3 Reasons why people say they hate sales people, but shouldn’t.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say that they hate sales people.  And my response is always the same.

“You hate people who help you solve problems you didn’t know you had, or maybe you did know that you had them, and you’ve had them forever, and the salesperson is trying to create some urgency for you to fix whatever the problem is?”

You hate people who are helping you solve your problems?

But Brian, they are pushy.

I can’t speak for everyone.  But a sales person is pushy because they know that their solution (product) will solve your problems. Period.

Look, the only reason you feel like they are being pushy is because you haven’t sold yourself. Or for some reason you have used similar products in the past and either didn’t use them as you were supposed to, or you didn’t use them at all.  Whose fault is that? Yep.  Yours.

I also believe that we currently have such a laid back society that anything that seems a little assertive, (hence the word assertive not aggressive) is looked at as being pushy.

The bottom line is most of the decisions in your life that could significantly alter or change your life, required a little push.  If you didn’t get the push you didn’t do it.  Matter of fact, I would say if you haven’t been pushed you most likely haven’t pursued the things that could change your life.

They are just trying to earn a commission.  

Life is a commission.  You are getting up right now and you are headed in to your job to earn a commission.  The only difference is that your commission may already be established fo you.  If you earn a salary.  The company you work for said they will pay you X amount of dollars every week, every two weeks, a month, or a year for the work you said you would do.  You earn your commission in advance in many cases.  There is no guarantee that you will actually do the work you said you would do.  Kind of dumb really, but that is what society is.

Or maybe you earn an hourly rate.  And that is okay.  But once again you earn your commission for every hour you work.  If you don’t work, you don’t earn the commission.

Sales people earn their commission when they have done their job properly.  I know a lot of people in management, salaried positions, as well as hourly people, that never even do their job at all.

They don’t listen. 

Look I train sales people for a living.  And I understand what you mean.  However, nobody listens in society.  Right now, you are trying to get your kid to do something and they aren’t listening to you.  It doesn’t mean you hate them or you aren’t going to work with them anymore.

If you are in management, you are going to lead some people today that aren’t listening to you right now, and they won’t be listening to you when you get to work either.  It doesn’t mean you are going to stop working with them.

Nope! What you are going to do is get what you can out of your children and your employees, and continue to guide them down the path to help them get what they want, because when you help them get what they want, they will help you get what you want.

And that is what good sales people are trying to do.  They are trying to help you get what you want.  And just like you have to be as a parent and as manager, you have to push people some times.  You have to remind them of the bigger picture.

Look, you don’t want a bunch of sales people working for free.  What would be the incentive to get you in the right solution if that was the case.  There wouldn’t be any reason for them to push you.

This week if you run across a sales person that you feel like is doing any of these things.  Roll with it and see if they help you solve your problems.  The chances are if you let them you will get what you want and they will get what they want.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

Transition Points: The undersold sale

Life is and should be a constant transition point for most people.  If you don’t have very many transition points, then I would highly encourage you to read further.  Also, as a sales person or a person who wants to influence others, understanding transition points of others can help you sell more and influence more.

So what is a transition point?

A transition point could really be described as any transition from one place in life to another, but there are a few very specific transition points that everyone will go through at some point in their life, especially if they live long enough.

  • Teen to Adult
  • High School to College
  • College grad to first employment (wage earner)
  • Single to Married
  • Non-parent to parent
  • Employed to Unemployed
  • Unemployed To Employed
  • Old job, old field to New Job, New Field
  • Old job, old field to Same Company, New Job
  • Spouse to Divorce
  • Family to Single
  • Promotion in a company
  • Change of Job to another company

Again, if you have lived long enough you can already see that you have been in one of the transition points already.

With a transition point each of us now have a new role or responsibility that has some certain identities that accompany it.  Some of these new identities are known to you and everyone else. And some of these new identities, may be a perception that you have that you must live up to.

When I was twenty-two I got married to my girlfriend at the time.  The marriage lasted about nine months.  But during that relationship and the marriage I had assumed many roles and identities that come along in a relationship and marriage.  Many of these identities are the ones that society is aware of and expects as well.

We had the new house, we had the dog, we had the two cars, we had the large yard, we had all of the yard equipment, and I had the pickup truck that made practical sense to me at the time.

After this lengthy five-year relationship that ended in divorce.  I had accumulated all of these assumed roles, responsibilities, and identity that I no longer wanted to be identified with.  I am at a transition point.

The very first thing I did, well after I took care of the major things.  Such as shelter, food, and clothing.

I moved on to the next big thing, which at 22, was “What the heck am I driving around in this old man pickup for!”

I can’t be seen on the dating scene with a pickup truck that married guys drive.  I was taking on a new identity.  And I didn’t want my identity to be associated with this truck.

At thirty-nine years old, it would be much more acceptable. But at twenty-two, it was in no way in my mind acceptable for me to be driving around in this pick up truck. I obviously bought a new vehicle pretty quickly after.

