Corporate sales training

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“If you want to interact effectively with me, to influence me, you first need to understand me.” – Steven Covey

A powerful statement. Simple and eloquent, profound and meaningful.

Taken a step further, we might add that you also need to understand yourself. After all, you can’t really communicate effectively with someone else without first recognizing how you prefer to communicate—and how you may be perceived by that person as a result.

But once you have the foundation, the bigger leap—one that only a few truly master—is to understand and adapt to the person you’re communicating with. That’s where your biggest opportunity lies.

As most of us are keenly (and perhaps, at times, painfully) aware in our relationships outside of work, people view the world through different lenses. This, in turn, affects how they communicate and like to be communicated with. We do our best to work through the communication challenges because, as much as technology has infiltrated everything our daily lives, we still strive for those personal connections.

The same applies in the workplace. New technologies and fads come and go, but being able to understand what your customers value most and then being able to effectively communicate with them from that vantage point is often what differentiates you and your organization from your competition. It’s also what forms the basis of strong, sustainable customer relationships.

A Corporate Executive Board study found that 53% of customer loyalty is driven by the sales experience. This supports the notion that perceptions are reality. So an important question for you to think about is this: How are you perceived by those you’re communicating with? Your ability to connect with people certainly weighs on that perception.

And the next question is, are you doing everything you can to build deeper, trust-based relationships?

The Behavior Styles Connection

You probably have some familiarity with the concept of Behavior Styles. It’s literally been around forever. Even Socrates grasped the value of understanding different behavioral approaches as he helped shape Western philosophy and evolved his Socratic method. The Behavior Styles Assessment, which reveals your personal Behavior Style and helps you understand the Behavior Styles of colleagues and customers, gives you a way to create personal chemistry and build rapport with diverse people—fundamental skills in sales, management, personal relationships and everyday life.

Let’s take a closer look at how Behavior Styles can help you strengthen customer relationships and improve your sales effectiveness.

In his classic book The Loyalty Effect, Frederick F. Reichheld says that the best way to move from transactional, rational dialogue to a more meaningful exchange is to focus on creating an emotional bond. When you communicate in such a way that your clients and co-workers feel valued, the outcomes of your conversations will yield better returns.

Easier said than done? Well, with the right level of awareness and commitment, anyone can master the ability to sell, serve and coach others by understanding and adapting to different Behavior Styles. The information you learn about their Behavior Styles can help you shortcut the process of connecting with them in a more personal and meaningful way.

A rule of thumb is to follow the three A’s:

  • Awareness of your personal communication preferences and how you may be perceived by others
  • Alignment of your communication strategy to another’s, once you determine their primary Behavior Style
  • Action, including successfully adapting on the fly as you communicate with others

The Compound Effect of Loyalty

Why should you bother? Ultimately, your ability to communicate effectively with clients and prospects—to move from transactional to emotional conversations—is what can move them from neutral to satisfied to loyal. And once you reach a true “partner” status, that loyalty will compound itself. Your loyal, fully engaged clients are not only willing to spend significantly more wallet share, they’re also the ones who will go to bat for you, becoming your best sources of referrals and new business.

No matter how much technology evolves, sales is a business of relationships. Having meaningful conversations that engage people in a way that they value is always going to be one of your most powerful selling tools. And that means you have to understand their Behavior Style so that you can focus in on what they care about most.

How many of your customers are fully engaged? How might more effective, engaging communication (as defined by the customer) help you achieve both your goals and theirs?

If you’re a leader seeking that competitive advantage, ask yourself this: What am I doing to equip my team to maximize every interaction?

Source:- https://www.integritysolutions.com/insights/blog/value-connecting-customers

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By Steve Schmidt, Partner

“If you want to interact effectively with me, to influence me, you first need to understand me.” – Steven Covey

A powerful statement. Simple and eloquent, profound and meaningful.

Taken a step further, we might add that you also need to understand yourself. After all, you can’t really communicate effectively with someone else without first recognizing how you prefer to communicate—and how you may be perceived by that person as a result.

