When a company invests in sales training, the expectation is to get a return on that investment in the form of more sales volume and more profitable sales. Often though, companies do not see the return on their investment in sales training. Why is that? The reason is companies don’t understand the difference between sales training and sales development.
Sales training is teaching someone the skills needed to be effective in the sales process. Sales development is helping someone use the sales skills they have more effectively. The reason companies don’t see the return on their investment in sales training is they often end at the training and have no sales development. They send people to sales training and after the training they may see some improvement in sales volume and profitability sold, but nothing like they anticipated. Then, there is more investment in sales training because the sales and executive management think more training is the key to getting more sales.
In order to get the return desired from your investment is sales training, you have to have a sales development process or program. This just makes sense. You have to reinforce the sales training with a process that inculcates the training so that your sales team forms a habit of using the sales skills they have been trained in. The reason why sales development is necessary is because knowing how to do something has never made a difference. I don’t know how many books have been written on how to lose weight, but I know it has been a ton of them. The thing is everyone knows how to lose weight. Eat less, exercise more. No mystery here! But why is it that people don’t do what they know to do? Now if you can answer that question, you could solve all of the world’s problems. The fact, as it relates to sales, is you need to have a process that reinforces the sales training so that your sales people practice the skills until they become habit.
If you are looking to train and develop your sales team, check out CAPITAL iDEA. CAPITAL iDEA’s sales development training is customized to each customer’s needs.
If not CAPITAL iDEA, use someone that not only does sales training, but also has a process to reinforce the training.
We’ve been exploring the ins and outs of how to close a sale. We have talked about closing techniques and how they really don’t work in today’s marketplace. We have looked at how to gain agreement through out the sales process so that after you present your solution your prospect is in the habit of saying yes. One thing that cannot be overlooked in closing a sale is to simply ask for the business.
When I first started selling, I was working hard to get a piece of business with a small manufacturing company. In spite of not really knowing how to sell, I wasn’t doing too badly in terms of moving the sales forward. I think one of the reasons I was able to get as far as I did was I have always had the raw talent to have people be at ease around me. For some reason, people feel free to talk with me in an open and straight forward way. So even though I was doing a lot of things wrong, I had made it to the point of presenting a good solution for his needs. After I had finished with my presentation he asked me what he should do. You’re not going to believe it, but I said let’s go over some of the pieces of the presentation again. He was ready to buy, but I did not ask for the business. I did not get the deal. Moral of the story is you have to ask people to do business with you.
People may like you and even want to do business with you. Rarely though, will they say let’s get started. You have to ask (or tell) the next step is to get started. This is a simple thing, but I have experienced it and have seen it many times when all is needed is simply to ask: “when do you want to start?”
You don’t have to wait until you have completed your presentation either. Many times prospects make up their minds before you conclude your presentation. Don’t be afraid to ask for the business when you think your prospect is ready to buy. You can always fill them in on the details of the presentation later.
Be looking for the signs that your prospect is ready to buy and then ask for the business. Don’t have fear, it’s easy.
The first thing to keep in mind about closing a sale is that closing the sale is really gaining agreement to do business. People don’t want to be “closed” and are naturally resistant to being manipulated into doing something, even if the want to do it. If you have the attitude that you are developing a way to gain agreement on something that would be mutually beneficial, your posture is different and you come across as being a collaborator as opposed to an adversary.
Armed with the mindset of gaining agreement, you need to start helping your prospect create the habit of saying yes early on in the process. What I mean by this is you want to gain agreement on small things that lead up to gaining agreement to do business. One of the biggest initial things to gain agreement on is to allow you to follow your sales process. Even if you have a one call close, there is a process that you want to go through with your prospect. If you gain agreement on allowing you to proceed through your sales process, you have already begun helping your prospect develop the habit to say yes. To gain agreement on the sales process you could say: “one of the best ways to ensure you get the best value from what we have to offer, is for me to fully understand what you want to accomplish. That way I can make a recommendation from a vast array of solutions that will meet your specific needs, ensuring that your investment will yield the highest return. Would it be OK then for me to ask you some questions about your needs?” What do you think your prospect is going to say? If they say no, consider that you may not have a real prospect. Or, it could be you have not emphasized the benefit (value to your prospect) of going through the sales process. If they say no because of the latter, develop and practice delivering your benefit statements in front of a mirror until you would say yes to you. If you have a great benefit statement and you have a real prospect, the answer will be yes.
As you earn more credibility and trust with your prospect, you will be able to gain agreement on things that will require increasingly more commitment from your prospect. You could escalate the level of commitment by having your prospect do research or some other assignment that would require some commitment to execute. Making assignments is a sure fire way to tell how committed your prospect is to working with you to develop a solution that meets their needs.
Gaining agreement at the end of the sale starts with gaining agreement throughout the sales process. If you have conditioned your prospect to say yes throughout the sales process your prospect is very comfortable telling you yes when it is time to ask for the business.