I was in a transition point.  And when people are at transition points in their life, they have new identities that they are attempting to live up to.  As a sales person, you can play to those new identities and help shape the one that a buyer wants.

Another example of this is a really good friend of mine.  Now since we are both in sales, we understand people pretty well.  We both understand that all consumers have needs and desires, but ultimately there is one reason why people buy.  And that is always the emotional reason they want something.

Like in my example, it was really image that was driving my purchasing decision, and not logic.  Especially since I bought a vehicle I couldn’t afford with money I didn’t really have at the time.

But back to my friend.  At age forty or so, they went through a transition point.  They took a new job as an executive in a company. This was really their first time being at that level in their career. With this new role there was a certain identity that comes with it. In their mind and in most people minds.  They felt like they needed to live in a different house.  An executive house.  An executive house has a lot of parameters, but to just name a few.

It must be in a very desirable location in the city they live.  Meaning it has to be some what exclusive and even hard to get and purchase.  The neighbors must be similar people as they are.  High income earners with very high-profile positions in the community and especially in their organization or they must own their own businesses.  The size of the house and the look and lure of the house all matter.

Although my friend had many reasons to buy a new house.  A growing family, a more desirable location based on their lifestyle, etc.  The real reason they purchased the home was because they felt like this new identity and role they were now in,  had certain expectations associated with it.  They spent more than they really wanted to at the time, but it didn’t matter to them.  And they ultimately sold that house and made a very nice return I am sure.

Again, as in my personal example, and in my friends example.  These transition points in our life forced us, and inspired us, to consider making different purchases than we were currently making at the time.  As practical buyers we both could have easily stayed in our current situations.  It made much more sense financially.  But I bought a new vehicle and my friend bought the house.

If you are hiring people for a new job, if you are trying to inspire people to stay motivated on the job, and if you are in sales or leadership.  Understanding these transition points can help you have the influence you want to have.  But you have to understand and know the situation better to actually appeal to the persons needs, desires and wants.

All of this is done through asking questions.  But most people don’t do a very good job at asking questions.  Leaders don’t spend the time with their employees enough to understand what it is they want and are seeking.

And as a sales trainer and a buyer of products for the last thirty years of my life, sales people definitely don’t do a good job at asking questions to understand the buyers desires and actually try to understand their situation.

When you understand where a person is at this point in their life you will be able to appeal to their motives and desires and sell them exactly what they want.

If you are interested in learning how to do this.  Shoot me an email at bwillett555@gmail.com

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When sales people do this one thing it guarantees more closed deals.

In sales, and in my sales training workshops, I have always reminded people of this one simple fact of sales:  When a buyer seeks to buy something, they will make the purchase when the value of whatever the solution (thing, object, service, etc.) that they are buying, exceeds the cost.  Simply stated: When the perceived value of a product exceeds the cost, a buyer will make the purchase.

The challenge that sales people face is that they must help the buyer see that the value exceeds the cost.  Which means, that the buyer must be certain, and maybe not even fully certain, that the price of the product is justified in the pleasure or results they will get from the purchase.

Recently, I was in the market to buy a couch.  This couch purchase has been something that has been in the works for about a year now.  Which means, I told my wife that we would buy one, and she kept reminding me that I said that, but I kept putting it off.

Last weekend, we took the next steps to purchase the couch.  So, I actually found myself in the stores looking at couches and determining what we wanted.  My wife and I very rarely agree on things of this nature, but in this case, after three or four stores, we both laid our eyes on a couch that we both liked.

We went back and forth about it, and then we ultimately got the sales person over to discuss our options.  The couch we were looking to buy is not a regular couch.  We wanted a sectional.  A sectional comes in various shapes and we both liked one with a chaise at one end of it.  A chaise is a chair that is like a mini little lounge on one end of the couch.  I have never had one of these, and I was excited about getting this feature.

To get the couch the way we wanted cost $3,100 dollars out the door.  Personally, I have never paid more than four or five hundred dollars for a couch.  My wife had spent more than that in her past, but never as much as this couch cost.

For this purchase, we had already determined that we would spend $1,000 on a couch, but after looking at a few places and now understanding the market a little bit better, I learned that this dollar figure was way off.  To get a bigger sectional couch, with the features we liked and desired it would cost us at least double that.  And I knew this, but I always start low and once I find something I like, price goes out the door usually. As this couch purchase illustrates.

But now we found ourselves looking at a $3,100 dollar couch.  So after an hour or so, my wife and I decided that we were done couch shopping for the day, and that we really liked the $3,100 dollar couch, but we would look at a few more places before we made our purchase.

Fast forward to the next day.  My wife and I went into two more places and looked at other couches.  By now, we have been to about six to seven stores.  We decided to go back and look at the couch that we both liked the day before. The $3,100 dollar couch.

