Monthly Archives: March 2015
Sales Leaders Have a Role in The Retention of Sales Training
“Only 32% of respondents rate their organization effective at sustaining the impact of their sales training program.”
That sobering statistic comes from a recent research report by Richardson and Training Industry, Inc.
As a sales leader, you can have an impact on the retention of sales training, and it’s not as hard as it sounds. All you have to do is ask.
If you send a group of salespeople to sales training, and you want them to retain and use that training, you need to ask them what worked for them and how they’re using it. And, you have to do this repeatedly. People will give you what you ask for.
You might ask, “What is your plan is to use this particular piece of the training this month?” Then, the following month, you ask how it went — and what things are they going to work on next month.
The thing about salespeople is, if you give them a target, they’ll nearly kill themselves to achieve it.
The same is true about retention of training. If you ask them to apply it and then ask them to share with you how it has worked — and then to give you additional examples of how it worked — that lesson will become embedded in the day-to-day workflow. Then, you move to the next » Continue Reading.
Consultative Selling Process: Resolving Objections about the Economy
A Sales Professional who recently completed a Richardson Consultative Selling course wrote in an e-mail:
“Dear Richardson Team: I have been enjoying success in applying the Consultative Selling Process in my work with clients, and I definitely think my skills have improved since I completed the training! I especially learned a lot from the model for resolving objections. But, I am running into one big challenge that I can’t seem to address: my clients are STILL objecting that the economy is down, which is why they can’t move ahead on opportunities. With all the economic indicators pointing to an improving economy, I just don’t know how to resolve this objection. I can’t very well tell them they are wrong about the economy, but what else can I position in response? Please help.”
With the volatility that the financial markets have shown over the past 15 years, it is no wonder that decision-makers across a broad spectrum of industries would continue to show concern about the economy and take a conservative approach to spending. Even as the economy continues to improve, companies still may remain cautious about choosing investments and expenses wisely for fear of another economic downturn. There is good news, however, because the key to addressing this situation is already right in your hands: the Consultative Selling Process.
The writer of this » Continue Reading.
New Richardson Research Study Identifies Biggest Sales Challenges for 2015
Philadelphia, PA — March 25, 2015 — Richardson, a leading global sales training and sales effectiveness company, announced today the launch of a new research study, 2015 Selling Challenges.
This study, written by Michael Dalis, a Senior Consultant at Richardson, and SVP Marketing, Jim Brodo, highlights results from a survey that Richardson conducted at the end of 2014 with field sales representatives, senior sales professionals, and sales leaders to gauge what they felt would be their biggest selling challenges during 2015. The survey received more than 370 responses globally, mainly from B2B industries.
The survey focuses on prospecting, retaining and growing client relationships, and pricing/closing. The results from the study allow the reader to gain insight into the potential challenges that his/her sales organization may face in 2015 and plan how to overcome these obstacles. Some of the critical challenges that respondents felt they would face include:
18.59% of respondents said gaining appointments is the biggest prospecting challenge in 2015. 30.11% of respondents said providing insights and challenging clients is the most difficult challenge in expanding relationships in 2015. 30.61% of respondents said competing against a low-cost provider is the biggest challenge to closing a deal in 2015.
“The results of the survey support what we see in the market, working with thousands of sales reps and managers each year. It validates sales leader concerns about » Continue Reading.
Five Misperceptions about Consultative Selling
In a world of dramatically changed B2B buying behavior, Consultative Selling remains one of the best ways — if not the best way — to focus on the client’s business issues and needs (not products for sale) to ensure that the proposed solution drives the needed business outcomes for the client to achieve his/her goals.
But, because it’s not the shiniest, newest sales approach on the market, there are some misperceptions about its relevance today. Following are five common misperceptions.
Consultative Selling is not assertive enough. Consultative Selling dialogue skills are used to create an environment of openness and mutual respect — ingredients that are necessary to stimulate thinking and gain a deep understanding of the client’s unique situation, diagnose root cause, and recommend the best solution. The seller may need to challenge the client’s thinking in the dialogue but certainly must do so without challenging the person. The only way to do this is to create an environment of openness and mutual respect, which is only created through the use of Consultative Selling skills. Consultative Selling leads sellers to go native. It’s unusual, but not impossible, for sellers to focus on their clients at the expense of their own company. However, the objective with Consultative Selling is to win profitable business. If an individual is not behaving as necessary, it becomes a coaching opportunity » Continue Reading.