But once you have the foundation, the bigger leap—one that only a few truly master—is to understand and adapt to the person you’re communicating with. That’s where your biggest opportunity lies.

As most of us are keenly (and perhaps, at times, painfully) aware in our relationships outside of work, people view the world through different lenses. This, in turn, affects how they communicate and like to be communicated with. We do our best to work through the communication challenges because, as much as technology has infiltrated everything our daily lives, we still strive for those personal connections.

The same applies in the workplace. New technologies and fads come and go, but being able to understand what your customers value most and then being able to effectively communicate with them from that vantage point is often what differentiates you and your organization from your competition. It’s also what forms the basis of strong, sustainable customer relationships.

A Corporate Executive Board study found that 53% of customer loyalty is driven by the sales experience. This supports the notion that perceptions are reality. So an important question for you to think about is this: How are you perceived by those you’re communicating with? Your ability to connect with people certainly weighs on that perception.

And the next question is, are you doing everything you can to build deeper, trust-based relationships?

The Behavior Styles Connection

You probably have some familiarity with the concept of Behavior Styles. It’s literally been around forever. Even Socrates grasped the value of understanding different behavioral approaches as he helped shape Western philosophy and evolved his Socratic method. The Behavior Styles Assessment, which reveals your personal Behavior Style and helps you understand the Behavior Styles of colleagues and customers, gives you a way to create personal chemistry and build rapport with diverse people—fundamental skills in sales, management, personal relationships and everyday life.

Let’s take a closer look at how Behavior Styles can help you strengthen customer relationships and improve your sales effectiveness.

In his classic book The Loyalty Effect, Frederick F. Reichheld says that the best way to move from transactional, rational dialogue to a more meaningful exchange is to focus on creating an emotional bond. When you communicate in such a way that your clients and co-workers feel valued, the outcomes of your conversations will yield better returns.

Easier said than done? Well, with the right level of awareness and commitment, anyone can master the ability to sell, serve and coach others by understanding and adapting to different Behavior Styles. The information you learn about their Behavior Styles can help you shortcut the process of connecting with them in a more personal and meaningful way.

A rule of thumb is to follow the three A’s:

  • Awareness of your personal communication preferences and how you may be perceived by others
  • Alignment of your communication strategy to another’s, once you determine their primary Behavior Style
  • Action, including successfully adapting on the fly as you communicate with others

The Compound Effect of Loyalty

Why should you bother? Ultimately, your ability to communicate effectively with clients and prospects—to move from transactional to emotional conversations—is what can move them from neutral to satisfied to loyal. And once you reach a true “partner” status, that loyalty will compound itself. Your loyal, fully engaged clients are not only willing to spend significantly more wallet share, they’re also the ones who will go to bat for you, becoming your best sources of referrals and new business.

No matter how much technology evolves, sales is a business of relationships. Having meaningful conversations that engage people in a way that they value is always going to be one of your most powerful selling tools. And that means you have to understand their Behavior Style so that you can focus in on what they care about most.

How many of your customers are fully engaged? How might more effective, engaging communication (as defined by the customer) help you achieve both your goals and theirs?

If you’re a leader seeking that competitive advantage, ask yourself this: What am I doing to equip my team to maximize every interaction?

 

Re-blogged from Integrity Solutions

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By Bruce Wedderburn

As a sales leader, you’re there to make a difference—a difference in team performance. You’ve looked at the range of experience on your team and seen multiple opportunities for growth, so you immediately implemented the latest sales and marketing thinking to pave the way for double-digit gains over the next 12 to 24 months. It’s the kind of vision and take-charge leadership that has impressed organizational leadership.

The only problem is, the expected sales gains from your initiatives have been slow to materialize. As the months have progressed, others in the organization have begun expressing doubts about your strategy. Worse still, you’re beginning to have your own doubts.

This isn’t unusual. As organizations look for organic growth in increasingly competitive markets, leaders are searching for the latest technology, the next app, that one competitive strategy that will elevate them above their peers. But despite all of the new advances and approaches, the reality remains: Your salespeople still have to have conversations with customers.

