Our son, who is now six, doesn't know the the full extent of what I do for a living. Rather than tell him that I'm a sales force development expert and explain the many facets of that, he knows that I have meetings (talk with people on the phone and in my office), that I do work (stuff on the computer), that I'm the boss of my office (12 people report up to me) and that I sometimes conduct training (show salespeople how to sell). I haven't attempted to explain evaluating, compensation, incentives, metrics, recruiting, leadership development, executive coaching, consulting, strategies, systems or processes.
Thursday, after a full day of training, I picked him up from camp and realized that we had to return to the office to retrieve my laptop which I had left in the training room. He's been to the office many times but he has never witnessed any training.
While I was disconnecting the cables from my laptop, he sat down in the trainer's chair at the front of the room and in a loud, deep voice said, "OK people. Let's talk about selling. Let's talk about selling cars and homes. Come on now, let's talk about getting cars and homes sold, people!"
Think of all the dots he connected! He knew I showed salespeople how to sell but didn't know what that actually looked and sounded like. He has accompanied me to the Lexus dealer for the last 3 cars that we bought. He can't help but hearing the non-stop news stories about home sales being on the decline. He strung those three data points together and put the data to life in that chair in the front of the room. The data told him a story.
Data points always tell a story.
If you are fortunate enough to use our sales assessments in your company or you provide them to your clients, you know that there are dozens of findings or data points. Individually each finding stands on its own but when you connect the dots and ask yourself, "what do these data points tell me?" there is always a story there.
It's the same in selling. If your salespeople are selling effectively, then rather than presenting features, benefits and capabilities, they are asking dozens of good, tough, timely questions. When the questions are good enough the combination of answers and non answers are the data points. When your salespeople connect the dots and ask themselves, "what do these data points tell me?" there should be a dramatic tale of woe. If the story is compelling enough, the prospect will pay for a happy ending.
(c) Copyright 2008 Dave Kurlan