Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day

Wishing all of our readers a Happy Labor Day. As summer comes to an end … savor those last few days.

Look for our next post on September 3rd.

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Medical device sales success – an urgent need to do something different – An STC Classic

A Classic - '63 Corvette

A Classic – ’63 Corvette

The medical device market faces transformational market challenges – decision criteria shifting from clinical to economic, decision-making moving from local hospitals to IDNs, the rise of GPOs, and the dramatic impact of new governmental regulations.  As a result of all that, medical device companies are under tremendous pressure to reduce prices while providing more value to customers.

Given these changes there are a number of tactical changes that can and should be considered, but what about a fundamental strategy shift?  Are there ideas that are not just about doing a better job doing what you are doing, but are about doing something differently?

Key Account Managers (KAMs) in Medical Device Sales 

One strategy with a great track record for the latter is the implementation of a Key Account Manager (KAM) program.

KAM programs can be configured in a number of ways.  However, a common approach is a KAM is responsible and accountable for the entire business development effort – crossing product lines and often across geographies.

Before we examine some of the advantages, it is important to note that KAMs are not just territory sales reps with another label.  They are more knowledgeable about the market, industry, and their own organization – they are business savvy. And, they are able to translate all that expertise in to powerful customer interactions because they also posses a high level of selling skills.

So what are some of the payoffs?

Executive level meetings.  They are more likely to be able to gain access at the executive level and have more skilled conversations focused on business and financial issues.  This level and type of conversation is now a requirement for sales success.

Institutional resources.  By knowledge and authority KAMs are able to tap the total resources of their organization and to effectively work with and leverage the sales reps and support personnel in the various divisions of their companies.  This “integrated” approach provides a path for meeting the customer’s new price and value demands while maintaining a viable overall profit profile.

Partners versus sellers.  They can change the nature of the relationship with the customer because they are in a position to think and act strategically about business development and manage deals for the company’s entire product portfolio.  This is a win/win shift because it results in sales growth and profit while saving costs – and improving customer support.  It also permits the implementation of log-term value-added programs that benefit both partners.

How do you train KAMs? 

Sales training for KAMs is not just more of the same.  Anyone assuming a KAE position is already well versed and experienced in fundamental sales skills, product knowledge, and institutional awareness.  So, let’s explore the next step – Sales Training 2.0.

First, we will take a look at the differences from a content perspective.  Some Sales 2.0 knowledge and skill sets KAMs need to master are:

  • Hospital business economics and buying processes.
  • Business, clinical, technology, and legislative trends in the health care industry.
  • Knowledge of their company’s total product portfolio, business initiatives and pricing models.
  • Consultative selling skills.
  • Managing and coaching skills for working with account executives and field sales support

Second, from an instructional design perspective, sales training for KAEs must be responsive to a target audience comprised of an experienced and talented group of sales people who have taken on a very difficult and demanding job assignment.  Therefore, the sales training cannot just be a modified version of what already is in place for training territory reps; the learning objectives are qualitatively different and the level of required proficiency is significantly greater – mastery would be the goal.  KAE sales training needs to achieve three overall objectives:

  • Help the KAMs master the four new bodies of knowledge and skill sets delineated in the previous paragraph.
  • Assist the KAMs to adjust and adapt their existing core selling skills to the new buying environment that is experiencing an ongoing transformation shift.  This challenge should be accomplished recognizing that the KAEs must interact with different call points that hold differing definitions of value.
  • Provide a way to help integrate and apply the new and existing competencies so that the KAMs can use those competencies to formulate and execute effective strategies for developing and capturing the business.

The health-care industry is undergoing transformational changes.  Hospitals anticipate a 15-20 percent reduction in reimbursements; hence they are looking at costs reduction from a new perspective.  It is no loner about negotiating purchase price; it is about capturing a reduction in end-to-end supply chain expenditures.  Hence they are interested in vendors who can be partners who can help them make the required transitions – not just suppliers.

If you found this post helpful, you might want to join the conversation and subscribe to the Sales Training Connection.

©2014 Sales Momentum®

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Sales process – it must mirror the customer’s buying process

Sales process

Sales process

In the last ten years a substantial amount of time, effort, and money has been devoted to discussing the sales process.  Listen to a conversation about the sales process and it usually begins by someone saying something like:

  • “We have very aggressive sales targets and we’re just not getting there.”
  • “We’re not leveraging our own best practices – a lot of our sales reps are simply doing what they did the last time.”
  • “Our customers’ buying process has undergone dramatic changes but we’re still selling like we always did.”