Another sobering reality? More than any other factor, the quantity and quality of those conversations will determine whether or not your organization reaches its sales goals this year.

We recently conducted a research study in partnership with the Sales Management Association, and the findings were illuminating. We learned that there’s not one but three critical conversations every salesperson must focus on for the organization to consistently realize its growth goals. Improving any one of these will increase your team’s productivity. Improve all three and you’re on your way to a breakout year.

Here’s what those conversations are:

  1. The conversation that salespeople have with their customers. Customers have more access to more information than ever before, and that’s driving increased commoditization in your industry. As a result, your customers’ perception of “value” has shifted from what you’re selling to how you’re selling. In other words, your salespeople’s interactions are where the real value is today—the value that will differentiate you from the competition. It’s in these critical conversations that salespeople can move the discussion away from price and begin building the elusive “Trusted Advisor” status in the customer’s mind. Succeeding with this conversation is mostly about your salespeople’s skillset.
  1. The conversation that salespeople have with themselves. These are the conversations that all of us have dozens, if not hundreds, of times each day. We each have a set of inner beliefs about who we are and the level of success we deserve to enjoy. Countless external influences over the course of our lives—parents, friends, relatives, teachers, co-workers, clients, spouses, good experiences, negative ones, highs, lows—have contributed to these beliefs and shaped who we are, our level of confidence and what we say to ourselves about ourselves. For salespeople, this inner talk affects what level of buyer they will call on, how many customer meetings they will have, how they feel about prospecting, how they respond to being coached, their vision for their career, how they handle rejection, how they handle success, whether or not they will improve, and the hundreds of experiences that make up a sales or management career. This all affects a person’s attitude and confidence. Succeeding with this conversation is mostly about the salesperson’s mindset.
  1. The conversation that salespeople have with their coach. Coaching is a key determining factor for growth and one of the great buzzwords of our times. However, when and if sales coaching actually happens, it’s nearly always focused on how to improve the first conversation—a salesperson’s ability to interact effectively with the customer. It rarely addresses the other critical conversation, the one that both salespeople and managers are having all the time—with themselves.

What the Pros Know About Success

Professional athletes know that the three S’s— stamina, strength and stretching—are essential for success, and so they constantly work at training and developing all three. Most recreational athletes, on the other hand, work at improving only one or occasionally two of these critical fitness qualities.

In the same way, all three success conversations can and should be constantly developed. Your salespeople’s skillset and mindset can both be improved through training and coaching. And when their skillset and mindset are working together, supported by effective coaching of both, your sales organization will be on the way to new levels of success and satisfaction.

Too many organizations look to external factors such as new technologies and the latest fads for the answers to growth. That’s like a professional tennis player who looks to the latest advances in racquet string technology, cloud-based ball tracking systems and energy-rebounding shoe design while overlooking the importance of improving foot-speed, confidence and fitness.

Without mastering what’s most important, the rest doesn’t matter.

What conversations are your salespeople having?

 

Re-blogged from Integrity Solutions

 

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There isn’t a sales person alive today who doesn’t know that they shouldn’t be selling product, but instead should be selling to help meet the needs of their customers.  The problem is that, despite this, customers are still reporting a very low level of value from time spent with sales people. Why the disconnect?

As customers, we’ve all been on the receiving end of one or more of the common selling strategies. Here are a few you’ve probably seen:

  • A product focus is when salespeople spend most of their time showing and talking about their product or service, its features, advantages and benefits. Objective: Help people understand their product or service so that they’ll want to buy it.
  • A transaction focus is used by salespeople whose main goal is to “get people to the yes”-in other words, to agree to buy whatever they’re selling. Objective: Make the sale, whatever it takes.
  • A customer-needs focus is when salespeople go through a discovery process to determine if customers have needs, wants, problems or objectives they want filled, satisfied or solved. Objective: Establish a need before initiating any selling activity.