We spent another forty-five minutes or so looking at the couch.  My wife starts putting some pillows on the couch and was really trying to get a feel for the couch.  The sales person from the day before joined us once again.  And she wasn’t necessarily pressuring us, but was adding in some commentary to my wife and I’s conversation as necessary, hoping to push our decision forward.

Once again, we decided not to buy the couch and that we would look a few more places.  My wife really wanted to sleep on this buying decision again.

The next day we decided to go to the same store, but a different location. Lets be honest, I wasn’t expecting to see anything different in this store versus the other one that we have been going to the last two days, but I thought, why not give it a try. And guess what?  The couch that we had been looking at the previous two days, the $3,100 dollar coach was in there as well.  And we looked at it again.

We also walked around the show room and looked at other couches.  We found a few new ones that we liked as well. Now, I am not sure if we had looked at these exact same new couches at the other location.  The chances are we had, but one couch jumped out at us that we really liked, and by this time my wife wasn’t that interested in the $3,100 dollar couch anymore.

This new couch that we both liked was $2,000 or so dollars. And this Saturday that couch will be delivered to our home. We made the purchase in less than forty-five minutes or so.

I am in sales and have trained sales people for a very long time. Through any buying process I am constantly watching and listening to the sales person to see the techniques and processes they use to help me make a purchase.  I am also considering and thinking about the decision-making that I, or my wife, are using during this buying process.

So why was it that we couldn’t make the decision to purchase the $3,100 dollar couch for two days, but on the third day we bought the $2,000 dollar couch so quickly?

To me this was a classic example of something all sales people deal with.  As I mentioned before, my wife and I both had never purchased a couch for the amount of money that we were considering spending.  So this would have been a purchase that was against both of our buying patterns.  Since this was the case, there was a lot of uncertainty on whether the couch was worth it or not. Also, as I mentioned we looked at this couch three different times, so there was a lot of uncertainty on whether this couch would look the way my wife wanted it to.

Both times we looked at the couch at the first store, my wife couldn’t get an idea on what it would look like in our house.  No matter how many pillows she put on the couch or pictures she took, it was just really difficult to see how it would look at our place.

When we moved on to the other couch, and the one we ultimately purchased.  My wife was able to get a feel for what this couch would look like in our place. She was able to more clearly see how it would fit in the decor that she was looking to have in our home.

The lesson here for sales people is this.  In any sales situation, or a lot of sales situations, especially when someone is buying a product for the first time, or spending more on a product than they have before, your number one challenge will always be to figure how to eliminate the buyers uncertainty.

If it is a first time purchase for a buyer of this product.  They are usually uncertain if it will work for them.  Since they don’t know how it works, they are uncertain if it will work, and will they use it and get the benefits out of it. It doesn’t matter if it is a couch or a new software system for a business.

When it is spending more money than they usually pay for similar products, then it is the uncertainty of whether or not the additional money they are spending on this product is worth it.

In my case of the $3,100 dollar couch versus the $2,000 dollar couch. If the sales person could have provided us a guarantee that if the couch didn’t look the way we wanted it to.  Lets be honest here. The way my wife wanted it to look.   Then we could return the couch.  We would have even been willing to pay a fee of some kind if we returned the couch,  because the fear of uncertainty would have been eliminated. Unfortunately, no such option was available.  Once the couch was purchased and delivered it was yours.

The fear of uncertainty is real in all buying situations. A sales person must create ways to over come and eliminate that fear of uncertainty. In our case, a simple guarantee that we could return it, could have increased their sales by $1,100 dollars.

Why do you think car lots allow you to take the car home overnight and think about it?  How many more cars do you think they sell because of this one little easy thing to do?  A lot. Because those buyers get a feel for what that car feels and looks like when they are driving it.   They get to see it in their driveway.  And since it is a new car, or new to them, it feels and looks good and those emotions are usually confirmed by others in their life during those 24 hours that they have the car.

Eliminate the uncertainty and you will make more sales.  Use return guarantees, let them try the product out, or whatever else you can do to eliminate that fear of uncertainty and you will make more sales.

To your success and your future.

 

 

The one thing sales people must sell, but very rarely do.

Everybody wants a guarantee that it will work.  You do, I do, and so does everyone else.

Is this even realistic though?  Absolutely not.

We all have to take a chance and jump in on whatever it is.  You have to buy the new car.  Upgrade the cell phone.  Upgrade the software.  Purchase the product.   But the fear of it not being the right thing, or solving our problem, is always in our mind.

As a salesperson, your number one job is to sell certainty.  Lets be honest though.  We all know that there are no guarantees.  We all know that if the buyer doesn’t use the product or use it correctly.  They won’t get the benefit from the product. We all know that people will buy something, use it once or twice, and then tell everyone that it didn’t work.

So how do we sell certainty? Especially, when we know that the product is certain to work when used correctly, but we know that the consumer will not do it the way they should?

You have to set the expectations on the front end.  You have to let the buyer know that for them to get the best benefit, they will have to use it the exact way you are telling them.  You also have to let them know that you will hold them accountable to using the product the way you have suggested.

