Guest Blog by Helen Sandilands
The competition to win and be successful with new and exciting customers becomes more intense by the day. So, if you want your team to be successful in their sales role, you need to equip them with the right skills and knowledge to make this happen.
Think about when you have been sold to and you left with a really positive feeling. That is the feeling you need to re-create for your customers.
Ask yourself the question: “How sharp are the skills of my sales team really, and which skills are the most important to keep refreshed?” It’s not the skills they use when you are with them that matter… it is the skills that they use habitually you need to check. These habitual skills, which they use regardless of who they are with, are the ones that truly matter.
For years businesses have looked at their most successful sales people in an effort to understand what it is that they do, to make them so successful. However for these individuals, it is often difficult to be able to pinpoint what this is too, as it is just what they do and think. They don’t know any different.
Having spent many years training and coaching teams on how to sell effectively, I have my own ideas on the skills that make the biggest difference.
You can have the best sales technique in the world, but if you are targeting the wrong customer type, your growth curve is never going to go in the direction you want it to. Even if you are seeing the RIGHT customer, what is your route map to success with them? What are their Goals and how do they match yours? Who else needs to be involved in the decision-making process? Where are you in the sales cycle with them?
Such an important skill for sales people, but sadly one that is a real weakness for many. In order to be able to sell successfully you must fully understanding the problem or opportunity as the customer sees it, not as YOU see it. This is important as if you cannot see it from their perspective, it is often like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole – you will need my product! You try to sell your product to them from the wrong angle – it may be the right product, but if you do not present the right benefit to the customer, you will face objections.
Questioning is the ONLY way to fully understand what the customer sees as their need. This may not actually be their TRUE need, but again the only way to discover this, is through skilful questioning from an expert sales person.
When I say listening…. I mean REALLY listening! In sales calls most sales people are thinking about how they can position their product so this means that they do not HEAR the response that the customer has given to the question they asked. Not only does the customer feel aggrieved, but even worse, the sales person can then position your product from the wrong angle – this is one of the reasons they get objections when trying to close the sale.
Providing the Right Solution
When selling a product / service, a great salesperson presents only the key BENEFITS that their product / service has to solve the problem that the customer has discussed with them. Presenting your solution is NOT an opportunity to dump all the information you have about your product onto the customer. Not only does this raise yet more objections, but the customer then stops listening and misses why they should use what you are trying to sell to them. It can also mean that they do not understand how to use your product correctly which leads to dissatisfaction and complaints.
Closing and Follow-Up
Having taken your customer on a journey of exploring the needs that they have through effective questioning, failing to close the deal or agree to next steps in the sales process effectively opens the door for your competitors to have that business. The customer now knows that they have a need, and you have not agreed to provide the solution. Sound crazy? It does, but sadly all too often it is a common occurrence. Sales people ASSUME that the customer will now put the steps in place to buy / use your product. They must close the loop and confirm next steps by all parties.
Sales teams are a huge expense to companies – if their skills are not regularly sharpened, you are not maximising your opportunity or Return On Investment.
If you think your team need their sales skills sharpening contact us to discuss your training needs.