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5 Secrets To Record Breaking Sales

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5 Secrets To Record Breaking Sales

  1. 1. 5 Secrets to Record Breaking Sales 5 Secrets to Record Breaking Sales The principle mission of the professional salesperson is to gain commitment from customers. Unfortunately, for most salespeople the skills that lead to gaining commitments consistently—and, therefore, to record-breaking sales—appear to be secrets. Why? Why don’t salespeople know more about the precise skills required to be a top-ranked performer? There are many skills, traits, and qualities that lead to sales success. For example, personality and motivation definitely have an impact on performance. The trouble is, you can’t teach personality and motivation—and salespeople can’t “learn” it! What’s more, little information is available about the exact role those qualities play in sales success. Motivation? We’ve all seen salespeople who worked very hard and made a great number of sales calls. Yet in the same sales force, there always seems to be another salesperson who makes far fewer calls and lands a lot more business. Sure, hard work is part of the formula, but quality work has more to do with success. Quality is all about skills. But what skills? What We Know About Selling Skills Since 1990, The Sales Board has been measuring the selling skills of salespeople. More than 300,000 salespeople from over 2,500 companies have been benchmarked on their knowledge and practice of the key skills required to be effective at gaining commitment from customers. Then, following Action Selling Sales Training conducted by The Sales Board, the same skills are measured again using The Sales Board’s validated Selling Skills Assessment instrument. This proven instrument measures each salesperson’s knowledge of selling skills, as well as the ability to apply those skills in their daily work environment. When salespeople achieve a predetermined competency level at each skill, they become Action Selling Certified. Changes in sales revenue and margin performance before and after Certification also have been measured thousands of times. Viola! What is revealed is the true impact of gains in knowledge and application of each key sales skill. With all skills combined, Certified salespeople improve their revenue and margin performance at 6 times the rate of non-Certified salespeople. That’s how we know for sure that the skills identified, taught, and drilled in Action Selling training produce higher sales revenue and better margin performance. www.thesalesboard.com 15200 25th Ave N. Minneapolis, MN 55447 © 2007 The Sales Board, Inc. 800-232-3485 (763) 473-2540 Page 1
  2. 2. 5 Secrets to Record Breaking Sales The Five Secrets Revealed Prior to Action Selling sales training, most “professional” salespeople demonstrate a number of selling errors that ought to be scandalous. Yet until the impact of these errors is measured by the Skills Assessment, the mistakes go completely unnoticed. Yes, without measurement, they are secrets! SECRET #1 - 82% of salespeople fail to differentiate. Their products, their company—and they, themselves—appear to be no different from their competitors. SECRET #2 – 99% of salespeople set the wrong sales call objectives. Poor call planning prevents salespeople from consistently moving the buying process forward. SECRET #3 – 86% of salespeople ask the wrong questions. The consequences include call resistance, inability to deal with objections, and missed buying opportunities. SECRET #4 – 95% of salespeople talk too much. When they talk too much they listen too little. Today, nobody wants to hear a data dump. SECRET # 5 – 62% of salespeople fail to ask for commitment. Since their principle mission is to gain commitment, they appear only to be impersonating salespeople. What Can You Do About It? In light of those percentages, your sales force almost certainly is committing some or all of those deadly errors. And they don’t know it! Here are three important concepts to keep in mind as you set out to solve the problem. 1. Focus on the selling skills that we know can be taught and learned. Much as we might like to transform the “personalities” of our salespeople, we lack the ability—and so do they. What we can improve, with proper training, is their skills. “Proper” training includes help in transferring learning from the course into the field. If training doesn’t include the necessary ingredients for learning transfer, don’t waste your time and money on it. 2. You’ve heard the expression, “What gets measured, gets done.” In training, “What gets measured gets learned.” Measurement of knowledge gained and of skills applied on the job provides motivation to learn because it holds students accountable. If a training initiative lacks a validated assessment that measures mastery of the skills being taught, don’t do it. 3. Teach the right skills. There is little point in mastering skills that do not produce tangible improvements in actual job performance. In fact, you should be able to predict what change will occur if a given student’s Benchmark selling skill level is raised to mastery level upon Certification. Without some reasonable guarantee of a return on investment in training, why do it? www.thesalesboard.com 15200 25th Ave N. Minneapolis, MN 55447 © 2007 The Sales Board, Inc. 800-232-3485 (763) 473-2540 Page 2