Whether or not you have consciously addressed the topic of putting in place or modifying your sales process – it is happening everyday.  It is whatever your salespeople are doing on a given day to navigate the customer’s buying process.

If you want to put in place a more effective sales process, avoid these two pitfalls.

Lack of definitional clarity.  Sales process is one of those sales concepts that unfortunately means something different for each person with whom you talk. Some would say if you put in place a new questioning model you have changed your sales process. Others would say that is simply adopting a new questioning model. Try it.  Ask someone what their sales process is and a good bet is you will get not just different answers but entirely different types of answers.

To make something better everyone needs to have a clear and common vision of the topic at hand – it’s about being on the same page.

Our best suggestion is to restrict the term sales process to mean the overall set of steps you take from beginning and end of your sales cycle to win the business versus using the term interchangeably with concepts related to selling techniques, models, frameworks, and best practices.

Unbridled compliance.  It is not a good idea for a whole bunch of reasons to have everyone do their own thing – that is not the road to success in today’s market.  That’s an easy one.

On the other hand, in today’s disruptive buying environment it is equally true that unbridled compliance to a standard sales process can have its own pitfalls.

The greatest risk is that rigorously following any standardized process only works when one is absolutely clear that you are following a path that leads to success.  In the B2B market the problem is many companies are going through transformational changes.  These changes are impacting what they buy, how they buy, and what they are willing to pay for it.

So, a strategic caution is in order: Are you doing a good job driving compliance to a sales process that is more about what and how customers were buying five years ago versus what they are doing here and now?

Summary.  On the sales process scale of “everyone does their own thing to blind compliance” we suggest being somewhere in the middle.

Introduce a well thought out sales process because it can contribute to replicating success and scaling the business.  But, beware of overdone rigor and excessive compliance.  The latter will tend to eliminate innovation and discourage the positive deviants among you from exploring the ideas that will define what success looks like tomorrow.

 

If you found this post helpful, you might want to join the conversation and subscribe to the Sales Training Connection.

©2014 Sales Momentum, LLC

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Sales productivity – the era of the absence of change is over

Sales simulation

Sales Simulations

In most markets, customers are significantly changing how they do business. In some cases, such as the health care industry, these changes certainly can be labeled transformational – as a result who does the buying, what they buy, and what they are willing to pay for it are all changing.

However, the more important point for those in sales leadership roles is this period of change is unlikely to settle down into a new stable buying environmentInstead the new normal is more likely to be continuous change – not the absence of change.

What does this all means for sales leadership?  As any senior sales leader will share – it means many things.  But one fundamental implication is: in times of continuous change it is unlikely that a B2B sales force can continue to prosper by simply doing a better job doing what they are doing. Instead there must be an ongoing effort to examine and analyze and then adjust and adapt every aspect of your sales effort – from the go-to-market strategy to the organization structure to what your sales team is doing and how they are doing it.

Let’s focus just on the latter issue, the sales team, and examine three ideas for dealing with a period of continuous change.

1. Focus on the pivotal job first – the front-line sales manager.  It is difficult to change everything and everyone all at once.  It makes sense to identify and focus first on the pivotal jobs.  Install a process for getting that right and many other good things will happen.

When it comes to sales the pivotal job is the front-line sales manager.  If a sales force is going to successfully adjust and adapt to continuous change, then the role of the front-line sales manager needs to be the first focus of attention. Ask these questions on a ongoing basis:

  • Are the sales managers spending their time doing the right things if not what needs to change?
  • Do the sales managers know what successful selling looks like and if not how can that be corrected?
  • Are the sales managers coaching their teams if not is it an issue of time and/or skill?

2. Address the soft stuff.  Attitudes, mind-sets, and bits and pieces of culture all need to be revisited if a sales team is going to do more than just a better job doing what they are doing.   In the end, it is often the soft stuff where major change efforts fail.  For example, it is important to develop a shared vision and commitment to what needs to be done – it is hard to imagine sales reps continuously doing things differently if they do not see a reason why such an effort is necessary.

If new attitudes and mindsets are to be adopted across the sales function, then everyone needs to come to the party – front-line sales managers, sales reps, tech support, and marketing.  This all requires substantial planning and communication by the senior leadership.