Thinking back to your experiences as a customer, how did you feel in these different scenarios? Were you bored? On the defensive? Did you learn something about your needs or discover a pressing challenge that you hadn’t even realized existed before? Or did you just want to get off the phone or run for the nearest exit as fast as you could?

With both product- and transaction-focused selling approaches, the salesperson is essentially trying to convince you that this product or this “deal” is so great that you simply must have it. Their success comes down to how effective they are at persuading you to believe their position.

In fact, many salespeople will say they take a customer-needs-focused approach, but their actions say otherwise. You can tell because they’re still falling back on this idea that they need to sway you or influence you to do something (the implication being that it’s something you don’t really want to do). No wonder customers often feel like they need to push back in these situations. It’s basically a battle of wills, one that’s being fought on a simmering ground of doubt and distrust.

With a true customer-needs approach, on the other hand, the salesperson is focused on helping you get a clearer picture of your own situation so that, together, you can identify what the requirements are and how they can best be satisfied. Their success comes down to how effective they are at bringing your true needs to the surface and the overall value they deliver in filling those needs.

Instead of trying to convince you to buy something, these salespeople spend most of their time finding out if you have needs that they can address. No solutions are even offered until your wants or needs have been admitted.

Here’s the kicker: Our research shows that when people sell this way, they can experience a 15 to 30 percent increase in their sales.

To understand why, we have to look at what we know about the art of persuasion: The more we attempt to persuade people, the more they tend to resist us. But the more we attempt to understand them and create value for them, the more they tend to persuade themselves.

What is your focus?

If you’re in sales, one easy way to identify your own central sales focus is to think about how you spend your time when talking to customers.

Do you spend most of your time in the first half of your contact talking about your product or service? Or do you spend most of your time asking questions that focus on the customer’s needs?

In the interview stage of an effective customer-needs-focused selling process, you should be spending at least 80% of the time listening. And when you do talk, it should be mostly in the form of questions and paraphrasing back to customers what they tell you to make sure you understand them. You explore, ask questions and get feedback, and you make no attempt to sell anything until the customer:

  1. admits needs, wants, problems or objectives they want filled, satisfied or solved.
  2. agrees that not only do they have needs but that they are open to solutions.
  3. agrees to talk to you about a solution.
  4. confirms that they can make purchase decisions.

Generally, if they don’t agree to all four of these steps, you probably don’t have a good prospect. Or they aren’t the real decision makers. Or they don’t have a compelling reason to take action. Or they aren’t favorably disposed to buying from you.

Take a closer look at your own approach to make sure you’re truly focused on creating value for your customers rather than wearing them down to buy from you. One of the most important questions you can start with is this:

In your typical selling situations, who does most of the talking?

If it’s you, chances are, your focus is more product-oriented or transactional, and it’s likely keeping you from reaching your full sales potential.

Re-blogged from Integrity Solutions.

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You hire two people with the same qualifications and skills. One succeeds; the other fails miserably.

Why?

Part one of Optimizing Performance for Strong Results, a two-part podcast interview with Integrity Solutions’ Mike Esterday, takes an in-depth look at this phenomenon and explores specific strategies you can take to unleash a stronger drive to achieve within your entire workforce.

As Mike explains, rapid change-in politics, government and businesses across every industry-along with increased competition, pricing pressures and product parity have raised the stakes on performance. At the same time, many managers are struggling with how to coach, recruit and work with the growing population of Millennials in the workforce. As a whole, this group has a stronger desire to find purpose in their work, and if they don’t find it, they’re willing to leave. And that means retention has become a pressing concern as well.

The good news is, the issues are connected: If we can light that fire within our people, they’ll not only be more likely to succeed, they’ll be more likely to stay.

Why So Many Training Strategies Miss the Mark

How many people have plateaued in your organization? How many do you believe can move off that plateau and perform at a higher level?

In the podcast, Mike shares that when he asks that second question, the answer he typically gets is about half. But what many managers don’t realize is that lack of belief in their people has a direct and negative impact. People pick up on it, and so they perform to the level that they think their managers expect of them.

“All growth, whether personal or corporate, begins with expanding mental paradigms,” Mike says.