Why Consultative Selling Fosters Trust
In my last blog post, I focused on why Consultative Selling is still relevant. Today, I am going to look at why using a consultative selling approach can foster trust.
A Consultative Selling approach comes to life in the dialogue between the seller and the client with use of the Six Critical Skills: Presence, Relating, Questioning, Listening, Positioning, and Checking.
These skills give sellers the ability to navigate the dialogue in the moment by connecting with clients and gaining and keeping their openness and willingness to engage in productive dialogue.
Being consultative helps sellers accomplish two important things:
They gain needed information to deeply understand client needs, identify the right solution, and tailor what they say about products to ensure relevance and impact, and By maintaining their focus on and connection with the client, they create a positive buying experience for the client that fosters an ongoing relationship and trust.
By using the Six Critical Skills in a consultative dialogue, sellers can make sure the client feels heard, respected, understood, helped, and genuinely cared for. Just as important is what the client does not experience: a true consultative approach means the client never feels manipulated. Thus, trust has a place to sow its seeds and grow. So, the outcome of a truly consultative approach is a closer relationship and trust.
Why Consultative Selling Is Still Relevant
There will always be someone proclaiming that their New! Improved! sales model tops all others in getting through to today’s ultra-informed B2B buyer and in winning deals. Maybe it’s the pressure and stress of an increasingly competitive business environment that creates a kind of desperation around the search for new answers.
In looking for the next silver bullet for successful sales, we must be cautious not to get distracted from proven fundamentals.
Sellers do not need a radically new way of selling that contradicts or retires the principles of consultative selling. The goal of consultative selling is to focus on client needs vs. your product to ensure that your solution is relevant. If being relevant to clients still matters, then consultative selling, by definition, is still relevant.
We must remember that the philosophy, underlying psychology, and skills of consultative selling are timeless. They enable the seller to deeply understand the client’s unique situation and to tailor a solution that is in the client’s best interest by approaching the buying situation through the client’s eyes — and in doing so, the seller earns the client’s trust and business.
What is different today, in light of changes in the selling environment, is the need for sellers to have a higher-order level of skill in consultative selling to effectively leverage their knowledge, experience, and expertise to engage clients in insightful dialogue.
These higher-order » Continue Reading.
Sales Coaching without Secrets or a Hidden Agenda
One of the challenges that sales leaders face is recognizing that their job isn’t just to make their own targets, but also to support five, ten, or twenty people –– their entire sales teams –– in achieving their targets.
And, if these sales reps aren’t making their numbers, it’s up to the sales leader to help them figure out why and identify ways to improve performance.
There are two major pieces of information needed to make this happen:
What does it take to achieve the target? This involves the organization’s sales process and the skills and behaviors that salespeople need to use on the job. How can you, as the sales leader, help your team use this process and these skills and behaviors in the most effective way? The answer: coaching.
The secret of the sales coaching process at Richardson is that it shouldn’t be a secret. As a leader, you should tell your sales reps that you’re using a coaching process so that it’s not a secret. This shows there is no hidden agenda. And, even share what the process is with them so that you can use it together.
Sales coaching is not about you looking like the world’s most successful manager and leader; it’s about you sharing and transferring your knowledge and experience to people who don’t have it, collaborating with them in a nonjudgmental way –– in a » Continue Reading.
Sales 101: Five Techniques for Positioning a Price Increase
Karl is a Sales Professional with McGinniss and Company, a leading supplier of raw materials to manufacturers. For 15 years, Karl has been using Sales 101 techniques to build strong relationships with clients, despite a volatile economy that has driven prices down and materials costs up.
Fortunately, the economy is improving, and McGinniss is seeing the benefits through increases in sales as high as 10% in seven of the last eight quarters. As a result, McGinniss is now in a position to implement price increases for the first time in seven years.
Karl doesn’t know what to do.
Like many Sales Professionals in the volatile economic conditions of the 21st century, Karl has never had to communicate price increases to his clients. Lacking experience in positioning a price increase, he is afraid of weakening the strong relationships that he has developed, or worse, losing clients by delivering this difficult message. However, for Karl, as for many Sales Professionals, economic growth is making price increases inevitable.
Fortunately, it is possible to maintain strong client relationships in this situation by following five techniques borrowed from Sales 101 for leading a consultative conversation about price increases:
1) Know the reason for the price increase. There are a number of reasons for increasing prices. For example:
Your costs (materials, labor, facilities, etc.) have increased. The original pricing » Continue Reading.