Published on March 6, 2014
Why Sales Leaders Must Own Sales Coaching NOW Sales Coaching Hits the Bulls Eye! Presented by: Tim Hagen, President of Sales Progress (A Training Reinforcement Partner Co.)
Common Sales Challenges 1. Cold calling 5. Relationship building 2. Asking for an order 6. Professional sales mentality 3. Needs-based selling 7. Negotiating 4. Active listening 8. Handling price objections 9. “We already have a vendor” objection 10. “It’s a tough economy” sales representative 11. “No time” to prospect sales representative
Reason #1: Cold calling Major Challenge: Most people hate it. It’s the necessary evil but few embrace it and do it with confidence. A HUGE opportunity for any sales team. Hint: Training alone will NEVER make a sales person feel comfortable. It takes practice and positive reinforcement. This requires their direct manager to be involved! Suggested Activity: Email the manager each week a success you had with cold calling, Be prepared to share the client name and why you felt you were successful. The goal of this activity is to help the representative maintain a positive pursuit of success as it relates to cold calling.
Reason #2: Asking for an order Major Challenge: Many fear this. Here’s a question: What are you going to do to successfully ask for an order from ABC Company? Hint: Some, NOT all, are hesitant to ask for the order. Some have not earned the right because they have not learned enough about the prospect’s needs; therefore, success is much more difficult. Suggested Activity: Schedule a peer to peer coaching session for the employee. Have him/her pair up with a representative who is an expert at asking for orders and have them role-play scenarios. The goal of this activity is to help the representative become confident and skilled when asking for orders as well as sharing what they learned to earn the right to ask for the order
Reason #3: Needs-Based Selling Major Challenge: What specific questions are the sales people going to ask to successfully position themselves and the company? Hint: Most sales people are “talkers” and while most know the difference between open and closeended questions, they still pigeon-hole themselves by asking close-ended questions. This is an art form that has sadly gone by the wayside! Suggested Activity: Have each employee email you one success they had each week and identify the question they felt worked best with the customer. The goal of this activity is to help the representative become confident and skilled when asking a variety of questions.
Reason #4 Active Listening Major Challenge: This one was easy. A sales person who listens … listens REALLY well … is RARE. Hint: Active listening is the ability to state back what a prospect or client said. When was the last time a sales person did that for you? Suggested Activity: Have each employee email you one success they had each week and identify the question they felt worked best with the customer, as well as ,what they learned that will position them to have success. The goal of this activity is to help the representative become consistent with active listening in the selling process.
Reason #5: Relationship Building Major Challenge: Rapport and getting along is NOT a great relationship. A great relationship is when a customer views the sales person as someone they would never replace! Hint: Most sales people assume they have a relationship that others do not. BIG assumption! This question will build the awareness that “relationship building” cannot merely be a concept, but must be a series of actions that deepen customer relationships to make it difficult for a customer to leave the relationship. Suggested Activity: Have each employee email you one success they had each week and identify the specific customer and the relationship-building action they took. The goal of this activity is to help the representative become consistent with relationship -building actions!
Reason #6: Professional Sales Mentality Major Challenge: Most reps take credit when things are good and blame things like the economy when things are tough. Hint: This “Self-Actualized” question will frame the employee’s mind to remember to not only cross-sell, but use a specific question that drives success. What specific question do you use when successfully crossselling? Suggested Activity: Have each employee email you one success they had each week and identify the crossselling question they felt worked best with the customer, as well as, what they learned that will position them to have success. The goal of this activity is to help the representative become consistent with crossselling within the selling process.
Reason #7: Negotiating Major Challenge: Most sales people “shoot from the hip” and do not deploy a process. Hint: This question will build their awareness, as well as yours, as to their “true” preparedness of “How to Negotiate.” No preparation will lead to price discounting and brand value being lowered. “What process or series of steps do you take when the negotiating process starts?” Suggested Activity: Have the employee teach you their response to price objections and what they say. Be prepared, as most will not have a well defined statement or response. This is where the opportunity lies. The goal of this activity is to help the representative become aware of the need to develop a set of responses to truly be prepared to successfully handle price objections.
