Objections – No, They’re Not Great Buying Signals

Written by on . Posted in Sales Education, Sales Training No Comments

No matter how good you are at selling, objections will arise. Some occur because the customer needs something that you cannot provide. They want a 12-month service contract and your company only offers one for 6 months.

It is also true that some objections occur not because of what you are selling but because of how you are selling. For example, a great way to generate objections is to jump in and starting talking about a solution before you have a comprehensive understanding of the customer’s problems.

Have you heard that objections are good because they indicate buyer interest? This is an untruth floating around in the Sales world – objections are not buying signals. They are barriers, concerns, and problems that need to be prevented and/or handled skillfully.

So let’s take a look at three best practices for dealing with objections.

Continue Reading

Developing an Edge

Written by on . Posted in Sales Education, Sales Training No Comments

Anthony Gaffney is a principal at Moorhouse, a consultancy specialising in business transformation and delivering commercial capability programmes. We are privileged to re-print this article from Winning Edge, the members magazine of the Institute of Sales & Marketing Management.

For organisations looking for the edge over their competitors, developing salesforce capability is a key weapon in the arsenal. If the requisite capabilities are developed effectively they can have a significant impact on results — from employee engagement right through to the bottom line. The question, then, is why don’t all organisations invest in sales capability development programmes?

Continue Reading

Improve Sales Training – Flip It

Written by on . Posted in Sales Education, Sales Training No Comments

Recently we came across an article about an innovation in our public schools that is getting a lot of buzz – Flipping.

The idea is simple: by using technology, students spend time at home getting up to speed on a given area of knowledge, then instead of lecturing from the front of the room, the teacher spends time in the classroom floating from table to table as the students work on exercises that apply the knowledge they studied before class.

The article took me back to when I was doing some research using Flander’s system of behavioral analysis for observing classroom instruction in public schools.  The major finding of which was that 70% of the teachers spent 70% of the time talking.  So given that population, there is indeed some time available to flip.

Continue Reading

Sales Simulations – Why Sales Reps Like Them

Written by on . Posted in Sales Education, Sales Training No Comments

Think back to the sales training programs you’ve attended. It’s likely that the great sales training programs had two characteristics in common – the same characteristics that have salespeople excited about sales simulations.

Realistic and Relevant. For a sales training program to be great, salespeople must have the opportunity to wrestle with the challenges they face every day. The program cannot be academic in tone or esoteric in content. That means salespeople must have the opportunity to develop account strategies, call on key decision makers, and handle tough objections. Today’s sales simulations deliver on that mandate better than any other type of program.

Continue Reading

The 3 Main Reasons Most Sales Training Fails

Written by on . Posted in Sales Education, Sales Training No Comments

1) Theory and Role Play

Most sales training is filled with a lot of theory and good discussions around sales, but rarely provides any actionable insights or tools that we can apply immediately to our day-to-day lives that will make a difference. Role playing is used to try and simulate live customer engagements that aim at uncovering those insights and providing the tools.

However, they are rarely run effectively. They tend to paint one of two scenarios: 1) the perfect situation or 2) the most ridiculous situation possible. Neither of these are what we face on a day-to-day basis in our jobs.

The other problem with role playing is that the people brave enough to stand up and play the part are typically more worried about impressing their peers than they are about mastering whatever skills they are trying to learn.

Continue Reading

Learning a Sales Method Using Excel

Written by on . Posted in Sales Education, Sales Training No Comments

Sales Cycle Excel

Ed. Congratulations to Enio for creating an imaginative and useful Excel template. His article explains why the sales process can be computerized by using a simple spreadsheet. There is a much easier and more elegant way to get this functionality and much, much more. The app is free here.

Sales methods are usually associated with two statements by salespeople: “very strict, with little flexibility” or “our business is to be at the client and not in front of a computer.”

We agree that it is more important to be in front of the customer than typing information at a computer. And, we agree that information put into the computer should produce results that are relevant to the successful outcome of the sales process.

Continue Reading

What Does Sales Certification Certify?

