How valuable is sales training in small business sales success?
1. Relationship is still critical when you are trying to make a purchase decision.
When I started my career in automobile sales I was told “85% of customers buy a salesperson and not just a salesperson”. Then when I moved onto insurance sales, there I found myself in a business that was almost completely build on relationship.
It was up to me to follow the training and processes in building relationships with people to find and close more customers
So, the question is can you teach existing or potential salespeople to be good at building relationships, and the answer would be an absolute YES.
In fact, in our experience after working with the tens of thousands of sales people, one of the common factors the very best all have is they are very good with people, and all of them are outstanding and getting to know their customers’ personalities and buying motivations. (The how and why a customer wants to buy).
Is getting to know the customer something that needs to be taught in a sales process that a customer would appreciate in their buying experience, when the answer is a resounding yes. It is also something that a good sales manager must reinforce when working with a sales person.
As a customer, imagine that every time you dealt with a sales person on the purchase of at least the major items in your life, you felt that the person was helping you with your purchase genuinely cared about what you were buying, and was extremely knowledgeable about what they had to sell.
Would this make a difference in what and where you would want to buy?
Of course, the answer is YES, so is the ability to care about what someone wants or to have in-depth product knowledge that you can adapt to the specific needs of a customer something that comes naturally or something that can be taught?
Salespeople who are successful at this are almost always taught this ability. The care part will require their heart to be included, but getting to know a customer, and having a PhD in the products or services you sell is something that must be learned.
2. Product knowledge
I get so frustrated when I find myself in front of a salesperson who when asked about what they sell respond with a “I don’t know, I’m new here.”. What am I supposed to do, decide by searching the web, or tolerate their incompetence mostly caused the employers lack of respect for the customer and leaving them to fend for themselves with a lack of information.
Would you want to visit a doctor who just started medical school?
Imagine stepping into emergency, you are experiencing pain, and you are looking at the doctor for help and they respond with “I don’t know I am new here”, that would be ridiculous.
Yet we step into buy computers, cars, homes, and entertainment systems and often get that type of response.
Sure, we are left to read though hundreds of search choices on Google, but how do we know what information is right, and how do know we are making the right choice. Just because the consumer today has more power of information in their hand with a PDA, does not mean they want to sift through hundreds of searches to decide on their own.
Imagine arriving at the hospital in pain, and discovering that you as a patient are responsible for determining your ailment. I know this sounds ridiculous, and to my point it doesn’t happen because great doctors go through at least a decade of training to prepare them for their customers (aka patients).
So why do businesses believe they can get away with putting people in front of the customer with no information about the product or service they offer?
Then hope to be more successful than the rest. Using a simpler example that the emergency room, who as ever asked a waiter or waitress which meal they would recommend. I love it when I can tell that they have tried the food, and offer up real suggestions.
I like it even more when I order something and they say, “I wouldn’t recommend you order that, because most people find it to … (spicy, bland, etc.)”.
Great businesses like those I have worked for, invested in training and prepared me for success. Over and over in our business we have been able to prove empirically that training does work to improve sales results, and training works even better when a sales manager or sales leader is there to make sure the training skills are being implemented.
Next page- Critical sales training technique #3
About the author
Jaime “Jim” Hernandez, is president of Strategic Business Communications, Inc. which ranked #4122 in INC magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies in America. He contributes a column about marketing for Latin Business Today. A motivational speaker, marketing consultant and trainer, Jim has worked with more than 30 businesses in the U.S. and abroad. He is a member of the National Advisory Board of MYM, and has been a guest lecturer on sales and marketing at the University of San Diego.Website