Core selling language is the ability to talk fluently about your product, services, company, differentiating factors and value proposition. It’s the ability to communicate about this vital information in a persuasive, credible and convincing way.
What Has Changed About Sales Training
We’ve been working with sales teams since the late 1980s. One of the most consistent trends is that more sales organizations are focusing more of their sales training time and resources on:
- Learning a sales process tailored to their product/services
- How to manage the pipeline and utilize CRM tools like SalesForce.com
- Utilizing other forms of technology to interact with clients
- How to use social media to generate a wider net of contacts
What we’re seeing less and less of is the basic communication training—how to communicate core selling language. When we do sales training, even at big, famous companies, it is obvious how weak so many salespeople are at giving powerful answers to these simple questions:
- What makes them different from your competitors?
- Give me a quick sense of what your company does and who your typical customers are?
- Why should I do business with you and switch from my current supplier?
- What is your core value proposition?
- What do your best customers like most about your product or service?
- Verbal fluency matters a lot
No matter what sales process or sales cycle you use, at some point in every sales interaction there comes a point where the salespeople MUST communicate what makes their company unique and better than the competition. They must do so in a convincing and credible way. That’s exactly what core selling language is all about. Most salespeople need a lot more training and practice to get good at it.
Typical Mistakes We Observe When We Test Salespeople
When testing sales teams for our clients on verbal sales fluency, the most obvious and common mistakes we observe are:
- Being too generic and not tailored enough in how they answer questions
- Not understanding what client-focused phrasing is and how to use it
- Inability to give answers to questions with effective open ended questions to get control of the sales process back
- Lack of clear understanding of how to use cushions and prompter statements when responding to questions from prospects/customers
- Top performer best practices are vital to solving this problem
There is a good place to start when raising the skill level of the entire sales team: Capture the way top performers answer these key questions, and then refine those answers so they can be demonstrated to the rest of the sales team. When it comes to verbal phrasing, we tend to learn much faster from demonstrations than any other form of instruction. If you don’t have top performers that can give you best practices, it’s worthwhile to work with a good sales consulting company. It can help find and refine this messaging so it can be taught to the sales team.
Practice, Practice, and More Practice
Verbal fluency is a skill that develops much the way we develop a sports skill—with practice and repetition. Knowing what to do doesn’t always make a big difference until we practice, frequently, and with good coaching. For instance, I could tell a golfer that can’t break 100 that if he simply hits his tee shots solidly into the fairway, he’ll score better. Sounds simple, right? Sure, until you try it. In order to get better at hitting those solid tee shots, he’s going to need to practice at the driving range, ideally with some coaching, to break bad habits and form new, better ones.
We get into bad verbal habits just as easily as we get into bad golf swing habits—and they’re just as hard to break. That’s where practice comes in, ideally with strong coaching. That’s why we created the SalesGym—to give sales teams a place to go to practice with coaching so they can form better habits with strong coaching and helpful demonstrations.
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