Changing Nature of Sales Training
The Challenges for Sales Operations and the Changing Nature of Sales Training Development as a Tool to drive Effectiveness
1 Retail Sales
Retail operations have, in the past, existed with the “can I help you?” philosophy, of passive and pleasant service. The issue with this is that is not very effective at business capture and is not seen as high quality service. Customers in Australia want to be dealt with in a more professional way and store owners want to maximise each transaction. There is pressure on retail and stores have to be smart about how they sell to customers. Some organisations have tried the ‘push’ style of selling – I get you in my environment and try to tell you about other products. This has brought about a backlash from the consumer, who does not want to go into a bank to pay in a cheque and be asked if they are interested in a loan. This style of selling is seen to be self-interested and intrusive. Retail stores need to engage better with customers, but in a way that identifies their basic needs in order to help them. They also need to offer better levels of service if they wish to differentiate in over-vendored markets. Millions of dollars of advertising is wasted each year because store staff do not know how to deliver the brand promise.
Prosell – The company has developed a selling model based on customer analysis. We identified that if customers were approached in a certain way, they would respond positively to suggestions about other products and even saw this approach as a better level of customer service.
2 Business to Business Sales
Many markets in Australia are over-vendored. This leads to a need for some very specific skills for sales people. With any type of sale, the salesperson must be able to differentiate their company from others, not just identify needs. We know the customer needs to buy, but why from you? Salespeople must be able to deliver the value proposition. In complex sales salespeople need a more consultative approach and need the ability to understand business to the point where they can advise the customer. With commodity based sales there is a bigger challenge. Are you sure you are selling to the customers who appreciate your value? You must also be able to differentiate in terms of both your value as a supplier and your interpersonal effectiveness.
Prosell – Research has been conducted that asked the question of hundreds of customers, ‘if all things were equal, price, product, support etc, why would you buy from one salesperson and not another?’ The answers to this question have given us a powerful set of skills and tools that will allow salespeople to stand out in the crowd.
3 Sales Development
Sales skills are developed by one primary mechanism, practice and feedback. 15 to 20 years ago salespeople were given 2 to 3 weeks to be trained. In the current economic environment, this is rarely more than 2 to 3 days and sometimes not at all. If people do not get the opportunity for ‘development’ (as opposed to just a lot of theory) in the classroom, then how do they obtain skills? Running sales training with no follow up has little impact. Recent work suggests less than 14% of skills training is transferred into the workplace. If we know that short sales training courses with high levels of content do not transfer effectively into the workplace, we must try and find something that does. We cannot keep using yesterday’s tools and hope it works.
Prosell – At the centre of all our services are a range of workplace based, customised development tools that achieve the goals of measurable and sustainable business improvement. These deliver both attitudinal and behavioural change.