Experience has shown me that for businesses like yours ‘getting more sales’ often comes at the top of the list of challenges. Even companies that are smashing their sales targets can often still feel frustrated at the level of potential opportunity not being exploited. The most common five challenges are
– Resistance amongst the team to generate new business, whether contacting potential customers or by requesting referrals. Many salespeople have become conditioned to being spoon fed leads
– Reluctance of ‘Non-sales’ people (I use quotation marks because I personally find the idea that anyone in a small company should not be responsible for sales at some level, ridiculous) to engage in selling conversations with existing customers and prospects
– Uncommitted closing of sales opportunities and ‘asking for the sale’, resulting in a big pipeline that never seems to move
– Inconsistent follow up of opportunities after the sales meeting or proposal
– Lack-lustre relationships with customers post sale, resulting in missed opportunities for testimonial, referral and additional sales
Effective sales requires just two things; a great sales process and great people. The process is the easy bit to set in place so the golden bullet for big performance improvement is to improve the abilities of the people involved. As a result I have been regularly called upon to deliver training to both direct sales and Customer service teams. What I have found is that most training, whilst useful, does not adequately deal with the fundamental reason for these challenges.
Sales training focuses on two things
Tactics –Surely if you just copy what successful salespeople do you will get the same results? When I was part of ActionCOACH this meant learning the 13 step sales process and wearing a blue suit, red tie and white shirt, having an expensive pen, presentation folder and following a best practice script. Some of this stuff was useful but it was a bit like buying an off the peg suit, it never quite fitted
Mindset – The theory goes something like this. Getting your people in a ‘positive selling mindset’ (loud music in the car before meetings, chanting affirmations and whooping on receipt of an order) will overcome any anxiety they may have about selling. Again this can be useful but its really putting a sticking plaster over a more fundamental challenge.
So how do you develop Ninja like selling skills and get your team permanently past the barriers to effective selling. This is where I come in.
If you strip all of the administration (quote preparation, order forms, CRM systems etc) there is only one thing that is truly important for salespeople to be effective. It’s the ability to connect and build relationship with customers. The biggest barrier to creating these connections is not overcome with a script, an affirmation or a posh pen. It resolves when you change the way people think about themselves and what sales and selling actually is. When you effect change at this level, performance and results effortlessly improve.
The confident seller
Connecting with others should be the most natural and effortless thing for any human to do (watch two children when they meet for the first time). Yet, as we grow up we increasingly allow our thinking to get in the way of such connection (they might not like me, they are different, I don’t want to trouble them etc).
However we find ourselves drawn to people who exude confidence, clarity and personal mastery. What if everyone in your ‘sales’ team showed up like this?
What stops them?
Most of us act out our lives oblivious to the role that our thinking is playing. Take cold calling. Most people I work with do not like cold calling and yet they don’t understand why. It is not to do with the physical actions (most people know how to use a phone and their mouth). Therefore it can only be the way they are thinking about the activity that affects their willingness to do it. This goes for every challenge that salespeople face in winning new business.
Fix the way they see themselves and the task and you overcome the challenge permanently.
Creating meaningful improvements to sales result
How would we go about delivering the changes needed to drive big improvements in sales results?
It’s a three step process.
Step One – Find true sales grounding
Initially we address the ideas that we are holding about ourselves and the role of selling. This requires that existing beliefs and ideas are disrupted and challenged to enable new, more useful ideas to emerge. I do this by helping people see how their mind works and how their established patterns of thinking show up in the daily stuff of sales. This understanding then allows them with little or no effort, to find a state from which selling becomes natural. Levels of confidence and clear thinking rise and they become aware of what it feels like to be at their grounded best.
Step Two – Develop your connection toolkit
In this step we explore attitudes and approaches to connecting with people when we are at our grounded best. We look at relationship building and specifically the use of language, questions, non-verbal signals and listening across a range of channels including face to face, the telephone, email and written documents. This enables anyone to become a ninja at both engaging and holding the attention of others.
Step Three – Get stuff done
Grounding and connection skills are not worth anything without action. Again generics do not work here becuase we are all different. Instead we build a customised activity plan based on targets for taking focused, intensive and measured action, as a matter of habit.
Included within this step we would look at the sales process and seek to refine and improve it in line with leading practices. This also includes building the habit of continuous self improvement.
So here is my plan to do things in a way that will create true sales breakthroughs.
Sales Ninja is a four month public training begins for people who are either involved in direct sales activity or that have opportunities to sell that they are not taking (Customer services and customer facing operations people). It is a blend of small group (a maximum of six in each Ninja group) and 1-1 sessions.
Each participant will undertake the following in their group
– A one day training session covering grounding and connection skills.
– Three further training sessions exploring sales principles, communication skills and action taking
– Three one to one sessions with me exploring their specific sales challenges and reviewing their progress
– 24/7 email support from me
The training comes with a, no questions asked, money back guarantee at the end. If are not fully satisfied with what the participant learned and the breakthroughs they received I will return the money without hesitation.
The cost of a place on this training is £1295 + VAT per person.
Based on an average gross margin across my varied client base a participant would need to be able to add just £3000 in sales value for the programme to have funded itself. I’m aiming for much higher results than that of course.
To book places on the training simply drop me an email here and I will get in touch with you. If you would like to discuss any aspect of this training, including the option to run it ‘in-house’, you can book a fifteen minute slot with me by clicking on this link.