3. Revisit sales skills training. Most companies engaged in major B2B sales have in place an effective core sales training curriculum– programs that help sales reps develop effective account strategies and to plan and execute sales calls.

 In most cases the challenge for achieving success in the new normal is not about developing an entirely new set of sales skills – it’s about helping sales reps to adjust and adapt their existing skills to a new set of conditions.  From a sales training perspective this is a significantly different challenge – one that requires a different type of skill development perspective.  Some suggestions:

    • Stop viewing training as an episodic event and start viewing it as an ongoing process.
    • Establish a culture where sales reps take on personnel responsibility for some of the performance improvement.
    • Leverage the power of newer sales training methodologies like online sales training, simulations, and gamification strategies.
    • Get serious about sales coaching, modeling and mentoring.

Summary.  In Sales, when the reset button does not return conditions to the old normal, one of the results you can count on is a new set of winners and losers will emerge.   Major trap: doing too little, too late and ending up being among the latter.

If you found this post helpful, you might want to join the conversation and subscribe to the Sales Training Connection.

©2014 Sales Momentum, LLC

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Onboarding salespeople – yesterday’s good is not good enough

Onboarding New Sales Reps

Onboarding New Sales Reps

How salespeople are onboarded is a significant factor for building sales success.  Unfortunately, it is historically one of the most underemphasized aspects of sales performance development.  Great onboarding programs for new sales people are still the exception. This lack of emphasis is part of the larger problem companies have with Talent Management.

If your company put in place the onboarding system for your sales force more than five years ago, it is likely time to reassess.  Marketplace and organizational changes have significantly impacted what an optimal system looks like.  Let’s take a look:

1. Success matters more.  Because of global competition and new manufacturing technologies it has become increasingly difficult to win by product alone, the number of sustainable competitive advantages has decreased hence the importance of having a world-class sales force has increased.

Today a sales team needs to not only communicate the value of what they sell but also create value by the way the sell. They need to be a competitive advantage, as well as, being able to sell a competitive advantage.

Do you want to learn more about selling value? Here is a free online lecture on Selling Value – starting with Ask, Listen, then Talk.

2. Job demands are greater.  In sales there is a “Book of Knowledge.”  For many companies that book has expanded from a manageable set of chapters to a tome that is encyclopedic in scope.  To be a top sales performer today, a salesperson has to know more and know it at a higher level of proficiency.

The customer’s expectations have shifted.  Just being a purveyor of product knowledge will not carry the day.  The customer knows a tremendous amount about your company and your products before they even engage you in the buying process.  On the sales side of the table the customers expects salespeople to know about their industry and challenges and be in a position to bring fresh ideas and new insights to the engagement.

3. Specialization of the sales function has increased.  If the sales efforts in most companies were studied under a microscope, they would reveal a greater demand for more sales job positions and specializations than in times past.  Because customers are demanding greater and in some cases different expertise from the sales team, the number and kinds of technical sales support people need to be increased.

What type and level of sales skills should technical sales support people get as part of their onboarding – the answer varies by role but zero is seldom the correct answer.  A special issue is how to start from the beginning on how the salespeople and technical sales support can function as an integrated sales team.

4. Generational differences are significant.  New people coming into the sales function are from a generation with a different set of expectations, learning preferences, and experience sets. This shift provides a huge opportunity and a new set of challenges.

One challenge is what constitutes a compelling class is dramatically different.  The new generation brings a level of knowledge about learning technology that could not even be speculated about five years ago.  They know how to use technology to learn and they expect those designing the courses to be equally savvy.  Do stuff online – employ gamification strategies – constantly engage and lose the 60 PowerPoint slides decks.

If one could return to an earlier age, onboarding new salespeople would be a relatively straightforward process at the time of hire.  Not so, if you fast forward to the present.

Today, if you want a world-class sales team you need to define onboarding as an on-going training process, no a hiring event.  Sales training programs are needed not just for onboarding new salespeople but also for upboarding your existing sales team to deal with an increasingly changing buying environment.

As your company enters new markets, launches new products, deals with keener competitors, and copes with ever changing demands within customer organizations, sales training is one of the answers for helping your sales team adjust and adapt their existing skill set to the new market reality.

The need for sales training is now driven by the rate of change in the market not the elapsed time since the last program.   

