Chapter 1 Snapshot of Professional Sales Today – Innovative Selling

CHAPTER 1

Snapshot of Professional Sales Today

Do commercial training courses measure up? You will become more aware of the abundance of sales training courses out there and how to tailor them to meet your needs along with the need for field sales coaching.

Looking at the literature out there provided by the better sales training courses, (RTO, Registered Training Organizations), for example, short in-house sales training courses and the on-line courses; these are well organized. However, all fall short of realistic selling guides and do not include an in-the-field follow-up critique system to guide the seller.

My own coaching–training always included in-the-field coaching, concentrating on planning, customer needs, and customer relationships, and on offering the appropriate product, summarizing, and closing. Many of the in-house courses covered a part of the seven steps of the sale but sadly omitted very important components that salespeople need.

I have not seen any salesperson attend sales training and say, “That was fantastic, and I can’t wait to get into the field to use it.” The problem is that various registered training organizations do not stick with a proven sales process; they all pitch a different system of selling and offer too many variations on the theme. Often, after spending a day in a sales course run by a registered training organization, salespeople slip back into old habits because very few sales managers assist with follow-up field coaching.

There are two flaws in the sales training system today. The first is the lack of field sales coaching follow-up on a regular basis. The second is that sales managers seem too busy to follow through with post course field coaching. Some salespeople hate the notion of their manager coming to spend the day with them. Some delight in the assistance, but this should be conducted following product or sales training.

Why pay high costs for in-hours training and then fail to carry out field training follow-up? Companies continue to do this seems to defy common sense.

The selling section in the later part of this book includes several self-critique systems you can include yourself in your normal sales day to double-check on the effectiveness of your last sales call. If we did this well in coaching, sales would increase significantly. Statistics in the United States and locally show that post-selling training and field coaching increase sales by 19 to 21 percent on average.

What Is in It for You as a Salesperson?

Embrace the good sales manager if he or she wishes to introduce a field sales coaching program. Ask yourself, “Is your coach trained to be a coach?” and are they willing to lead the way in selling techniques to show you how it is done—“see one, show one, do one.” Many sales managers travel with you but do nothing, offer nothing, and contribute to nothing, partly because they are not formally trained themselves. The good coach will watch your performance and techniques in the field, suggest small constructive improvements to practice, and take it easy with the criticisms. The coach should also teach how you should measure your own sales call performance and critique systems for each sales call. Why? Because they are not with you all the time, and you operate about 95 percent of the time on your own.

Don’t be afraid to give feedback to the coach on how the process is working for you. Fully engage yourself in this process for maximum results. If it works, keep it up and enjoy the fruits of your coaching experience. A good coach is great to work with as long as he or she gives you the encouragement and support you really need.

For sales coaches, be prepared to show or demonstrate best practice in the field. Many coaches sit back and judge performance. However, young sales staff want a leader to show them the way.