Sales training companies are often hired when reps need a performance jolt. Numbers are falling, and leaders' shoulders are drooping. When sales trainers show up to the office for an on-site intensive, they strive to shock the organization back to life and provide much-needed doses of advice, morale, and perspective.
Earlier this year, Selling Power released a list of the 20 top sales training companies across the nation that are most effective at delivering those wake-up calls.
In this list, 12 of the honorees weighed in on the best advice they give to reps on a variety of topics. Sales managers, forward these thought-provoking tidbits to your teams to shake up their status quo.
(Arranged in no particular order.)
"Most sales professionals want to push their products. They focus on their pitch and their presentation. At the end of the day, it isn’t about us -- it is about our clients. We need to know their industry, their business, and how they want us to add value. We have to listen and engage more and pitch and present less."
Notable clients: Rosetta Stone, Google, NCR, Motorola
2) PI Worldwide
"To study and master your craft, be an expert in product knowledge, sales skills, sales process, and execution. Harness your stamina, resilience, and natural drives for success. Know yourself well and work from your strengths."
Notable clients: AutoNation, American Red Cross, SONY
"Stick to the fundamentals and always focus on what your buyer wants to have happen. By overcomplicating the sales process or getting too focused on what you want to have happen instead of what the prospect wants to have happen, your chances of success drop to virtually zero."
Notable clients: Chase, Caterpillar, John Deere
"Stay true to the process. Your customers will take you to different places during your sales interactions, and as sales professionals, we must always know where we are and maintain a clear path to where we want to end up. Focus on the steps that are necessary and maintain control of the conversation. If you don’t stay true to the process you'll find yourself advancing the sales process too quickly or not fast enough, or working with the wrong people. This will hurt your chances to close and build lasting relationships."
Notable clients: Daimler, JP Morgan Chase, Chick-fil-A
"To be successful, you can't rely on your old way of doing things. Buyers don’t need salespeople to educate them on products and services anymore. They want ideas on what they can do to improve their businesses -- not just a solution for today’s issues. They want sellers to be thought leaders who can give them advice and, more importantly, provide valuable insight that pushes their own thinking further. Therefore, sales professionals must transform their dependence on buyer-initiated buying processes to seller-initiated sales campaigns. That means selling is no longer just a function of uncovering or responding to preexisting demand. It is about creating demand where none existed before."
Notable clients: HP, IBM, Waste Management
"As a sales rep, you have two objectives with your customer: create value and build trust. Every interaction with a customer should accomplish these objectives in some manner. You can create value for a customer by sharing a big, bold idea. But if they don’t trust you they will simply take your idea and bring it to someone who they do trust to implement it. If you just build trust but don’t add any value, then your customer will think of you as a good guy but won’t have a compelling reason to buy anything from you. This is why creating value and building trust is important."
"Make sure that you are providing value to existing and prospective customers throughout the sales process. Ultimately, your ability to add value forges a relationship that goes beyond likability and positions you against competitive threats, especially competitors who sell solely on price."
Notable clients: Sysco, Maritz, Convergys
"The internet changed the buyer/seller relationship. Now, the needed information that the buyers use to make a purchase decision is just a click away. The power in the buying and selling process has shifted from the seller to the buyer. So if the buying process has transformed, should your sales process transform to match today’s empowered buyer? Of course it should."
"Find a learning partner -- another person who you can coach and can coach you -- and commit to learning something new every month. If you stop learning, then something else will stop, too: revenue growth."
"You are busy, there is no doubt, but be busy doing the right things, with the right people, at the right time, on the right issues. Rigorously use your process, methodology, and tools to win more business and make more money than those who don’t put these enablement tools to work."
11) Profit Builders
"Expand your peripheral view of who you can coach and positively impact. You can coach your peers, partners, customers, and stakeholders -- and you can also effectively coach your boss. You can deliver your message in an effective way regarding how you like to be coached, managed, held accountable, communicated to, and supported. You can also discuss certain tasks, projects, problems, people, or commitments in a way that won’t put your boss on the defensive and instead, create a healthy platform for collaboration and discussion."
Notable clients: Johnson & Johnson, Salesforce.com, New York Yankees
"Be other-centered. I promise you your competition is centered on self. If you truly make the decision to serve your clients and build awareness of what is important to them -- becoming an expert at solving their problem in the process -- receptivity grows, and your recommendations will be embraced."
Notable clients: FedEx, Apple, AAA
13) Wilson Learning
"The purpose of a business is to solve a specific problem in the market. But often times, salespeople believe the purpose is to make money. While businesses need to make money, that, in fact, is not the objective. Your job as a salesperson is to help businesses achieve their purpose. Your discovery needs to focus on what the business is trying to do and the issue they are trying to solve -- not how the business is trying to use your product or service. When they win, you win!"