their personal best.