12 Sales Training Techniques To Boost Your Sales Team To Beast Mode
- business coaching, business management, Sales Management Training, sales training, Sales Training Program, sales training techniques, sales training workshops
- June 5, 2017
The Changing Sales Game.
Einstein said it best … ” Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.” If you look at how most sales organizations train their people to sell today, you can confirm it’s just that “insanity.”
If your sales team changes from 0 to 1 or 1 to 2, sales training is easy.
Your new employee works with you to absorb the sales process, learn how to handle objections, and where to find leads. If we could clone you, and take an example of your sales training, and you will have a strong number two ready to follow you into battle.
However, once you start scaling your startup, you can kiss those carefree days goodbye.
It never fails, you will be taken away from other tasks, and the sales training for new team members will be transferred to someone else in the company.
As a sales manager, director, or founder, your job is to give your sales team the tools they need to succeed. Without effective sales training processes and techniques, you generally play a big game of phone call with your values and strategies. What you have taught your veteran workers may be communicated appropriately. Alternatively, maybe not.
And then, the next hiring round? Without notice, your vision and process have gone with the wind, and your sales department has turned into a free-for-all.
With the right sales training resources, you can download all your knowledge, experience, tricks, and sales strategies into an easy-to-understand format for new employees.
Look at proven best practices for sales training to make sure your team is truly successful.
Sales training can cover everything from hiring new employees to developing her skills. You can set criteria to change and adapt to the market. If you can do all this, you will put together the building blocks for an unstoppable vending machine.
This is not a small task. So let’s start one step at a time, starting with the evaluation of your team, the right methods to complete your sales training, and finally the ten sales trainings your team needs to succeed.
Evaluate strengths and weaknesses (your team (or your own)
Whether you are a team of 5 or 5000, your sales team will have their strengths and weaknesses. When you start to build your sales training process, you need to know it from the inside out.
However, what questions should you ask to go into detail?
When 50 top CEOs of companies with 10 to 1000 teams, repeatedly found these eight questions when assessing the quality of their sales team:
- What is your value proposition? Sounds easy, but it is surprising how hard it is for some companies to explain precisely why a prospective consumer should choose them over a competitor. Moreover, if your sales team can not, they have no chance.
- Do you have a clear sales process? If so (and you should), does it work as well as it should? If you spend more resources, will it grow or break from the pressure?
- Do you think that your cost of sales is where it should be? Are your sales dry your profits? What makes you feel that your costs are acceptable? Are you comparing with an industry standard or a mapping to projected sales?
- What key measures do you use to track sales effectiveness? Do you measure what needs to be measured? Moreover, are these numbers easily accessible on a dashboard to make sure you are on the right track? You can not optimize if you do not know which button you want to push.
- What steps have you taken to increase your sales funnel and increase your close ratio? Do you have a clear plan for revenue growth? Do you know where to find new leads when the well is dry? Alternatively, experiments that you want to take to increase the number of sales that will be closed?
- Is compensation driving the right behaviors? We know that compensation is a strong motivation for sales teams, but is your bonus structure the right action? Is there enough value to make it meaningful for your sales team to meet its sales goals?
- How do you use the market changes? It is a changing world with new competitors and solutions coming out every month. What are you doing to experiment? Do you have a culture that quickly fails or are you slowly using new distribution channels?
- Do you have the right people? Your team should be your greatest asset. If not, why? Is it the people, the culture, or the training? Or a combination of the three? A culture of favoritism can make the people miserable and the training obsolete.
As you explore these questions, you will get a great overview of how your team works, where you kill it, and where things fall apart. From this information, you can begin to build the basics of your sales training.
However, to ask these questions and then move on is a recipe for disaster. Like all your sales efforts, sales training will continue to evolve as your team and product change and adapt to the real world. So it is wise to repeat these questions at least once a year to see where you might want to change things.
Choosing the right format for your sales training
With the raw data that you have received from your assessment, you should look at the different ways in which you can implement your sales training.
There are a wide variety of options on the table, and no single one is suitable for any company or team. Instead, you should experiment with what suits best for the engagement and outcomes, and what works with your team’s structure.
For example, if you are a startup company with a small sales team, you can put together some short courses or do personal workshops. This is a fantastic way to increase your team’s skills as you get together as a group.
As you scale and grow, it may be wise to hire an outside consultant or send important members of your sales team to larger conferences to see what’s coming and adjust your sales training accordingly.