I can remember working for a company where we upgraded our CRM (Customer Relationship Manager system).  This is a software application that helps sales teams manager their sales prospects and customers.

We purchased the product and then immediately tried to make that new product work exactly like our old one.  We were constantly asking the software implementation team to change this or that to make a change to the new software to perform, and look like our old system.  This went on for two years until we finally pulled the plug on our end, to stop trying to make the software work.

Who was at fault?  Well, I can say we (the company) were partly at fault because we were constantly trying to make it look, act like, and perform like our old system.  However, that is what people do.  We hate change and when given the opportunity we will keep things like they are.

The fault lies with the software team that sold us the new CRM.  They set the wrong expectations on the front end.  First, they told us that all of these great things were available.  And they may have been, but not early on. So they oversold. Secondly, they kept making the changes we asked for.  Which slowly kept us doing the same things we had always done, and the only thing that was different was the system we were using.

Instead of selling us certainty that this new CRM software application was the right system.  They actually did the opposite.  By making all the changes we asked for.  It further made the point that the new software was no different from our old one. And the more changes we made, the more uncertainty we had about the new system.

As a salesperson you have to sell certainty on the front end.  You have to let the prospect know that you will be with them every step of the way to ensure they get maximum benefit from the purchase.  You also have to be willing to hold them accountable after the purchase to following the prescribed way of using that product.

When you allow them to make changes and fall into a doing what they have always done, or not using the product at all.  You as the salesperson, have  to hold them accountable and follow-up with  them to ensure they get maximum benefit from the product.

This is how you sell certainty in an uncertain world.  This is how you overcome the doubt “Will it work”.  You let the prospect know that you will make sure it works for them.  This will eliminate the doubt.

To your success and your future.

 

 

5 books on sales that everybody should read, especially sales professionals

Sometimes a new book isn’t what you need.  Instead you need to go back and reread a book you have already purchased and read.  I can never get it all the first time around.  So going back and reading it again, and again, I can get closer to really understanding the material and ultimately practicing what I learned.

This year I have read about eight new sales books.  This doesn’t count the number of sales books that I have reread this year.  I have read 58 books in total for the year thus far.

The five books I included on this list are books that I have read and reread several times. The reason for this, is I have found these books to be the most significant books to really understanding sales, people, and ultimately why people buy.

Are they the best sales books ever?  I don’t know.  It just really depends on what you are looking for.

What I do know, is this list is a great start for anyone who is in sales and for anyone who may want to do one of the things below:

  • to learn a process to sell more effectively
  • understand some of the reasons why people buy
  • learn a technique on how to overcome fear
  • how to differentiate yourself from your competition
  • learn techniques to be more persuasive.
  • understand people’s motives, understand your motives for that matter.

title: Rejection Proof; How to Beat Fear and Become Invincible
author: Jia Jiang
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jia-Jiang-Rejection-Invincible-2015-04-24/dp/B016KX651S/

What I liked most about the book: This guy was on a mission, or is on a mission, to overcome fear.  And some of the things that we are most fearful of.  Such as talking to people, doing things that could be humiliating, making yourself really, really uncomfortable. The author does it all.  And he tells you how it worked for him. You may have heard of some of his crazy ideas and stories already. I hadn’t, but I really enjoyed his strategy and his commitment.

Why you should read it: After I read this book, I immediately was more motivated to go out and do some of the things I was most fearful of.  I picked up the phone and called a CEO that had been putting me off.  I wasn’t scared of the CEO, or at least, I would have told you I wasn’t.  However, what is the worst that can happen.  There is no growth without a little fear, hesitation, and some discomfort, but that is also where the growth and success exists as well.

title: Spin Selling; Situation-Problem-Implication-Need-Payoff
author: Neil Rackham
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/SPIN-Selling-Neil-Rackham/dp/0070511136/

What I liked most about the book: First of all, this book was first published in 1988. At the time, it claimed to be the most well researched book on sales to ever be written.  Matter of fact, the book cover says that 35,000 sales calls, used by the top Sales Forces across the world, are included in the research for the book.  That alone gives it a lot of credibility.  Plus the examples included in the book gives you a word for word account of actual sales calls that were either successful or not successful.  So you learn a lot by reading this book.

Why you should read it: All sales people should read this book no matter what.  You will learn something that you didn’t know before. To pick one thing that I thought was most interesting, was the part on objections. As a sales trainer, this is a topic that is brought up the most in my training courses.  This book was the first that I have read that actually took a different approach on why sales people get objections.  And the way they write about why we get objections and how to overcome them. This is a process that sales people, as well as people who just want to get people to do things, such as employees or children, can also use.

title: The Challenger Sale; Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
author(s): Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Challenger-Sale-Control-Customer-Conversation/dp/B0073TG3LQ/

What I liked most about this book: Similarly to SPIN selling, this book was well researched.  I believe the sample size was something like 6,000 sales professionals were analyzed and researched.  I am not saying that I am research snob, however, the way it is researched and how the conclusions are come to, you can see how.  Many books, are just one persons opinion on how something should be done or sold.  A well researched book, is validated by more than one person.