Reason #8: Price Objections Major Challenge: Most sales people are prepared to lower price to NOT lose the sales or relationship. Hint: This question will build their awareness, as well as yours, as to their “true” preparedness of “Handling Price Objections.” “What do you “specifically” say when a customer gives a price objection (what do you say at that moment)?” Suggested Activity: Have the employee teach you their system or steps to handling price objections. Be prepared, as most will not have a process or set of steps. The goal of this activity is to help the representative become aware of the need to develop a true process for handling price objections. This can lead to practice sessions, if the steps are clearly laid out.
Reason #9 “We Already Work With Someone” Objection Major Challenge: Most reps get discouraged at this point and the prospect can hear that. Hint: Suggested Activity: After the question, do not say anything. Remain silent – it is a powerful tool for allowing them to reflect on how they actually handle the situation. If they can’t answer, they will need coaching for skill development. Schedule a group meeting to brainstorm ideas. Assign a Self -Directed Learning (SDL) Project, having each rep find and read an article on combating vendor objections. Be sure to have them email the manager and team members what they learned. When a prospect indicates that they already use a current vendor, what do you say at that moment to counter the objection? The goal of this activity is to generate ideas and have your team share information with one another.
Reason #10: “It’s a Tough Economy” Rep Major Challenge: Most sales people take credit when things are good, but when things are tough, the “economy” becomes their crutch for not creating success. Ironically, sales people will never give a stronger economy credit when their sales go up! Hint: This question will build their awareness, as well as ,yours as to their “true” attitude to selling in difficult times. “If the President were to announce the economy is predicted to remain the same for the next ten years, what strategies would you take to overcome the challenging economic times?” Suggested Activity: It’s okay if they back down or do not have a well thought-out response. The key is to get them back on track with knowing a “positive attitude” when selling is the ONLY choice they can really make. The goal of this activity is to help the representative become aware of the need to maintain a positive attitude when selling!
Reason #11: “No Time” To Prospect Rep Major Challenge: Question for Rep: “Hypothetically, if I were to tell you that you put your selling success at great risk when you are not prospecting and filling up your pipeline, how would you react? Hint: This question will normally elicit a response that is filled with reasons why they cannot prospect, but ultimately will get a response that indicates they know they need to prospect more. The key is to respond with, “What can we do together to successfully get you back on track in regard to dedicated time to prospecting?” Suggested Activity: The goal is to have a framed and positive conversation to get the rep dedicated to a committed time to prospect and then coach to it! The goal of this activity is to gain agreement on the committed time and monitor the rep’s ability to consistently adhere to the commitment.
Summary The goal of any good sales leader should be to: 1. Set expectations 2. Ask questions 3. Gain clarity of rep’s challenges and needs 4. Develop actions for consistent and dedicated performance improvement 5. Maintain a structured and scheduled approach for performance improvement
Thank You I hope this white paper has helped you with some new approaches to driving your team’s selling success. Tim Hagen President of Sales Progress LLC and Training Reinforcement Partners For additional information, read our white papers: 7 Step Sales Training Strategy: http://www.salesprogress.com/7-step-sales-training-strategy-0 Price Objections Are Your Opportunities: http://www.salesprogress.com/price-objections-are-your-opportunities 7 Ways to Start Sales Coaching http://www.salesprogress.com/7-ways-to-start-sales-coaching#.UxY0m-NdWN0
Contact Us About Tim Hagen Tim Hagen founded Sales Progress, a Training Reinforcement Partner Company, in 1997. Tim has authored the Sales Progress Coaching Training System™. This system teaches sales and non- sales leaders how to systematically coach their employees to dramatically higher levels of performance! Ask About Our “Sales Progress Coaching Training System” “Where We Build Managers Into Powerful Sales Coaches” Connect with Tim: Phone: 262-377-5655 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 262-227-8563 Visit Our Website: www.salesprogress.com Join our Blog: http://www.salesprogress.com/coaching-leadership/ LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/timhagen For more information, please visit us at: www.salesprogress.com
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