It’s difficult to overemphasize the potential payoff of developing a world-class sales team. You simply cannot sustain competitive advantage overtime, if you don’t invest in skill development all the time.  Building a state-of-the-art onboarding and upboarding process is an inherent part of that solution.

Looking to develop your sales skills? Sign up here.

If you found this post helpful, you might want to join the conversation and subscribe to the Sales Training Connection.

©2014 Sales Momentum, LLC

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Internal champions – remember you are Not there most of the time

Internal Champion

Internal Champion

Many things are important to be successful in B2B sales.  Some topics seem to be talked about a lot; others receive less attention.  One that doesn’t get a lot of attention is internal champions.

Travel back 10 years or so and you might argue that having an internal champion was a good idea to keep in mind but it was hardly a critical success factor.  Today it is much harder to be that cavalier.

Learn more about internal champions and other sales skills – sign up here.

Sales is more challenging today.  With the rise of more committees, there are more people involved in making buying decisions, sellers are engaged later in the buying cycle, and, increasingly a lot of the selling is going on when you not there.  As a matter of fact in today’s market, you are not there most of the time.

So at this point developing an internal champion has moved from a nice-to-do to a must-do.

7 tips for developing the right internal champions

  1. Distinguish between account friends and internal champions – An account friend likes and supports everyone, an internal champion is an advocate for you.  An internal champion helps you plan and execute your strategy to win the business.
  2. Consider multiple people – Don’t just focus on the first person you run into – meet multiple people before “settling in” on whom to develop as an internal champion.
  3. Check access – Make sure they have access to key players.  One of the greatest traps is selecting someone; spending the time to develop them and then finding out they are “willing” but not “able” to help.
  4. Rehearse – Recognize that time must be spent rehearsing the internal champion to tell your story.  Although the internal champion knows their company, they don’t know your competitive advantages as well as you do.  Rehearsing is all about leveraging both bodies of knowledge so the internal champion can position you effectively.
  5. Check the interest in your product – Find someone who is interested in your product or service. It is difficult to have someone support you over time if they do not really believe in the message.  You can help people to tell a story; it’s harder to help them to believe a story.
  6. Consider having more than one – There are numerous reasons for having more than one internal champion in an account such as: different types of expertise or different levels of access.  The longer and more complex the buying cycle, the more important this notion becomes.
  7. Recognize the relationship must be a two-way street – There must be something in it for the internal champion.  Well within the limit of business ethics, there are numerous things you can do to help the internal champion as an individual and as a contributor to their company.

Because internal champions are a must-have, how you go about developing one should be a part of the account strategy for every salesperson in every major account.  In order to make that happen, front-line sales managers need to establish developing and managing internal champions as a sales coaching priority.  Developing internal champions is a sales skill like any other sales skill.  So sales coaching is as an important piece of the puzzle for getting it right.

If you found this post helpful, you might want to join the conversation and subscribe to the Sales Training Connection.

©2014 Sales Momentum, LLC

 

 

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New hire sales training – an investment worth making

New hire sales training

New hire sales training

A short quiz for sales leaders – How much has the buying process changed in your market in the last five years?  Question two – Have you taken a serious look at updating your new hire sales training to keep up with the changes?  Here we are talking about sales skills training not product or welcome-to-the-company training.

If you are like the sales leaders in most companies, the answer to the first question sounds something like: “It has been breathtaking.”

However, there is usually more variability in the responses to the second question.  They range from “We have taken a pretty serious look at new hire sales training because it’s a big deal” to “We have been busy with other priorities plus the budgets have been cut so we have postponed the new hire training initiative.”

If your response to the change question is like most, but your answer to the second question is essentially “not much,” then it is worthwhile to pause.   Great new hire sales training can make a difference on some of those bottom-line issues like retention, early wins, and motivation.  The larger the number of new hires on boarded, the greater the impact.

The good news – in the last several years there have been a number of good things happening in new hire sales training.  In the past new hire sales training has often just been a shorter or simplified version of the sales skill training for the existing sales force.

Emerging work suggests sales training for new hires should be specifically designed for new hires. Although the same sales process should be introduced, “what is taught” and “how it is taught” needs to be designed for the unique challenges facing new hires.

Five designs have proven to be particularly effective for new hire sales training

Expert Video Messaging.  Top performers in the existing sales force possess a wealth of experience and insight of value to new hires.  Therefore, for various topics throughout the program, pre-recorded video snippets of different members of the sales force can be used to deliver suggestions and best practices to the class.