Why you should read it: Everybody is looking for the one thing to separate themselves when selling their product or themselves. This books tells you, based on research, how the most successful sales people do this effectively. And it is most likely not the thing you are thinking.  I’ll give it away a little here.  The title of the book, is also what differentiates successful salespeople from every one else.  The sales person who is willing to challenge the thinking of the buyer, is the sales person who is most successful.  And that theory is validated in the research.

title: Hot Button Marketing; Push the Emotional Buttons that get people to buy
author: Barry Feig
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Button-Marketing-Emotional-Paperback/dp/B015QKCOBG/

What I liked most about this book: This was the first book that I had read, and still have read, that actually broke down the reasons people buy, and the reasons why we as human beings make decisions.  That is why this is a book that I think everyone should read. The sixteen motives are broken down with such great examples, that you will instantly start looking at your prospects in a new light that will help you achieve better sales results.

Why you should read it: Most of us look at purchasing decisions, and if you are in sales, you look at the buyer and try to sell to them logically.  We all know that human beings are more emotional than they are logical.  This book breaks down the reasons why we do what we do, and the true emotions and reasons behind it.  This information is critical to anyone who wants to be more persuasive in getting people to take action.  Whether you are in leadership, a parent, or in sales, this book will help you become more persuasive.

title: The Five Great Rules of Selling
author: Percy Whiting
Link to amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Great-Rules-Selling-Revised-Enlarged/dp/B00005VA8T/

What I liked most about this book: Years ago, I had a trainer who was training me to become a trainer.  He asked me to read this book.  I looked at the year it was published, 1957.  And I thought why should I be reading such an old school book.  How does this information even apply today?  Here is what I learned.  Selling hasn’t changed much since the beginning of time.  I never thought about how reading these old school books, and learning the techniques they taught back then could apply today.  After reading this book, I then set a new goal of reading more and more books by dead people.  You know what I mean here.  Old books. And by doing so, I have become a better sales person and communicator.

Why you should read this book: In today’s technology driven world we all have lost are ability to communicate as well as we used to face to face.  It is no ones fault.  It is what it is.  Technology has allowed us to not have to do it as frequently.  Because of this, it is more important than ever for all of us, especially sales people, to learn techniques, language, and style when communicating face to face.  This book provides language and processes on how to get in front of more people, and then what to say when you do.

I hope you find these books as helpful as I did. If you do, please share it with others.

To your success and your future.

 

The missing link between training programs and performance change

 

I recently conducted a training session for the Association for Talent Development.  I discussed the missing link and followed up that training session with the article below.   

Training is supposed to change performance by changing behaviors.  So often this is just not the case. In this program, we discussed the missing link between training programs and achieving the performance change our training is designed to enhance.

The three key areas we focused on during this session:

  • Learn the Cycle of Performance Change
  • Discuss how to get better performance through changed behaviors.
  • Identified three ways to get participants engaged in training.

Cycle of Performance Change: 

Most training programs fail to actually state what the real objective of the training is.  In developing a training program, it is critical to actually state the key objectives of what it is the participant (learner), will actually learn and should be able to do at the end of the training.  This allows the participant to know what they are getting, and what they should expect.  By doing this it also allows for the participant to state what their objectives of attending the training are as well.  None of this happens in silence.  All of this should be discussed in advance of the training and throughout the training.

Once we have identified the goals and objectives, we can now move to what we call attitude.  With attitude, it is pretty simple.  Does the participant see the need to make a change?  If yes.  Move forward.  If no.  Then find out why.

If they see the need.  We now have to determine; do they Want to?  If yes. Move forward.  If no.  We need to find out why.  Then we have to assess skills and determine if they can make the necessary change. And secondly, does the participant believe they can make the necessary change.

Lastly, we have to assess whether or not the participant will make the changes.  This is not only for trainers to determine, but the participant must determine this for themselves as well.

Attitude comes down to this:  Do they see a need, Do we see a need?  Do they want to, Do we want them to?  Do they think they can? Do we think they can?  Lastly, Will they do it, Will we follow up to make sure they do it.

After we have determined our goals, assessed the participants attitudes toward training and changing their performance.  We can now impart new knowledge to the participants.  This new knowledge is techniques, information, processes, etc. that can enhance their skills when used.

There is no point to provide training to someone who doesn’t have the right attitude to take the training and actually use it to get better results.

Now that we have equipped them with the new information, we now have to get them practicing the new concepts, processes, and techniques.  Once they start practicing the new techniques they can then start to become more comfortable with it.  When practiced enough, they will turn those new skills into a permanent way in which they conduct business.

So, the new skill becomes a changed behavior in how they conduct business.

Three ways we can get participants engaged in the training. 