  3. 3. 5 Secrets to Record Breaking Sales No amount of training will produce record-breaking sales unless it is built upon those three principles: The skills must be teachable, they must be measurable, and they must produce predictable outcomes. The Five Critical Selling Skills Bearing the above in mind, exactly which skills are most critical to improving sales performance? That is to say, which skills represent solutions to the 5 Secrets to Record Breaking Sales? Here they are: Critical Skill #1 – Building the buyer/seller relationship. Salespeople need to develop a better understanding of the buying process that customers actually follow—the real decisions they make, and when they are made. Then salespeople need to match their sales process with the customer’s buying process. When this is done, salespeople begin to walk arm-in-arm with the customer as they arrive at the best possible solution. Critical Skill #2 – Sales call planning. Most companies today lack a well-defined sales process. Very few have documented the Best Sales Practices that lead to strong commitments from customers. As a consequence, salespeople are not coached on how to plan their sales calls properly. For instance, every call should end in some kind of commitment from the customer—an agreement to do something that will move the process forward. This just isn’t happening. Critical Skill #3 – Questioning skills. Most salespeople do not ask the right types of questions. And nearly all salespeople fail to ask the best questions. This happens even if they prepare questions prior to the sales call, which most don’t. The impact of poor questioning skills is enormous. It leads to resistance in the form of stalls and objections, bad presentations that offer improper solutions, failure to differentiate from the competition—and missed sales opportunities. Critical Skill #4 – Presentation skills. Most salespeople claim that this is the skill they are best at. In fact, we as managers tend to hire people who have “the gift of gab.” In reality, quality is far more important than quantity when it comes to making presentations. When salespeople zero in on presenting only specific solutions to previously agreed-upon needs, they rarely fail. Critical Skill #5 – Gaining commitment. If you really think about it, the only reason to employ salespeople is to gain commitment from customers. Yet, when asked, most salespeople admit that this is their weakest skill. Research bears this out as well: 62% of salespeople fail to ask for commitment on sales calls. Any effective sales training program must have a solid solution for this problem. What Happens When These Skills Are Improved? Since the Sales Board has benchmark-tested the 5 Critical Selling Skills of more than 300,000 salespeople in 2,500-plus organizations, we know what skill levels exist in sales forces prior to Action Selling training. After the training, students are assessed again with the objective of becoming Certified on their mastery of the 5 Critical Selling Skills. So we know what mastery-level skills look like. www.thesalesboard.com 15200 25th Ave N. Minneapolis, MN 55447 © 2007 The Sales Board, Inc. 800-232-3485 (763) 473-2540 Page 3
  4. 4. 5 Secrets to Record Breaking Sales (The Certification Assessment is challenging: 24% of students do not become Certified even though they have completed the Action Selling program.) Upon completion of the Action Selling training process, the students’ sales performance also is tracked and measured. Therefore, here is what we know for sure about what happens one year after the 5 Critical Selling Skills are improved: • Action Selling Certified salespeople boost their performance at a rate six times higher than salespeople who are not trained in the 5 Critical Selling Skills. • Action Selling Certified salespeople increase their sales at twice the rate of trained salespeople who do not certify. Those measurements demonstrate that the more salespeople learn about how to use the Action Selling process to improve the 5 Critical Selling Skills, the greater the gain in sales performance. The 5 Secrets to Record Breaking Sales are no longer secrets. You can determine how much untapped potential exists in your sales force by taking our Selling Skills Benchmark at: http://www.thesalesboard.com/certified-sales-professionals.asp. Need more insight into the 5 Critical Selling Skills and the proven 9-step Action Selling Process that produces record breaking sales? Visit us online at http://www.thesalesboard.com/sales-books.asp and order the Action Selling Book Series or call us at 1-800-232-3485 today. What are you waiting for? You have records to break! Visit us online at www.thesalesboard.com to begin your free sales skills assessment. www.thesalesboard.com 15200 25th Ave N. Minneapolis, MN 55447 © 2007 The Sales Board, Inc. 800-232-3485 (763) 473-2540 Page 4

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