The Internet has made it easier than ever for prospects to find your company, a benefit of Sales 2.0. The upside is that your leads are coming from unexpected places and you are getting audiences with prospects you may not have found ten years ago. The downside is that this has changed the sales process, accelerated the sales cycle and in some cases, made it more difficult than ever for companies to close these new found opportunities.
- The importance of listening and questioning skills
- Why it is so difficult for salespeople to learn effective listening and questioning skills
- The importance of backing up and slowing the sales process down when in these situations
I've written about listening and questioning skills before:
I've written even more about the sales process:
- Sales Process - 5th of the 10 Key Kurlan Sales Management Functions
- Do YouHave a Sales Process?
- Top 10 Rules for Getting People to Follow Your Sales Process
- Sales Process - What Have You Gotten Away From?
- When the Sales Process Doesn't Support Sales Competencies
- Seth Godin Reinforces the Proper Sales Process
Developing elite (top 5%) listening and questioning skills requires a tremendous amount of preparation. Athletes work behind the scenes every day. You may only see them on the field during games, but for every three hours they spend on the field, they invest six hours in the weight room, with trainers, developing their skills, participating in drills, studying video and practicing. Those activities contributed to how they became elite and today they influence how these athletes remain elite. Those practices aren't limited to athletes.
Take any high-paid, high-profile profession and you'll witness the same practices. Talk-show host. Variety Show host. Actor. News Anchor. National Politician. Speaker. Musician. Band. Dancer. Comedian. Sales Development Expert! The stuff doesn't just happen! It requires preparation and Practice.
Most of the salespeople I've met at most of the companies I've helped didn't practice at all! No studying, no training, no practice. They didn't work on their presentations, listening and questioning or tonality. They didn't watch themselves in the mirror, record conversations, video tape their presentations or role play with others. Yet day after day, they would go on calls and expect different results without preparing differently.
It's a choice. It's always a choice. You can wait for salespeople to figure it out (it's a long wait), you can figure it out for them (beats the alternative) or you can hire these people at the outset (you must know how to find, attract, identify, hire, on board and retain them). A note of warning though...if your culture isn't ready to support elite salespeople (you must have elite sales management and products) they won't stick around even if you can convince them to work for you.