Category Archives: Training

Tried …. But Not True Anymore

millennial-seminarHow often have we heard the phrase, “Tried and True”? This phrase is a throwback from the past designed to build our confidence around, “It has always worked, so keep doing it”.

Today, nothing can be further from the truth. I watch sales organizations, desperate to increase revenue, turn to the dated wisdom from the past to teach, train and manage today’s sales force. Those business development techniques might have worked in the past, but they just don’t work anymore.

The reason why a trip down memory lane is so ineffective today and will never get you to your destination of effective selling is right in front of us.

Buyers have changed and so have your sales personal. We are now living in a world where Millennials are the largest single group in our work force. By the year 2020, Millennials will represent nearly half of all workers.

Millennials seek, receive and process information differently than their parents or grandparents do. They are much more collaborative in their decision process and are apt to continue interactions well after the normal work day. Millennials are eager to pick their projects and professions based on their passion rather than financial motivation alone. This fuels the engine of innovation and a strong desire to make a difference in their dedicated beliefs.

This explains why, when we take a page out from the old sales playbook of cold calling, stock presentations, self-interest pitches, and information dumping, it is met by the Millennial buyer as a deletable event. Also, how about your Millennial sales rep? They will just not accept using the techniques of yesteryear to sell to an audience of their peers.

Here lies the dilemma. Why continue to teach and train a salesforce, that will reject an outdated message, with the hope that they might be force-managed to use it on a Millennial buyer that will reject it. Yet, we still do this on a regular basis by jumping at that next CRM ear-pulling program to try and muscle both buyer and sellers into the past.

At this point you might be asking, “What are the more successful business development organizations doing to change with the times? First, they are gaining a true understanding of Millennials. The very capable group of Millennials, not only hold the keys to business development success, but are having a huge impact on influencing Gen Y, X and Baby Boomers. Sales organizations that have broken the code have reexamined their sales strategies and selling techniques to ensure they are congruent with the buyers and sellers of today. They label it “Selling in the Now”. At great expense, many sales organizations have come to the realization that although they have, “Tried” the old way, it just isn’t “True” anymore.  Learn how to help your organization make the shift.

Author: Rich Lucia

#CONV15 03.16.15 – Rich Lucia Presenting at MS Convergence 2015

Microsoft Convergence 2015Join Rich Lucia in Atlanta, Georgia for Microsoft Convergence where leaders will gather to explore, share and experience business solutions. Rich will be presenting Don’t Get Stuck in the Past: Three Keys to Selling in the Now

Event Details:
What: MS Convergence 2015
Where: Atlanta, Georgia
When: March 16th at 11:00 in B406

Where do you turn when sales aren’t where they should be? To your sales tools that have been used with great success for years? Not so quick. Your customers have changed the way they buy. If the mission is to win the game of today, then you must use the tools that customers respond to NOW. Join Rich Lucia, Business Development Specialist, to learn how to sell in the now by finding your ideal customer profile, driving them to your door, and nurturing them to close the deal.

Key Learning #1:  Understand how buyers now bring more diverse motivations, values and perceptions
Key Learning #2:  Learn how and why customers buy in today’s world
Key Learning #3:  Get three critical tips for selling to today’s customer

See you March 16th from 11:00 – 12:00 in Room B406! #CONV15

Learn More

Don’t Train the Person Out of the Salesperson

Have you ever noticed that when you hire salespeople, you do your absolute best to find someone who has great communication skills? We all tend to make our decisions based upon the candidate’s ability to demonstrate superior listening skills, as well as a keen interest in our organization, and a strong desire to understand the mission ahead.

We look for a person who can relate well to our customers (and potential customers), while honestly gaining trust and an eventual commitment for our product or service. Though we have the best of intentions, once the hiring is accomplished, we begin to train the actual person out of the salesperson we hired.

We begin our sales training process much like a recipe that has been passed down through generations. Unfortunately, the end product just might be a cake that no one wants to eat.
We start with a full cup of the standard one-size-fits-all list of the product’s features and benefits. Then we add two canned pitches that can be memorized, along with a heaping tablespoon of what we call an “elevator pitch.” (It’s called that because if you only had a short time, like in an elevator ride, you could give the short version of the lengthy pitch.) Our training recipe wouldn’t be complete without half a cup of pre-written retorts, providing some automatic responses in case the prospect has an objection. Add a teaspoon of “pointing prospects to the website” for more one-size-fits-all benefits, and just a pinch of the “template of a standard proposal,” and you have it.

But wait, what has happened to our newly hired salespeople? We have given them all the standard sales tools, and they have memorized and practiced until their presentations are flawless. However, with this recipe, we have discouraged them from being the people we hired. No need for them to listen intently as they did in the interview, for we have trained them to believe that what a customer says will not change what we present. Why else would we send them into a sales call with a pre-written pitch book or the same PowerPoint presentation that everyone gets? No need to relate specific benefits to their prospects, as the memorized version includes everything anyone would ever want. All the qualities we hired for now take a backseat to a bucket of one-size-fits-all presentations. We have successfully trained the person out of the salesperson.

Sure we need to train our hires on our product or service, but if we can’t train them to choose their benefits and presentations carefully, we are creating a recipe for failure. A feature or benefit that has no interest to someone is not only ineffective, but can add a nuance factor that will send your prospect running. Instead, spend your training efforts on teaching salespeople how to customize presentations to prospects. Throw away standard one-size-fits-all presentations. You know, those presentations that when they don’t work, you teach the salesperson to just give it to more people.
So put your training to the test. Sure it must provide product and service information, but does it compliment the communication skills of the person you hired? Does it reinforce the practice of not only carefully listening, but taking that gathered information and building trust? Does your training focus on how to relate specific benefits that are of key interest to that individual prospect? If you can keep on track and understand the recipe for adding a productive, valued sales resource, you will have a greater chance of serving a cake that your customers will return for again and again.
Hire well, train to what you hired, and avoid training the person out of your salesperson.