Before, During, and after.  These are the three areas most critical to success for a training program.  Training is not something you just go to.  Training is an ongoing requirement for everyone, especially for those who are seeking to get better results.

Before the training:  We sit down with participants and get their buy-in on the training and why they think it is important for them to attend the training. As pointed out above, we also let them know what the objectives of the training are and we get their objectives for the training as well.

During:  There are many ways we can get participants engaged in the training while we are actually delivering the training.  Here are just a few.

We facilitate versus lecture.  I think everyone knows this.  However, it is still happening.  Adult learners learn best by doing. The best way for us to teach is to get them practicing sooner than later.  The process I use, is simple.

  • Introduce the concept
  • Give an example of the concept being used.
  • Have the participant practice the concept using their examples.
  • Give some coaching to the participant while they are practicing.
  • Summarize how it worked and when and how they will apply it.

Another way to facilitate is by having the participants works in pairs, triads, groups, and then the entire group as a whole.  In each of the different pairings they have the ability to learn from each other.  As a pair, they may be more willing to be honest.  In triad, they have an extra person holding them accountable and giving them feedback.  In groups, they get the benefit of seeing what others learned by applying the concept.  Mixing these pairings and groupings up create a more engaged participant.

After the training.  This is one of the most critical pieces of an effective training program that is often overlooked.  After the training, you can do some assessments to determine what was remembered.  You can also assess the program to see if the expectations were clear.  But what is most important, is following up with the participants to ensure they are using the new concepts discussed. It is hard to change a behavior.

If you have a veteran employee, this step is even more crucial, as it will be easy for them to fall back in to the old ways of doing things.  While a newer employee, might be more open to the changes if they haven’t had anything specific they were using.

When we use the Cycle of Performance Change correctly we can change the behaviors of people, which in turn makes our training programs more effective.   Getting participants involved in the training from the very start, through the end, gets their buy-in to the training and creates an atmosphere of wanting to learn versus having to learn. It is also makes the training experience more enjoyable when they get to practice the newly learned concepts.

There is no perfect way to ensure all training leads to an actual changed performance.  The key is to be creative, keep it simple, use lots of examples, and lastly, get them involved in the training and practicing the material.

 

Moving others; Why everyone, including you, are in sales.

According the Bureau of Labor statistics in 2012, 1 out of every 9 people were in a job classification that was considered sales.  So what about the other eight jobs?  Well, according to a study conducted by Daniel Pink (author) in his book To Sell is Human, the other 8 people are in sales as well, just not the traditional sense of the word.

In his best-selling book, Daniel conducted a study titled “What do you do at work.”  They gathered 9,057 respondents around the world. Of the 9,057 respondents they paired down the results to a sample size of over 7,000 adult full-time workers in the United States.

The research had two major findings:

  1. People are spending about 40 percent of their time at work engaged in non-sales selling. Meaning they were spending that time persuading, influencing, and convincing others do get something done, not purchasing a product. That means 24 minutes out of every hour, they are trying to get someone else to do something.
  2. People considered this time critical to their success.

The findings come from people in various types of roles. The research also showed some other interesting findings.

  • 37% of the respondents said they devoted a significant time to teaching, coaching, or instructing others.
  • 39% said they devoted significant time to serving clients or customers.
  • 70% reported that they spent at least some of their time “persuading or convincing others.”

Later in the survey to probe the respondents further. The survey asked respondents to rank 0-100 on a slider scale.  “What percentage of your work involves convincing or persuading people to give up something they value for something you have?”  The average reply among respondents was 41 percent.

It is now fairly obvious that we are all in the business of sales, or as I like to call it influence.  We all have to influence other people or convince other people to listen to us.  Without the ability to do that it is very difficult to get anything accomplished.

The more important thing I want to point out here, is that if 1 out of 9 jobs in a company are traditional sales roles.  Meaning you are paid to go out and generate business by acquiring customers.  It means the other 8 out of 9 remaining jobs spend at least 40% of their time connecting with customers. Then why is sales training, or any kind of training for that matter, only conducted with the sales team?

Since you are reading this, the chances are you are not in a traditional sales role based on the data.  However, my hope is that I at least got you thinking about the fact you do spend a lot of your day trying to persuade and convince others in some form. So the question is how do you do it?

Here are three simple ways to influence, persuade, and maybe even convince others to your way of thinking.

