How to help your sales staff improve their results? Develop a sales development training program and make sure to include key elements such as sales negotiation training.
Many businesses hire sales staff and send them out to 'do their thing'. It is important to hire the right sales people, however it is just as important to have a strong sales development plan and ensure that career sales training is part of your overall budget. It will help you to grow your sales and your business.
You want (and need) the best sales staff for your business: invest in a career sales training program to increase your sales.
Training your sales staff will improve their ability to adapt quickly to market conditions and product or service changes.
Sales development training for your sales team needs to be a continual process; the market is always changing and evolving, and sales strategies need to change and evolve right along with the market.
Your sales development plan and training needs to start when new sales people are hired and continues as new products or services are added or changed; and continues as the marketplace, and competitors, adapts.
Sales training is often overlooked. When you hire an experienced sales person, you expect them to be trained. However, if you want your newly recruited employees to be quickly effective, it is important to train them on your products and services and train them to sell in a way that complements and supports your small business plan, your strategy, your marketing plan, and your business operations plan.
Employee development training is a high return investment in your resources.
If your new hires are experienced sales people, you may have to re-train them to work in a way that is more conducive to your business vision and to your business values; and to have them focus on your unique value proposition (also known as unique selling proposition).
If your new hires are inexperienced, consider basic sales skills and career sales training first, then develop a more comprehensive sales development plan that provides for more in depth advanced sales techniques and sales negotiation training.
If you feel that you do not have the time to train, you need to understand that the investment of time and resources will pay off significantly if you develop an outstanding and outperforming sales staff. And that is true whether you have a sales staff of one, ten or hundreds.
If you feel that you do not have the knowledge to provide sales training, consider the advantages of outsourcing (find a sales training specialist capable of training effectively and efficiently) and hire a sales training consultant.
I advocate hiring a sales training consultant over sending your sales staff to general sales workshops or courses because you can, and should, engage the sales training consultant to develop a custom course and sales development plan specifically for your business.
Develop your program in such a way that it can be eventually taught by those who have completed the training.
Sales development training needs to focus on increasing awareness, understanding, and acceptance.
It also needs to focus on why people buy; if your sales staff can figure out why your customers buy, and then deliver on that 'why', you will greatly increase your sales.
Both need to focus on some of the reasons people buy:
To develop a strong and successful sales program, focus the sales development training on solutions to problems. These need to be genuine solutions to genuine problems that your customers face.
Homework for your sales staff: Have your sales people define some problems their customers face that your business can help to solve. If the training is focused on new, inexperienced sales staff, then have them develop a proposed (rather than actual) problems/solutions list. Let them be creative. Do not discount their ideas; help them to build a good list. Make sure that the solutions address the problems comprehensively. Have your sales people keep that list with them until they are very comfortable presenting solutions to your customers.
No matter how effective your sales development training program is, or is not, you must recognize that selling is primarily about having the right person in the sales job. You can train and develop employees to do the sales work, but if they are not capable of doing a good sales job for you (that is, fear of rejection, fragile ego, fear of public speaking, disorganized and unfocused, and more) no amount of training will help.
Invest in developing your sales staff by building a strong sales development plan and giving them ongoing training to improve their sales techniques and your sales results.
Return to Small Business Sales.
Effective Sales Negotiation Training is key to ensuring you and your clients are satisfied.
Key account management is a critical part of the selling process: learn more.
A good Sales Commissions program is a strong incentive for your staff.
Or find more business strategies and techniques; use this site as your Small Business Advisor.
Successful selling experiences require using more than one technique.
Yes, face-to-face selling (particularly through relationship building) is often one of the more successful tactics.
But other techniques and strategies include building touch points and sharing information.
In other words, educating your customer or prospect on your products and services and also providing information that will help your customer in their business; making sure that your products or services are highly differentiated from competitors' offerings and communicating that differentiation effectively; and clearly understanding what your customers need in terms of value and delivering it.
Communicate with your customers and prospects in person; over the phone; through the mail (yes, letters, cards, coupons and order forms have high response rates if well designed and well executed); over the Internet through blogs, emails, social media, webinars, and your website; through print materials such as catalogues, coupon books, brochures, business cards, flyers and more.
Build your sales approach as a campaign:
Plan to make contact on a regular and frequent basis (not too frequently to the point of irritating customers or too infrequently to the point of being forgotten) and align your campaign with a strong identity program that is consistent with your brand.
Customer loyalty is built by giving value first in all aspects of your business. As a small business owner or manager, you need to commit to offering the best products and/or services.
Ensure that you regularly ask your customers for input and feedback (and both listen to it and act on it) to continuously improve your processes.
Your customers will respond to the value that you add, not only to the solution you propose but also to the relationship you build together.
What do customers want? Market research says that customers have an expectation of good quality, good price and good service; that is the minimum requirement for doing business today.
What more do you need to provide?
Knowledge. Reliability. Consistency. Communication. Discover what your customers value, and provide it.
Note: customers have unique and individual needs; they do not all value the same things. Make sure you clearly understand what each individual customer or market segment wants or needs.
In a business to business selling environment, it used to be that it would take between seven or eight touches to make a sale (or not, since not all contact means that a prospect will buy).
In this Internet age, it takes more touches.
Why? Because we have become both 'ad blind' and somewhat 'insensitive' to touches.
What this means to the small business owner is that your communication (and touches) need to be different from others (not imitations or copies of what everyone else is doing), it needs to be believable and sincere, and it needs to be memorable.
In a business to business sales environment, the selling cycle takes longer to close (and is often more complex) than ever before.
To effectively grow your sales, you need build a plan that will help you to optimize your efforts.
Focus your planning efforts on a lean sales process that: will solve your customer's problem or challenge; has value (i.e. reduces time and/or cost); provides not only what the customer wants but more than has been identified (over-delivering); and that provides a solution that offers convenience, high quality, a price that is acceptable, competitive and covers the business' costs, and exceptional service.