What are some of the most common formats for conducting sales training:
No, we are not talking about sending your sales team back to college. However, the typical course format, either personal or online, is a great way to transfer your sales knowledge to team members. Also, the course format allows your sales reps to complete their training according to a timetable that works for them while keeping track of progress.
Short personal workshops for your sales team make the working day a great way to make your sales training exciting. If you can stand the whole team for a few hours, it is worth closing the store and bringing everyone together.
Hire external consultants
If your team is getting too big or you cannot provide practical in-house training, maybe it is time to hire an outside consultant. It might be embarrassing to invite someone outside of your team, but a good adviser adds tremendous value to tailor-made sales tools, experience, and valuable market information. It can also help you work faster with your team by getting an expert.
Not only are conferences great for networking, but they also enable your team to learn from seasoned executives and get an idea of what’s in your market. Moreover, remember the words of the Roman philosopher Seneca: “As we teach, we learn.” Be sure to put the added value on the business, not just to ensure that your entire team gets the benefits of the selected participants in a conference. However, to help those who froze what they heard.
Internal team tests
Usually, the best way to learn is to be tossed into the deep end. Performing an audit of past successful and unsuccessful sales cycles is a great way to train your sales staff about the real applications of what you are teaching them.
Databases and wikis
While not necessarily a sales training technique like the others, providing self-service resources to your team teaches them always to learn. Set up a Wiki or Trello board with processes and resources for frequently asked questions. Moreover, if your team asks you for specific things, point them in that direction. It may seem a bit cold, but you are training them to help themselves.
Right, so we have all the important channels through which you can offer sales training to your team. Now let’s talk about the specifics of exactly what your sales training needs to cover so you can evaluate all options on the table for your organization.
The top 10 sales training prerequisites your team needs to succeed.
Effective sales training can cover everything from creating a sales plan to overcoming fears of rejection to stay motivated every day and more.
The goal is for every single component of your sales training to help your team grow and progress so that no one feels they have reached a limit in his or her careers.
If you need some inspiration on your own sales training program or if you want to make sure you choose the right broker, here are ten key sales training sessions for your team:
1. How to become an effective listener
As the Greek philosopher, Epictetus explains so aptly: “You have two ears and one mouth – you should use them in that proportion.”
In a rush to explain features and benefits of what you sell, it is easy to talk about your prospects. This is a common mistake many novice novices make. Moreover, the problem is that someone thinks you are not listening, you have lost them.
Active listening is the silent ability of sales. During the sales cycle, prospects will give hints about what they think, how they feel or what problems they need to solve. Whether or not you address these can make or break your sale. Moreover, you will miss them if you do not listen.
Here are a few tips that can be placed into your sales training so that your team can better listen:
Practice active listening: Simply put, this means listening to what your client says to understand and then responding with a quick summary of what he says. Not only does this show that you listen and respect what you say, but it also helps you focus on the clues you need to complete the sale.
Mentally reflecting what a prospect says: One of the barriers to good listening is to get excited and start to formulate an answer before the other person has stopped speaking. Moreover, of course, as soon as you think about what they said, now you are doing the rest of what they say. To combat this, try repeating what they say in your head as they speak and wait a few seconds after they stop speaking before answering.
Summarize what they said: Once they are done, take a moment to summarize and repeat what they said. This will help to clarify misunderstandings on the ground and is a great technique to get more insight from your prospects because they usually take a step down now that they know that you are listening.
2. Think with empathy and training yourself as a problem solver
It is probably a pretty sure bet that robots will not accept your sales job soon. Because working in sales requires constant problem solving, empathy and the ability to think quickly and act accordingly. To anchor these qualities in your team, they must adopt a problem-solving mentality – which fortunately can be done through appropriate sales training.
It begins with empathy to see the world through the eyes of your perspective. Listening goes only so far, and you should always assume that the problem that your prospects convey is not necessarily the actual problem they need to solve. Look at the larger picture.
Top salespeople go beyond merely solving their customers’ problems and finding the problems their customers are unaware of.
To achieve this, you need to develop both a problem-solving and a problem-solving mentality that, combined with empathy, will help you find the problems your customers need to solve. Start with a few simple questions:
- What are the problems that are not yet known to my client?
- How can I solve it?
- How can I sell the solution?
Take your time and be creative.
The solution to these invisible problems that your prospects have is a powerful tool to achieve sales. Recall that it is important to keep these questions in mind during your sales training process.
3. Crafting scripts to handle the most common objections
Knowledge is power. Moreover, the best sellers always have a solid foundation.