  1.  Ask questions:  This is the number one way.  People like to solve problems on their own.  Especially since you are most likely in a peer-to-peer situation and you can’t just tell them exactly how you feel about something and this is the way we are going to do it.  Nope instead you have to get buy-in from the other person.When you become more skilled at asking the right questions, at the right time, to a person that you are trying to influence, you can win them to your way of thinking.  They start to convince themselves through their own words by answering your questions, that what you are suggesting is the better way.  If, your way is truly the better way.
  2. Listen: Seems pretty easy doesn’t it?  Come on, we all think we are better listeners than we actually are.  But the facts states the opposite.  That we truly aren’t very good at listening.  Nope. We listen long enough so we can respond.  Well, if you are trying to convince or influence someone else to get them to move, then we have to become better at listening to their perspective and then tailoring our response around that to ask a good follow-up question to nudge them in the direction we want them to go.
  3. The best way to win an argument is to avoid it.–Dale Carnegie.  Yep Mr. Carnegie couldn’t have said it any better than that.  You might be thinking, “Does that mean, I don’t stand up for what I think is right.”  Read the quote again.  No.  That is not what Mr. Carnegie meant, nor do I.  Instead of arguing about whatever it is you are trying to get someone else to do.  You instead use basic human relations to get them thinking differently.

Obviously, this blog isn’t long enough to equip you with the skills necessary for you to always get others to do what you want them to do.  The skills required to move others require constant attention and constant reinforcement and development.

Do you have the skills?  As a leader or manager, do your people who are working with your customers have the skills necessary and required to move customers into loyal customers? We know your cost of acquisition is high for a customer in most cases. Then you turn those high value clients over to people you have invested very little, if any time or money into, to persuade and convince those clients to stay loyal to your company and your product.

My unsolicited advice. If it is not obvious.  As you move into 2017, you must increase the amount of money you spend on the people who have to either work with your customers (which is everyone) and everyone who has to work with their peers and colleagues (which is everyone).  So this is the 9 out 9 employees within your company.

How much money are you willing to lose because of lost clients, lost production because people can’t get others to move, or lost employees because managers aren’t equipped with the skills to get others to move?

To your success and your future.

References:  To Sell is Human;The surprising truth about moving others.  Author: Daniel Pink.  Published by Penguin Group (2012) 

 

 

Three truths and a lie (Selling Intangibles)

I recently played a fun game called three truths and a lie with a group of colleagues at the office.  It is a good way to get to know others that you work with and find out interesting things about each other. It is a great icebreaker in meetings and just an overall fun game to play to get to know people at a different level than you might know them currently.

How does it work:

  • Each person in the group gets a turn
  • When its your turn, you tell the group three things about yourself that are true and one thing that is a lie.
  • You can tell the truths and lies in any order you want, some people play two truths and a lie, but I prefer three truths, because then we get to know someone a little bit better.
  • After you tell your three truths and the lie, the group then guesses which of the four statements was a lie.
  • You can facilitate this a variety of different ways. The purpose of this exercise is to get to know the person at a different level than you currently know them and maybe find out something interesting that you would have never guessed about the person.

This game sparks a lot of different conversations, because people then become interested in learning more about whatever it is that the person revealed about themselves and many times people find that they have common interests or hobbies.

I am going to start writing a blog called tree truths and a lie.  Since it is my blog it is my opinion, you may disagree with my opinion, but I don’t care.  My hope is that you will respond to this post in the comments section and tell me which of the four statements you think is a lie.

I will be posting this blog once a week on a variety of different topics.  I look forward and appreciate your feedback.

There are many truths and lies about selling intangibles but here are mine:

  1. The most important thing to know about an intangible product is that the customer usually doesn’t know what they are getting until they don’t get it.
  2. It is important to remind the buyer regularly of what they are getting from your service.
  3. Unique to tangible products is that the customer is seldom aware when they are being served well.
  4. An intangible product is harder to sale and differentiate in the market.

Which of the four statements is a lie?  I look forward to reading your responses.

To your success and your future.

 

 

3 Steps to rid yourself from rejection in sales

3 Steps to Ensure You Won’t Have to Deal with Rejection Again

Many individuals are of the opinion that dealing with rejection is part and parcel of the sales game. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t need to be that way for you. As a struggling coach, I had to deal with rejection in sales at least 5 to 10 times more than I celebrated a victory and one day I just got fed up of being rejected when making sales and decided that something had to change. Immediately I found that, that ‘something’ was the way I looked at the sale. Through hundreds of mistakes, I finally found a ‘rejection free’ technique to sell in three simple steps.

1st Step to Avoid Having to Deal with Rejection

Before you start the sales conversation always gauge the commitment level of the client. If the prospect is just looking for information, you have to understand at that moment that a sale may not be possible and hence accept the fact that this an exercise in building your sales funnel for the future (which is as important as making a sale today). Therefore, begin the process by requiring the customer to rate their level of commitment to find a solution for their issue today, on a scale of one to ten (one being no commitment and 10 being committed), if the customer is at a 9 or a ten, there is a definite possibility of making a sale, as long as the following two steps are completed.

2nd Step to Avoid Having to Deal with Rejection

The #1 reason you are often rejected in sales is that they try to ‘tell’ prospects what they must do to find a solution to their challenge. This is the ‘old fashion’ method of doing things. The ‘new school’ method is to request them to tell you what they think they must do to get the results that they want, or avoid the pain that they are experiencing. Customers always know what they should do to get the results – and it’s better when they tell what they think the solution should be, rather than you telling them. 99% of the time, the answer they propose will match your solution to a great extent, so all you have to do is, commend them for identifying the solution and agree with them wholeheartedly (when you introduce your solution later on – they will not be able to say NO to it, because they suggested it themselves).