These videos can be used to address standard topics like: How to open a call, closing, objection handling, and asking questions.  They can also be used to focus on topics uniquely important for new hires: How do you get started in your territory, how do you establish credibility, or if I was starting again, what is one thing I would do differently?

Excellence Modeling.  When it comes to new hires, it is important to demonstrate excellence, rather than just talk about it.  Therefore for new hire training, “scripts” can be developed for selected skill sets that illustrate what excellence looks and sounds like.

For example, scripts can be effective for getting across the trap of jumping in too soon and doing a “Product Dump” vs. employing active listening and questioning skills to uncover and explore the customer problem and then presenting your solution.  “Ineffective” and “Effective” scripts can be reviewed and discussed to enable the participants to view the interaction from the customer’s perspective and to clearly see the difference between effective and ineffective behavior.

Scenario Analysis.  In new hire programs, pervasive use should be made of real-world scenario exercises. Take the topic Establishing Credibility: real-world scenarios related to challenges for establishing credibility can be presented and the participants asked to develop approaches for addressing the challenges.

The idea is to be more prescriptive – so, one series of exercises might be: play a pre-recorded video snippet providing some best practices about establishing credibility, discuss the best practices, and then immediately get the participants to apply those ideas to customized real-world scenarios about establishing credibility.

Leverage the Power of Online Sales Training.  There is a knowledge component to every sales skill set.  The knowledge piece can be learned via self-instructed online training.  There are several advantages to using online training:

  • Ease of use.  The training can take place anytime – anyplace.
  • Self paced.  In most new hire cohorts there are some people that are new to selling and some that are experienced but new to the company.  With online training each person can navigate the course at his or her own speed.
  • Consistency of message.  With online training you are guaranteeing that the same message can be delivered in the same way to all the new hires.

 Use of Sales Simulations.  Sales simulations are often used as a component in programs for the existing sales team for advanced training. Sales simulation can also be an effective component to incorporate into a new sales hire program.  The caveat is the template to design the simulation needs to be different.  It needs to be simpler: less detailed product knowledge, different customer contacts, and easier sales challenges.  Plus, more time needs to be allotted for planning and feedback. One template that works well is a “week-in-the-life” construct.  A series of typical situations are presented that a new hire is likely to encounter during a week in their new life; they are then asked to plan and execute sales calls that handle these situations.

Providing new hire salespeople a great kick-start can go a long way in providing initial confidence and even some early wins.  All too often new hire sales training is an area that receives less than the appropriate priority.  But the results of great new hire sales training can show up in revenue figures, in turnover numbers, and in some cases – in ways not imagined.

If you found this post helpful, you might want to join the conversation and subscribe to the Sales Training Connection.

©2014 Sales Momentum, LLC

 

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Ask more questions – meet expectations, win more sales

Successful sales calls ask more questions

Successful sales calls – ask more questions

What customers expect from salespeople today is different than yesterday.  Simply being good at developing relationships and having a commanding knowledge of your product are necessary but not sufficient.

As matter of fact, when it comes to being a purveyor of product knowledge it is well to remember that currently customers have a substantial understanding of your products and your competitors before they even engage you in the buying process.

Today what differentiates you from your competitors is your ability to bring a consultative mindset to the engagement.  Customers expect you to help them go where they need to go by providing fresh ideas and new insights. 

So, if you thought asking questions was a key skill set five years ago, just double the importance quotation you assigned to the requirement.  Becoming skillful at asking questions is more important than ever for achieving sales success and it is not as easy to become skillful.

Meet the asking questions challenge – 4 best practices

  • Take accountability for excellence Most salespeople have the opportunity to attend company-sponsored sales training every couple of years.  More then likely asking questions is a topic on the agenda.  However, today formal learning cannot be an episodic.  Continuous learning is required.  So if you want to develop the required level of excellence you need to take personal responsibility for continuous learning via all the sources that are available like – online learning courses, blogs, and skilled colleagues.
  • Up the preparation game.  Asking questions is not a content-free exercise.  It is about more than knowing the difference between open and closed questions.  Time needs to be spent developing an understanding of the customer industry and a high level of knowledge regarding the company’s specific challenges and opportunities.
  • Get serious about pre-call planningUsing questions skillfully in a consultative-level business conversation is something that is hard to do for the first time in real-time.  It makes sense in your pre-call planning to write down the three or four key questions you want to integrate into your conversation.  Think about what you want to ask and how you are going to ask it.
  • Solicit feedback.  Practice does not make perfect – it’s about practice and feedback.  Search out opportunities to get feedback on your questioning skills – from your manager on coaching calls and from your team members on joint calls.  Optimize your opportunities for getting better.           