Use your sales training to prepare your team to recognize contradictions that keep cropping up. You can create scripts together to resolve these issues. Now the idea of using scripts is controversial in the sales community. Nobody wants to sound like a robot, and you should not do it. Instead, these scripts should help you test customers’ fears and get to the root of the issues faster.
Think of it like a basketball team. They spend hours practicing the basics – dribbling, shooting, defending, rebounding – so they do not have to think about it during the day and focus on the team they play.
In the same way, scripts help your sales team quickly overcome common objections and find creative ways to end the sale. Not only that, but you have a template that you can share with your team and help them to quickly improve their sales play.
As part of your sales training you have your team:
- Imagine a list of frequent objections they hear from prospects (like “it is too expensive” or “we are happy with our current service”)
- Brainstorm solutions or questions to respond to these objections
- Use these answers to look at short scripts to overcome the objections
4. Identify the bad customers’ red flags
Spending much time behind the wrong prospects can ruin your sales efforts and even your business. Big accounts can sometimes take 6-18 months to close. However, that is only when they close. Moreover, sometimes a bad customer can be even worse than a lost sale by wasting his time asking for refunds and generally speaking badly about your business.
You will need to know what to look out for to make sure your team is going in the right direction. This is where good sales training comes into play. Moreover, as someone who has experience in selling your product or service, you have seen first-hand the buying signals that led to a sale and the ones that got you to get off the phone as soon as possible.
Here are some key red flags that you should use in Sales Training to teach your team what to look for:
Prospects that become unpleasant during the sales process: If a prospect does not sign on the dotted line, there is generally no reason that he does not show his best behavior. If you notice signs of a bad attitude early on, you can be sure that they will not get better once they have put money on the table and closed the deal.
No regard for limits: Call me now. Must speak immediately. Emergency. If you receive emails on any of these topics from someone you speak to at any point of the day (especially at night or at the weekend), they probably are not worth the trouble.
The guarantor: If you have no guarantee, you can not commit yourself to achieving goals for a potential customer. Moreover, if they try to get you to say that you want, they either do not trust you, or they do not know the complexity of their problem. Either way, you are looking for trouble.
Quick Closing: That may sound absurd, but a prospect willing to go to bed with you before the first sales pitch can turn into a nightmare. These impulsive buyers usually do not have a complete understanding of what they are getting into or what they are offering and will be acting on you (though they are responsible for it). Here you may want to slow the process down, suggest another call, or spend extra time explaining everything (in writing, if you can).
5. The basics of cold emailing
If you use “Cold Outreach” as one of your key sales strategies by email, you should take a course on how to connect with potential customers by email.
First, why email? Now, even though doomsayers roar over social sales emails, email is 40 times more effective at attracting new customers than Facebook and Twitter. I have put together 17 sales e-mail tips to check out, but here are the key pieces to cover in your training:
How To Write Subject Lines That Are Opened: It could only be one line, but it is the one that counts the most. Write like a human, avoid slogans, use lowercase text and, if necessary, add the name of the recipient.
To write an effective email copy: Do not waste your time. Take a short break. Give context. Moreover, end up with a clear call to action. Each set must show your value props and bring your prospects closer to the next step.
Unusual ways to highlight your emails: We all have a crowded inbox. So to be noticed, try a few tricks like adding values to your signature by inserting up-to-date blog posts, messages, or videos; include a personal note or company hover in the p. Use formatting to your advantage by bolding important information and using bulleted lists.
Run Email Experiments: Even the best email templates become obsolete. Start by deciding which you want to test: opening rate or response rate/action. Then try a few experiments such as A / B tests subject lines, change the “From Name,” Personalization or Submit at another time.
How to follow up correctly: If your cold prospects do not appeal, implement this follow-up formula in your sales training process:
One day after your cold e-mail at another time: follow-up 1. A modified version of your original e-mail.
Two days after you sent your second email: follow-up 2. Resume your call-to-action.
4-5 days after your third email: follow-up 3. Say goodbye to the prospect (this relies on their loss aversion and feel compelled to respond).
6. The basics of Cold Calling
When your salespeople pick up the phone, you will certainly be training on what to do when their prospects respond.
Your cold calling process should start with a funnel that looks similar to this:
- Dial Phone Numbers
- Reach perspectives
- Qualify opportunities
- Demonstrate the prospects
- Complete the contract
To help your team get the most out of this funnel, you should offer some simple tools and training on lead sourcing, sales call scripts, and how to deal with objections.
