I find ideas and material for this Blog everywhere, especially when I'm not looking for them. Yesterday I received a daily email from a Paul Reddick, a baseball coach who was drumming up some business for his baseball institute. It resonated - not for its baseball coaching - but as sales coaching. Here's what it said:
If your coach is talking about any of the pitching flaws that you see listed above…
Run… Run Fast!
That Coach is working on “flaws” that will have no impact on your pitching. He is working on symptoms… not the illness! He is trying to fix things that are happening as a byproduct of incorrect movement early in your delivery. If you get the first second of your delivery right, almost all of these flaws get fixed instantly.
Do you know how this applies to sales?
I'll explain exactly how it applies and I promise you will be surprised! Click here to read last year's fun article comparing pitcher's fielding practice (PFP) to role-playing in sales.
If a CEO, Sales Leader, Sales Manager, Sales Coach or Sales Expert suggests that closing or negotiating is a selling flaw, then that individual does not really understand what salespeople must do in order to win business.
Closing is over-rated.
Always has been.
Except for the concept of when to close, closing shouldn't even be taught!
If a salesperson is effective adding opportunities to the pipeline, reaching decision makers, building relationships, taking a consultative approach and uncovering compelling reasons to buy, selling value, qualifying, and doing that in the context of a effective and efficient sales process, they will earn the business and it will close at the appropriate time.
If they suck at any or all of the nine competencies referenced above, then the lack of wins will appear to be a closing issue, when it is actually symptomatic of something that wasn't properly executed earlier in the process.
Same goes for negotiating. If an opportunity is properly qualified at the appropriate time, there should not be anything to negotiate. However, if qualifying lacks thoroughness and is completed too early, it invites a negotiation at closing time.
Training and coaching should be targeted towards the competency in the sales process that has the lowest conversion ratio. In other words, if salespeople struggle to get opportunities into the pipeline, focus on prospecting. If salespeople are booking meetings but opportunities stagnate in the pipeline, the issue is with the consultative approach and/or value selling. If opportunities get as far as qualified but fail to close, then the issue is probably with qualifying and/or consultative selling/value selling.
The most important thing to identify is where ALL of the skill gaps are. How can salespeople leverage their strengths, sharpen existing skills, learn new skills and improve their conversion ratios?
The best way to do that is to know exactly what they are capable of, where their bottlenecks are, what their blindspots are, and what they need to do in order to improve. This should never be a guess because most sales managers, sales leaders and CEOs guess wrong! It sounds like most of the calls and emails I receive where the potential client says, "Yes, we're looking for someone to provide some sales training on closing and negotiating."
There are a couple of ways to find out what your team is really capable of and how much better they can become:
An OMG Sales Team Evaluation is the best solution and provides answers to every possible question you might have about your team. In addition to the comprehensive Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis (SEIA), Executive Summary, and Visualizer (interactive tool to play with the data), you and your sales team will learn how everyone measures up in all 21 Sales Core Competencies.
OMG has a free self-serve solution as well. You can see how your team collectively compares to other teams in your industry and to companies overall in all 21 Sales Core Competencies. You won't get any reports or individual results but you'll see where the team-wide gaps are.
Check out the Free solution (or first step)
Companies that have their sales teams evaluated experience faster, quicker and greater growth than those who don't.
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