3rd Step to Avoid Having to Deal with Rejection

Now that they have told you what they believe is the right solution, it is your turn to move on to the next question, and that is to ask them – what it would mean to them to have such a solution? How much income will such a solution bring to them over the next six to twelve months? How much resource, cost and time savings will they be able to gain with such a solution? Now that they have put a monetary value to it ask them what they are losing by not having such a solution right now (this will help increase their awareness of the loss to them if they don’t take immediate action).

Now that the prospect described the solution and the cost of not having it right now, you tell him that you can provide him the exact solution that he described (cover all the main points he covered, when he described his ideal solution to you), Next tell him the results he can expect in terms of revenue, cost savings, etc. If you carried out the above steps appropriately – I can assure you that by the time you get to this point, the customers will be ready to snatch your offer right off of your hands.

Implement the three steps introduced above in your sales presentation, immediately and avoid having to deal with rejection in sales ever again.

To your success and your future.

Good Training vs. Bad Training; be wise in which one you attend

As a trainer, speaker and author for many years.  I know what good training is and what bad training is.  I have delivered both of them myself.  I apologize publicly now to those participants.  They probably know who they are.  Also, I know the difference because I have experienced both myself many many times as a participant.

So what is the difference between good training versus bad training?

I am follower of many authors and speakers.  Many of them are ones that I reference in my training courses.  They are really good at speaking and motivating or inspiring you to think differently about your situation or about what a future situation could look like.  We all need these kinds of people and events in our life.

However, we also need what I call “skill” based training.  Meaning we actually look at concepts, learn them, and then apply them in a classroom environment/training environment where a coach can provide us feedback on how we applied the new skill in an application based approach.  This is the difference between good training and bad training.

How it works: 

We all must have the right attitude when we attend a training session.  This is on you to bring it with you.  Then it is up to the trainer to deliver new knowledge.  It may not be totally new knowledge, but it is knowledge that you think you know, or you used to know, and you may not be applying it correctly, or at all at this point in time. Which is why you are in the training to begin with.  Then, once you have the new knowledge you then must apply it two different ways.

1st:  In a real situation in the classroom environment where a coach can provide you feedback on how well you did it. We call this role-playing.

2nd: You apply it in the real world (in a real life scenario at your workplace) and then you tell your coach how it worked for you.  The coach would then provide you some feedback based on how well the situation went or didn’t go.

Lastly, you now take these new skills that you are applying frequently and start to change these into a skill or habit.  All of this takes time and a coach.

Now the other necessary requirements for good training versus bad training is this.  I typically have adults in my training courses.  Adults are busy, they have children, they usually know it all already (this isn’t you is it), they have been doing their job for many years, they don’t have the time to devote to training, etc.

So what does good training need for adults to actually learn:

Adults must want to learn:  This goes back to the attitude I mentioned earlier. We make decisions for two reasons.  We are usually desperate or we are inspired.  My hope is when you attend a training session you are inspired to do so. However, if you are desperate, it works to.  I just don’t recommend waiting that long to get there.
Adults will learn only when they see how they can apply it: It must help them today.  If it isn’t going to help them today, they are most likely not going to be interested in the training.
Adults learn by doing:  As I mentioned above, good training has an application piece to it.  Where you actually apply what you just learned and then get feedback on how well you did it.
Adults have problems: We all do right (lol).  However, an adult must see a problem with what they are currently doing and they can also see how the training can solve their problems. 
Experience exists:  Adults usually bring a certain amount of experience to the table during training.  They want to see how they can use that experience and then use the new knowledge and build upon that experience to a desired solution.  Good training allows adults to do just that.
Adults learn best in an informal situation: Children have to follow a curriculum. Often, adults learn by taking responsibility by the value and need of content they require to understand and the particular goals it will achieve, being in an inviting environment and having roles as an active participant in the learning process makes it efficient. (wikipedia)
Adults want guidance: Adults want guidance on how they did and how they can do it better.  This guidance will allow them to become better at their job and provide for their family.  They want guidance on how they can apply the concepts in what they are already doing. They don’t want to be told what they have to do and they don’t want to have to use everything the exact way.  They want to be able to take what they know and the new knowledge and apply it the way they see it working.

Now is this a promotion for Dale Carnegie Training?  Maybe.  Because we do exactly what I just outlined above.  So yes it is.  However, it is how adults learn as well.  You can’t argue that.

If you are an owner, manager, leader, or an individual and are looking to enhance your skills in leadership, sales, communication, employee engagement, presenting in front of a group, customer service, etc. you name it and the chances are we can assist you.

Please reach out to me at brian.willett@dalecarnegie.com or just respond in the comments area on this post.

kentuckiana.dalecarnegie.com 

To your success and your future.