“How do you think I should train my sales force, Mike?” Great question I received from a CEO at a conference we presented at last week. He continued, “There is so much stuff out there, it is hard to cut through all the clutter.” In a world full of social selling clutter, I thought for these week’s blog, I would attempt to cut through the muck and share how I would train my sales force today.
The following is NOT ranked in importance because different sales organizations have different needs, but I did save the best for last. Without #15, I think it is difficult to make any of the others work.
How does your sales on-boarding and training rank in these areas?
1. How to Leverage Social Selling: LinkedIn is a serious tool. Yet most reps do not even understand the concept of their Social Selling Index. Prospects have more information on our company and our sales reps that ever before. Want to learn more? Log into LinkedIn and type this into your URL: www.LinkedIn.com/sales/ssi See how you rank.
“Social is not a place for a hard sell – it's a place to build trust and credibility.”
2. How to Make a First Contact and Schedule a Meeting: According to LinkedIn, 84% of sales start with a referral. While “cold-calling” may be dead, the initial contact is not. How to execute flawlessly on that initial call, voice mail or text is still tops on my list! The fact is, most sales people struggle in this area and this skill is key to improving results.
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
3. How to Think Like an Executive: In selling to senior executives, business acumen and situational knowledge are what allow you to create value. There are only so many levers an executive can pull to improve operating performance. I’d make sure my sales organization could articulate each of those levers and how my products and services impacted them.
“Speed is the currency of today.”
4. How to Differentiate Themselves and Their Company: The best sales conversations present the customer with a compelling story about their business first, teach them something new, and then lead to their differentiators. I would teach them how to resonate, differentiate and substantiate their value.
“In real estate, it’s location, location, location. In sales, it’s differentiation, differentiation, differentiation.”
5. How to Plan a Sales Call: The sad part of it is, most salespeople plan on the off-ramp on their way to their meeting. “Ok, what are you going to say and what am I going to say?" Trust me, the client/prospect can tell. It is truly a missed opportunity whose cost can be measured!