Remember to integrate the teaching of your team to keep it simple and focus on one step during your sales training.
Can you reach a person? Do you qualify this person? Demo a prospect? Close a deal? The training should focus on taking the next step forward. Do not worry if the conversion numbers are bad to start.
7. How to clearly articulate the value for those interested
Nothing kills a deal quicker than not telling someone why they need what you are selling. People do not just buy products and services; they buy results.
Your salespeople need to know how to clearly articulate the value that your product or service offers the potential customer. You need to be educators and storytellers and explain why what you sell is so great and then gets the chance to imagine yourself in a better life.
Start by reviewing your customer profiles. Why are they good prospects for what you sell? How can you show them the value you offer? Do you have case studies or certificates that you can use?
Role play and let your team practice articulating the value of your product until you can do it without thinking.
8. Dealing with anxiety in cold sales
If you are involved in sales training for new or less experienced salespeople, you should not only train them on how to sell but also how you feel about them.
We usually do not call strangers or email them and ask them to buy something from us. It is a little strange even fearful when you are taken out of your comfort zone. If you take the time to train your team on how to handle this fear, they will become more confident, stronger closers, and ultimately much happier.
Start first by looking at all the places in your sales process where your team might be afraid or even anxious and how you can tackle it:
Fear of Rejection: With cold calls or e-mails, it is natural to be afraid of rejection. However, hearing “No” is not a small part of the sale. Do not ignore or tear this fear. Instead, hug it, verbalize it, and instead of trying to avoid failure, have your seller aim for failure and be motivated to push out the rejections. Give them the freedom to fail a few times spectacularly and feel comfortable in this room. These few lost leads are worth it in the long run.
Fear of presentation: If you are afraid of standing in front of a group and finding solutions, you may think you are not cut out for sale. However, overcoming this fear of achievement is not as difficult as you might think. Try to make a hard script, so there is no room for error. It may appear as a robot the first few times, but once your vendor feels comfortable, his fear will disappear, and the presentation will ease.
Afraid to ask for the sale: Some sellers are good at small talk, but can not bring themselves to ask for the sale. This is due to the fear of rejection, but if you have come this far, you do not want just to throw away the sale. Instead, give them some textbook techniques to complete the sale. Once you become familiar with the basics, you should upgrade to advanced tricks.
9. How, when and frequency of follow-up
Most people assume that they are not interested in what they sell if they do not get an answer. However, follow-up is your key to higher conversion rates, and without them, you probably will not complete many deals in the long run.
Here’s a simple philosophy to follow: take as many steps as you need to get an answer. If a prospect indicates that he is employed for two weeks, he will hold a reminder for 14 days.
Now, your succession philosophy will come from your values and your sales process, but the key here is that you have to have something your team can follow. Decide what frequency you will track, how you track your messages, and what medium you will use. Then teach your team to use their judgment and experiment.
10. Ways to ask for the sale
One of the most important sales training your team needs is how to complete the business.
Without the provision of policies and processes to ask for graduation, you give your team the freedom to ask whenever they want. Moreover, unfortunately, too many sellers are waiting for this non-existent “perfect moment.”
Here are a few techniques that you can try to add to your sales training:
The virtual close: Once you have qualified your lead and given it your place, ask for the sale. At this point, you know that they will say no. So ask, “how do we have to go about making you ready to buy?” With this simple question, you will receive from you a roadmap for the sale that you will eventually receive.
Take the sale away: If objections arrive in the 11th hour, it is easy to become desperate and make promises you can not keep. Instead, you should teach your salespeople to “take the sale away” by being crucial to pricing by emphasizing that you are building a long-term relationship and making a break in the conversation. By using this technique, you not only force people to shut themselves down, but also show you that you value the service or product you sell.
Learning never stops
Sales training never really ends.
There are always new techniques, better scripts, overcoming new objections, solving new problems, another competitor that comes onto the market that you and your team need to learn how to fight.
The best salespeople have the strength to learn and be the best, and your sales training will help them get there. Invest early, and you will have a team that can not be beaten.
Would you like to see how we do sales training? Contact me today!
To have me speak to your team on how to tap into new markets and make more money, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org
Michele Y. Thompson is an author, contributing writer on MyStock911 and MortgageExpertGuide , commercial mortgage broker, entrepreneur, and finance coach. The culmination of her work in mortgage banker finance, global investor services, real estate, and debt consulting; along with her advanced degrees has driven her to help new and existing businesses reach their goals for over 20 years.