Most people perform at the level they believe they should be performing at, he explains. In other words, our actions, behaviors and even our abilities are bounded by our comfort zones. To improve performance then, training and coaching need to focus on stretching that “area of the possible.”

But most don’t, at least not effectively. Mike explains the simple reason why:

“That soft stuff is hard! It’s a lot easier to teach people product specs, selling techniques, managing numbers and activities. It’s tougher to get at attitudes, beliefs and achievement drive.”

But those factors are the “turbo chargers” for most people’s success.

The other key? A learning process that gets people to learn and practice skills long enough that they become part of their natural behavior.

The Importance of Purpose

Purpose is also a major factor in growing performance, Mike says. Organizations that focus on purpose tend to light that internal fire more. In the podcast, he explores three components to this focus:

  • Purpose of the organization: Communicating clearly why we’re in business
  • Purpose of the job or team: Lighting the “personal why” by clarifying the purpose of the individual’s or team’s role and how it links to the organization’s purpose
  • How that purpose creates value for the customer: Understanding the impact on the customer

This last point is critical. Customers can tell what our intentions are when we interact with them. Are your employees thinking, “How can I get this transaction done?” or “How can I fulfill their needs?”

When people shift their view from believing the purpose of their job is to sell products to believing the purpose of their job is to improve lives, they’ll release more achievement drive, and that will increase the activities they need to do to succeed.

And that, Mike says, is how you create meaningful work.

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Re-blogged from Integrity Solutions.

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Johnny Walker, president and CEO of JohnnyWalker.co, is an Integrity Solutions business partner and expert at building_MG_4928 great service teams. We caught up with him recently in a recent podcast to hear his thoughts on how training can bridge the divide between sales and customer service.

The relationship between sales and customer service is critical, but these two divisions are typically trained separately, with different emphases and objectives. While most companies stress the importance in sales training of having a customer-centric focus, they often overlook many of those concepts when training the customer service team.

That lack of a consistent approach and mindset for interacting with customers can cost companies revenue, customer loyalty and even great salespeople who get fed up when the relationships they’ve spent months developing are destroyed in an instant by a fumbled customer service issue.

Hiring Great People Isn’t Enough

Building a great customer service team requires more than hiring great people who naturally enjoy helping others. As Johnny explains in the podcast, we also need to equip those great people with the soft skills like emotional intelligence so they can interact effectively with the customer. The customer has to feel that the person on the other end of the call is laser focused on understanding their needs and solving their problems. They must truly believe that they are the most important person the customer service rep has talked to all day.

And that’s why one of the most common customer service tools around is also one of the worst things we can do in customer service training: hand people a script. We all know when someone’s reading a script, especially when you’ve talked to several customer service reps from the same organization and they’re all saying the exact same thing.

As Johnny puts it, we need to focus our training efforts less on what to say and more on how to interact. We can do that by giving people a process that allows them to be authentic and build genuine relationships rather than a script that takes their personality out of the equation.

Listen to the podcast to hear more from Johnny as he discusses:

  • The connection between sales and customer service
  • Pitfalls of typical customer service training approaches
  • A values-based, concrete process that helps customer service reps relate and empathize with customers, even when they’re having a bad day

Re- Blogged from Integrity Solutions 

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“No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are, you’re going to win one-third of your games. It’s the other third that makes the difference.”
-Tommy Lasorda

Even world-class salespeople don’t win every deal. In fact, the best of the best are willing to walk away from deals that aren’t win/win-the solution doesn’t address the challenge, for example, or the buyer is demanding price concessions but offering nothing in return. They understand that their time is better spent focusing on the remaining one-third that are both winnable and winning.

In sales, just as in baseball, coaches make all the difference. In my last post, I talked about how coaches need to have the skills and mentality to coach the whole salesperson: body and mind. It may sound like a relatively easy thing to do, but as anyone who has ever been a front-line manager in a dynamic sales or service environment and/or a highly competitive market knows, it’s not. However, one thing I can tell you that we’ve learned from both anecdotal evidence and our research: This kind of sales coaching works!

