Over the last 30 years, our team has done a lot of consulting and training projects with sales teams— many from the largest, most well-known companies in the world. Every project begins with the same first step: we diagnose the strengths and weaknesses of the sales team. This starts by asking sales managers and executives to clearly articulate the company’s value proposition, differentiating factors, and competitive advantages in a way that will truly resonate with prospects and customers. Then, we compare this to how the salespeople are communicating this critical information to actual prospects and customers.
Often, there’s a real disconnect between what Sales Leaders feel needs to be emphasized and what’s really happening on sales calls. To fix this problem, we typically ask for the strongest performers on the sales team to help us with it. In most cases, we find they are better than managers and executives at communicating competitive advantages, because the way they communicate this critical information is nearly always from the perspective of what’s important to their customer and not what’s important to the company. It’s important to capture how top performers communicate and turn this into best practices the rest of the sales team can learn, practice and ultimately, become skillful at.
So, let’s go over three things you can do as a sales manager or executive to dramatically improve how the entire sales team communicates differentiating factors, competitive advantages and challenger level insights on live sales interactions:
Absolutely NOTHING will do more to help your sales team improve their results than getting the sales messaging figured out and into some practice exercises that will eventually lead to more verbal sales fluency.
Unfortunately, what happens for many (most) sales teams is this vitally important information isn’t documented and shared, so salespeople have to figure it out on their own. When this happens, consistency will be low and there will be no way to identify top performer best practices and share them.
Practice Is More Effective With These Tools In Place
It is difficult, if not impossible, to build a practice culture into your sales teams if you don’t get your sales messaging figured out and organized so the sales team can learn it. Practicing how to communicate in a somewhat effective way will not create the same results as practicing the sales messaging that has maximum impact.
First, we listen to how top performers communicate, then we capture this into best practices on simple documents and recordings, then, this vital information is given to the sales team so they can learn it, practice it … and MASTER IT. That’s only going to happen with practice and repetition as Michael Jordan points out …https://www.linkedin.com/embeds/publishingEmbed.html?articleId=7643623828946037340
Get Busy Practicing!
Once you have this top performer sales messaging organized, then start practicing. A simple way to do this is to get 3-5 sales team members together, describe a prospect and then have everyone respond to a simple question that prospect might ask, such as … “What makes you and your company different from all your competitors?” Then, in rapid succession, listen to how each team member would respond to that question by really tapping into the sales messaging you’ve developed. Teach each team member to end their response with a strong open-ended question. These kind of practice exercises help your team to master the fundamentals that Michael Jordan reminds us are so important.
Our most recent book, “How to Influence”, is loaded with practical ideas to learn how to sell the way top performers do. It’s short, easy to read, and blends the best, most effective ways to use both consultative and challenger-style sales approaches on sales calls.
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