Written by on . Posted in Sales Education, Sales Training 1 Comment

Training Certificate

I recently got involved in a LinkedIn group thread that led me to rant a little on college and university sales education – specifically on the lack of any respect by sales professionals for a college degree. That, in turn, led the CEO of the Institute of Sales & Marketing in the UK, Stephen Wright, to contact me. He told me they are a UK-based professional and government-approved awarding body that develops qualifications for professional certification under the regulation of the UK government.

He went on to tell me that their qualifications have been adopted by a number of organizations in different countries and asked about such qualifications here. My answer could have been delivered by Sergeant Schultz in the old Hogan’s Heroes television show – I know nothing.

It was an interesting question, so I set out to find some answers. I did a Google search for sales certification and here are the top five hits for getting yourself certified:

Continue Reading

Opportunity Portfolio Management

Written by on . Posted in Sales Education, Sales Training No Comments

This article continues the idea from a previous one that a sales opportunity has a persona. Why would I want to anthropomorphize something so basic as that? Salespeople are well aware of what an opportunity is and that it must be discovered, worked on, and, in the long haul, won more often than lost. The main reason I do it is to point out an unarguable fact in sales—salespeople like some opportunities more than others. It’s only natural, and my previous article points out some of the reasons that this happens.

There is a dangerous corollary to this, however, and that is salespeople prioritize their time and attention to the situations they are more comfortable with.

Any of us who have been in direct field selling knows the feeling. “Shall I plan a visit to customer A on my trip next week, when I know he or she will use any excuse not to see me. Or, maybe I will visit customer B, where I’m always welcome and don’t even need to call ahead.” Or, maybe it goes like this: “I’ve sold four Am-29’s this year and this customer will make my fifth sale, I’ll prioritize a visit tomorrow.” And, what about this one? “Out of the twenty deals I’m working on right now, ten are in the process of closing. I’ll take care of those first, which will give me a great third quarter.”

Continue Reading

Up in the Air

Written by on . Posted in Sales Education, Sales Training No Comments

OK, so it wasn’t so recent. This lesson from the George Clooney movie is still worth a look. Even if it is a second look. Originally published on The HUB on December 6 of last year, here it is again for those of you who might have missed it.

I recently re-watched the George Clooney movie Up In The Air. It’s a great movie, and there is a lot to identify with if you have been a frequent traveller. Within the movie however, there is a battle to move everything online – in this case, it was firing people remotely. Within the sales training world, it is conducting sales training over the internet to deliver the same content, but at a fraction of the price.

The concept is great – you don’t have to take your sales people out of the field and you save a bundle on travel. In addition, the course is often significantly cheaper, especially if it is a pre-recorded course with some simulation and evaluations.

The obvious primary question is whether the sales person actually absorbs the content. Many courses handle this through evaluations and simulation – pass the test, you have learned the content.

What about workshop-style training?

Continue Reading

Sales Training: My First ‘Ah-Ha’ Moment

Written by on . Posted in Sales Education, Sales Training No Comments

I remember my first sales training session like it was yesterday. I was a Product Manager at the time, and had little clue about anything to do with actual selling skills and no practical experience. I remember the trainer – it was Ken Wax. Ken was (and still is!) an experienced technology sales trainer, and was contracted by IBM to provide sales training to IBM business partners. He was delivering a two-day course, and the vision and program was to teach sales tactics to the technical business partners, such as myself, who were an important part of the overall sales strategy for IBM.

One of his early exercises was a role-playing session to help break the ice and get the class engaged. He started with what was probably the most common objection from potential customers that anyone selling IBM software was facing at the time: “We are a Microsoft Shop.”

This was the Microsoft strategy. If a customer had MS Windows, Active Directory, and other Microsoft technologies, they would consider themselves a Microsoft Shop. Their reasoning was that it was better to standardize on a single vendor for the benefits of integration, management, and support.

Ken challenged the class to provide a strategy and methods on how to overcome this objection.

Continue Reading

Social Network