Let’s take a closer look at what it all means for your sales coaching and leadership development strategies—particularly if improving win rates and quota attainment are important goals for you in 2017.

4 Levels of Coaching

Before we get into the results from our research, it’s important to have a common understanding of the different levels of coaching. To set the stage, I’ll use sports as an example again, but this time, I will focus on the sport’s youngest players and how they are coached and developed.

In youth sports, every team has a coach, but what that coach does varies widely between teams—even teams in the same city and at the same age level. Some coaches operate as though their role is nothing more than an overseer, there to make sure the kids play nice and don’t get hurt. Others make a sincere attempt at teaching the kids to play the sport, but since they don’t have real-life experience playing the game themselves, their efforts are relatively ineffectual. A few lucky teams have coaches who know both how to coach children and how to play the sport.

Almost every sales team has coaches as well: typically, the frontline sales managers. Like the youth coaches, their experience and skillset varies widely. So, too, does the level of guidance they get from sales leadership. We’ve formalized this into a coaching model that covers four levels:

Ad-hoc coaching: At this level, the approach to coaching, including whether it happens or not, is up to the individual managers. Left to their own skills and devices, the quality of coaching at this level varies widely. If the managers were never coached well themselves, their efforts will reflect that. It’s at this level that we most often see managers trying to “coach” results—“How will you make quota this month?”, instead of coaching the behaviors and activities that lead to results.

Informal coaching: At this level, the organization recognizes that coaching is vital to success, but it is probably still struggling with what works. There is no formal coaching process defined. Tools to support coaching efforts are few and far between, and there are no established best practices.

Formal coaching: A formal coaching process exists at this level, ideally derived from the customer’s journey. The frontline managers have been trained and educated, and they are required to use the coaching approach to improve performance. Enablement produces coaching guidelines and tools and provides related training sessions to develop the managers and to support their efforts. Best practices are documented and formalized.

Dynamic coaching: The ultimate goal, dynamic coaching, only happens when the formal coaching approach is also tightly aligned with the enablement approach, ensuring that coaching reinforces the enablement investments. At this level, there are principles and best practices, and frontline managers have developed a coaching fluency that allows them to adapt their approach to a dynamic selling and buying environment. Ideally, frontline managers are measured and compensated in part based on how they coach and their commitment to consistent and effective coaching practices.

 Sales Coaching: The Results Are In

With an understanding of the four levels of coaching, let’s look at what our research tells us. Our 2016 sales enablment organisational study uncovered a clear improvement in both win rate and quota attainment as organizations moved from ad-hoc coaching to dynamic coaching. Win rate jumps to an astounding 17.4%.

Amazingly, the study also found that 72% of sales organizations have only an ad-hoc or informal coaching approach. Another 21.7% said they have a formal approach, but only 5.3% said it is aligned with their sales enablement programs.

For organizations looking to create a sustainable competitive advantage, a formal coaching program may be just the ticket.

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By Tamara Schenk

Research Director, CSO Insights

 

Reblogged from Integrity Solutions.

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Companies are beginning to recognize the value in their call centers, not just as moneymakers but also as an integral part of call-centers developing long-term, business relationships. For an industry that typically tracks, measures and controls metrics like call time and volume, it’s easy to think that the value lies in data and quantitative improvements. Think again. These measures general focus on efficiency, not revenue.

Savvy companies are starting to see what was previously viewed as a necessary cost drain should now be treated as a critical component to their customer loyalty strategy—even an investment in future growth. The million-dollar questions:

How have call centers catapulted from being the low ones on the totem pole to acting as the trusted advisors contributing to profitability? And what has caused this dramatic shift?

The answer to both is, quite simply, your customers. With the rise of technology in all aspects of life, customers have gotten used to getting things done in the most efficient way possible. They no longer want or have the time to physically meet with a sales rep, nor do they want to get involved in a lengthy sales cycle. The Internet is one option, but for many, there’s still a desire for human contact, so call centers have become increasingly important.

