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Training Farmers to Become Hunters

Today there is greater effort to maximize sales, increase revenue and protect margins. The ten calls that once generated two customers have increased to twenty. Farmers must now become hunters.

Here are a few points that will help facilitate the transition.

The greatest hidden asset in any company is the untapped potential of its sales force. The best investment opportunity available to any company, or salesperson, is to unlock that potential.

Just as there are right ways and wrong ways to sell, there are right and wrong ways to teach salespeople how to sell more effectively.

For sales managers to unlock the true potential of a sales force and optimize benefits to a company's bottom line, three things are required. They should always be present in sales-training situations, but rarely are.

1. Teach a sales system that is genuinely more effective than what your salespeople are doing now. This should be obvious, but it isn't. Many courses teach selling as a collection of tips, tricks and techniques that might be helpful in various circumstances. Maybe they'll work for a short period of time - maybe not.

To achieve dramatic gains in performance, salespeople need to master a systematic and superior approach to selling that has proven to work consistently in virtually any circumstance. Tricks and gimmicks won't cut it. Salespeople need a better way to sell.

The system must be based on the way buyers actually behave and make decisions. And salespeople need to know not just what the system is but how to master and execute it - every step of the way.

2. Teach skills that can be taught. A thousand traits and characteristics may contribute in some way to sales success: an outgoing personality, the gift of gab, etc. The trouble is, those traits can be talked about (and often are in training courses) but they can't really be taught.

Research proves that improvements in only five critical selling skills translate directly into greater sales performance. These skills can be taught and improvements in them can be measured. They are:

  • Managing the Buyer/Seller Relationship
  • Sales Call Planning
  • Questioning Skills
  • Presentation Skills
  • Gaining Commitment

Look us up if you want to know more about those five selling skills, how and when to use them, and why they are so critical to unlocking actual potential to achieve measurable gains in sales performance. We also provide a free sales skills assessment that determines selling skill strengths and how to improve in using these skills, a number of great quick-read sales books describing how and when to use the above skills, sales training white papers and more.

3. Train according to the realities of adult learning and behavioral reinforcement. Educational research has established a great deal about how adults actually learn and master new skills. Salespeople learn far more effectively when sales training adheres to proven adult learning principles.

But teaching new skills is only half the battle. Sales performance can't improve unless salespeople actually use their new skills consistently on the job. Old habits die hard.

What to teach and how to teach it are important issues. But, "How will we reinforce the new behavior on the job?" is critical. Reinforcement must be an integral part of the training plan, right from the beginning.

If you select the right system, based on the right skills, then get the teaching and reinforcement right, you'll have taken a huge step towards unlocking the true potential of your sales force and reaching new heights of sales productivity.

To Your Success
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