Regardless of how good you are at asking questions in sales calls – our best suggestion is put time and effort into getting better.  And, in doing so remember asking questions is about more than finding out information; it is a powerful way to help the person on the other side table to think and act creatively.

Do you want to take a deeper dive into asking questions and other sales skills? Click here.

If you found this post helpful, you might want to join the conversation and subscribe to the Sales Training Connection.

©2014 Sales Momentum, LLC

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Sales fundamentals – remember fundamental and simple are not synonymous

Sales fundamentalsThere are sales fundamentals required for winning in today’s highly competitive market, ranging from basic lessons like: “Do what you say you are going to do” and “If you don’t know, don’t pretend” to core performance skills like asking questions and active listening.

Given the extensive nature of the Book of Knowledge for a salesperson to be competitive in today’s market, why the big fuss about the fundamentals?  After all, there are a lot of advanced sales skills and bodies of knowledge requiring attention.

Four reasons stand out:

  • Fundamental and simple are not synonymous.  It’s true in sports; it’s true in leadership and it’s true in selling.  There is nothing simple about the fundamentals.  Becoming excellent, which is the standard, requires time, effort, and a bit of humility.
  • Frequency matters.  It takes a long time and a lot of effort to master any skill.  So, it makes great sense to commit to making an investment when the skill in question can be leveraged in all kinds of ways.  One of the characteristics of the sales fundamentals is the high frequency of use.  Take skills like asking questions or active listening.  Regardless of the purpose of the sales call or the person on the other side of the table, these two sales skill sets are a part of the formula for sales success.
  • Fundamentals enable advanced skill development.  Let’s take another difficult discipline – mathematics.  Like sales, the skill sets in mathematics are hierarchical – leaning more advanced skills can only be accomplished after the fundamentals are in place.  For example, you can’t learn calculus without trigonometry.  In sales, getting good at an advanced skill like negotiation requires being very good at asking questions and the ability to build and maintain customer relationships requires a number of the fundamentals including objection handling.
  • Transformational shifts are occurring.  In many markets, like healthcare, transformational shifts are occurring in the buying environment.  The buying processes involve more group decisions, senior-level involvement, keener competition, and more price pressures making this sale more challenging than ever.  To succeed even the most successful salespeople have to adjust and adapt what they do to the new reality.  The list of fundamentals doesn’t change but how they are applied do.

We are making a big deal about sales fundamentals because they are more important than ever; they must be applied in more challenging situations and they are pervasive.  You need them on every sales call regardless of where you are in the sales process.

Want to take a deeper dive into sales fundamentals? Click here.

If you found this post helpful, you might want to join the conversation and subscribe to the Sales Training Connection.

©2014 Sales Momentum, LLC

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5 tips to start listening before a sales call begins

Active listeningA week in the field with sales reps and you’ll see too many sales calls where the sales reps just talk too much. Inquire why and you’ll hear comments like these: “a great product will sell itself if I just talk about …” or “my customers tell me they want to know everything about our new …” or “ if I am talking I know the customer will forget about that objection.” And of course, we’ve all heard that“nature abhors a vacuum.”

Regardless of the “why”, the end result is clear. By talking, the sales rep isn’t listening.

We’ve written a lot about active listening - its importance and how to’s. One point we haven’t raised is when active listening starts. Contrary to popular thinking, active listening in sales calls starts before the sales call begins.

5 tips for preparing for sales calls before your sales call begins

1. Clear your mind of distractions so you can focus 100% on the customer – make notes or tasks lists that you can pick up later.

2. Pre-call plan so the sales call is focused and you prevent brain freeze.Call Planning

3. Plan in advance to limit the time you spend talking to 20% to 25% of the conversaetion.

4. Drop the assumption that you already know exactly what the customer needs or will say.

5. Turn off your tablet, computer, phone and other beeping devices.

Do you want to take a deeper dive into active listening, call planning and other sales skills? Click here.

If you found this post helpful, you might want to join the conversation and subscribe to the Sales Training Connection.

©2014 Sales Momentum, LLC

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