Posts Tagged ‘Sales Education’

Objections – No, They’re Not Great Buying Signals

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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.

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Cold Calling in the 21st Century – A White Paper Review

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I recently ran across an interesting white paper that connected two articles that were previously published here on The HUB – Claire Waggoner’s “The Key to Sales Success: Pick Up the Phone” and my review of Jill Konrath’s e-book, Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code. Gretchen Gordon of Braveheart Sales Performance is offering her paper, Cold Calling in the 21st Century, at their web site, and I found it informative and useful.

Notice I didn’t say comfortable. The reason for that is she touches on some particular issues of mine regarding cold calling, and forces me to acknowledge what I don’t want to – that full disclosure is not always the best tactic right out of the box when leaving a voicemail, and being persistent on a daily basis works.

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Talent or Education? What Are The Characteristics of the Sales Dream Team?

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I was talking to a group of students about the best strategy to build sales teams, and there came an unexpected comment: “In my ideal team everyone would be like Messi.” (Ed. For us North Americans who play football with an oblong ball, Lionel Messi is a pre-eminent Argentine round footballer. Soccer, right?)

Although dangerous, the comparisons with soccer can help us understand some important aspects when we discuss team configurations in business.  In this case, the discussion revolved around about the importance of having talented or gifted sales professionals versus others who are not so talented, but who respond very well to training programs.  In the end, both can end up giving very good results.

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Krypton Community College for Sales Business

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Business Education

There seems to be an interest in the Krypton Community College concept if our Google Analytics are to be believed. (I do believe them. I trust Google more than I do the U.S. Congress, but so do most others.) We got quite a lot of traffic on my article about applying the concept to a sales education, so I thought I would take it a bit further, see if I can milk the search terms for a few more hits.

In my previous articles on the value of education to a professional salesperson, I noted several intriguing issues, foremost amongst them was that many sales pros and employers thing higher education for sales people is a waste of time. While I don’t think it is a prerequisite for success, it is certainly an advantage. That is not a bold statement – I think an education is a advantage in any walk of life, even retirement.

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Krypton Community College and a Degree in Sales

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I did an article some time ago on Sales Certification and what that might mean to a sales professional. And just the other day, I read in Seth Godin’s newsletter about a new project he is promoting – Krypton Community College. I put these two together in my head and guess what I came up with? Another topic for a HUB article!

It’s a little early to know what this KCC concept really is and if it will work, but it did get me to thinking about distance/e-learning and its application to the sales profession. Clearly, sales training is a huge e-learning business with hundreds of providers pushing every conceivable sales training technique and process and gimmick. But I’m not talking about training – I’m talking about education, and they are not the same thing.

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Book Review – The Birth of a Salesman by Walter Friedman

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Birth of a Salesman

I often mention the book The Birth of a Salesman by Walter Friedman in my articles on professional sales and selling, and I believe the time has come to thank the author for these many references by writing a review about this fantastic book and making more people aware of it.

I didn´t know of Walter Friedman until a few months ago when I was researching the learning of sales through the history and reading another interesting book, The Art of The Sale by Philip Broughton. I came across a quote from Professor Friedman that caught my attention. It said, “While business schools continue to offer some kind of sales management instruction, usually in larger contexts of marketing courses, they do not offer programs aiming at salesmanship skills. The topic remains as in 1910, more suitable to ‘how to’ or ‘memories of a successful salesman’ books than for academic courses.”

Among other things, what caught my attention and led me to read Friedman´s book was the word ‘salesmanship’. Although it is not exactly a new word, I had not yet seen that word being used in the same way as the common ‘entrepreneurship’.

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What Does Sales Certification Certify?

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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:

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The Professional Salesperson’s View of a College Education

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No College Degree

Degree? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Degree.

I followed a LinkedIn discussion thread about sales education recently and I came away surprised and disappointed. The thread was in a professional sales group and the contributors were presumably all sales professionals, were presumably interested in their profession because they are active on LinkedIn, and were presumably intelligent and successful in their jobs.

The question, paraphrased, asked about what your sales education should be. Not training, mind you, but college or university education. Here are the metrics from that thread:

  • There were nineteen comments in addition to the original post and the follow-on comments made by the poster.
  • There were sixteen distinct commenters.
  • Not one of the comments suggested the need for college or university level education, although one came dangerously close.
  • Thirteen of the comments said, in varying degrees of intensity, that a college degree was a waste of time for sales professionals.

Those who saw no need for a college education all called on the school of hard knocks and street smarts as the only academic requirements. They cited sales success stories and capabilities and knowledge that could be acquired without ever setting foot on a campus, unless you were there to sell something.

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Teaching Sales Methodology at the Business School Sao Paolo

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Business School Sao Paolo

Five years ago, on a trip to Canada, I met Keith Thompson, Salesways founder and Chairman, and author of the book Sales Automation Done Right. After that meeting, I realized that my career as a professional salesperson was built based on empirical knowledge, field practice and the courses that companies I worked for offered me.

Back in Brazil, with the book in my hands, the first thing I did was to visit some universities and business schools to understand how the sales discipline was handled. Recently, talking to some teachers, I heard that “it was much easier to learn about sales in specialized external courses out there”, as mentioned by Philip Broughton, in the introduction to his book The Art of the Sale (2012, Penguin Press).

Walter Friedman, in his book Birth of a Salesman (2004, Harvard College), noted that “while business schools were still offering some type of instruction in sales management, usually in larger contexts of marketing courses, they do not offer programs aiming at sales skills.” Also according to Friedman, these current courses, as it was at the beginning of the last century, seemed more suitable to the popular “how to” or “memories of a successful salesman” books than with the objective of training professionals under the academic point of view.

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Sales Education: The Sales Course Catalog #2

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Education Ignorance

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article describing a fictitious course catalog from a fictitious college for a fictitious degree of Bachelor of Arts in Professional Sales. The reason for all the fiction was that there is no such thing! That is an exaggeration – there are several schools offering such a degree. Several, out of 4,500 accredited colleges and universities in the U.S.

I posted my own curriculum for such a degree, and started describing some of the sales-centric courses that I feel demand attention. These included Introduction to Professional Sales, The History of Sales, Sales Methodology, and Sales Automation. Today I’ll continue that effort with four other courses from my fictitious curriculum.

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