What is the solution? Well, big companies address these challenges by increasing their spending in training, marketing and hiring the right people.
But, what can small companies do to increase sales?
The answer is training, but not necessarily expensive training. In theory you could fire everyone who is underperforming against your ever-increasing goals and hire increasingly more skilled people who are just right for your newest sales challenges. In reality, you hired the best people you could.
But, what small companies can focus on that will have the biggest impact are these 4 skills, called The Big Four:
1. Prospect Management – Without the right inventory of real, advancing sales opportunities at the right stages in the sales process, sellers will either miss their goal this month or hit this month, but suffer ups & downs of sales in the coming months. Most sellers simply rationalize shoving everything they can into all the columns of their pipeline. That is not the same as managing their prospect base. True management means determining your ideal pipeline then working your time and territory management, sales strategies and tactical execution of each phase of the sales process from first email to final thank you letter so that your real pipeline matches your ideal client.
2. Great First Meetings – How do you convert more qualified first meetings into scheduled next step meetings? Training on Great First Meetings. This is the most important meeting of the entire sales process. If this meeting goes well, we have a new opportunity. If we don’t qualify properly we may invest too much time in a sale not worth it. Most sellers end their first meetings with a promise to send the prospect something. Keep them entertained and wanting more.
3. Presenting your offer – At some point you need to present your offer. Most likely your competitors, who are pitching almost exactly what you are pitching, simply outperformed your seller. What is the right way to correct that? Training on that particular skill set; from pre-meeting planning, verifying information in advance of a presentation meeting. Presentation skills and steps that follow the initial presentation.
4. Negotiating and Closing – Sellers should measure the gap between the amount of money they are asking for in their proposal and the amount of money they settle with on contract. How do you close the gap? Training in Negotiation.
But, here is the thing to remember. True behavior change that produces more sales begins with training focused on the one of (or all of) the Big Four, each one of which incorporates a range of tactics, disciplines and best-practices. But it doesn’t end there.
Apart from the right content, the training delivery needs to be:
1. Ongoing 2. Focused 3. Supported by coaches
So, you want to make more sales? Focus your training on The Big Four. But, make the training investment pay better returns by reinforcing it.
About Steve Bookbinder
Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DMTraining. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations of salespeople across industries and regions. Through him, participants in his workshops and coaching sessions learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To outperform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Pipeline Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, 2nd-level Questioning, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.