The phone! It’s quick; it’s efficient and there’s a real person on the other end of the line. What’s more, well-trained call center professionals who have a positive outlook about sales through service are able to skillfully guide clients into additional purchases, bringing in additional revenue for the company.

The result is that the call centers have become profitable, but that’s not the only positive outcome. Call center professionals are gaining trust. They are building enduring, beneficial relationships. They are establishing a loyal customer following and helping the business deliver on its ultimate mission and purpose. Customers are not only trusting the advice; they’re learning to depend on the informed suggestions offered by skilled call center personnel. They are perceiving call center agents as partners, not just providers. Smart companies are recognizing that when they focus on partnerships, profit is the natural by-product.

There’s still work to be done. Recent research from Lee Resources revealed that 80% of companies believe that they deliver superior customer service, while only 8% of customers feel the same. And if American Express’s findings are true—that Americans tell an average of nine people about a good experience but 16 people about a bad one (and that doesn’t even include negative Facebook postings or tweets!)—then companies need to be especially worried about that huge percentage of customers who believe they’re getting less than superior service.

Yet if companies recognize that people and profit are not mutually exclusive, and if they equip their agents to engage in the dialogue that’s necessary to drive revenue, they will position themselves for long-term, positive results.

Dialogue That Pays Off

What does that dialogue look like? Here are a few of the key areas the most effective call center professionals keep top of mind and have become particularly skilled at:

  • Building trust and rapport
  • Putting customers at ease and making them feel important
  • Asking compelling questions to uncover needs
  • Following a proven, structured sales process
  • Actively listening for cues about challenges and wants
  • Understanding Behavior Styles and adjusting accordingly
  • Restating or paraphrasing points
  • Offering solutions that meet needs and create value
  • Translating product and service features into benefits

As more call centers focus on relevant, business-aligned learning and development strategies for their teams, call centers will continue to increase the top line.

The take-away? Put your money in your people. Align standards used to measure success with revenue and customer satisfaction goals, and watch your numbers go up!

 

Re- Blogged from :- Integrity Solutions

Source:- http://www.integritysolutions.com/service/call-centers-can-profit-centers-investing-dialogue

 

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Author and sales expert Dave Kurlan doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the state of sales: “Ineffective salespeople—weak and poor performers—make up a whopping 62% of the sales population.” It’s common that many sales managers feel the daily weight of this statistic.

What contributes to it? We know there is no shortage of books and trainings trying to fix the problem, so why are so many sales professionals struggling?

To answer that question, I asked Alan Allard, founder and CEO of Genius Dynamics, Inc. He is an expert in human behavior and performance improvement for sales professionals and sales leaders and specializes in performance management in organizations.

In my interview, I wanted an answer to this overriding, troublesome dilemma in the sales community, and so posed this question: “Despite all the money invested in training salespeople to sell more, there is still a substantial deficit in the number of effective salespeople. What’s your take on that?”

Alan provided 4 key reasons, which can be used in any area of talent development:

1. Training alone won’t solve our sales challenges – follow-up coaching is essential.

Training is the main go-to resource for increasing sales, but it does not truly facilitate behavior change. Coaching is ideally suited to meet that need. Training can raise awareness, impart important information but it falls short in changing behavior. So, as an example, if a salesperson isn’t consistently asking for referrals, a workshop telling him or her effective language to use is necessary—but not sufficient.

In my experience, this is the challenge with any skill training initiative – talking about a skill, does not a skill make.

2. We’re not asking the right questions.

Alan suggests there are two primary questions sales professionals must be able to sufficiently answer if they want to increase their sales and income.

The first is: “What behaviors or action must I consistently engage in to sell more, to sell faster, or to sell bigger?” The answer would probably entail prospecting for new business, asking for referrals, following an effective sales model, selling on value and not price, providing great service, and so on.

The second question is “How can I get myself to execute the things I already know to do?” Alan went on to share a very important insight that can help sales managers utilize their training budgets much more successfully.

Sales professionals (even new ones) know “what” they need to do. It’s getting themselves to do what they know, and to do it consistently. Every salesperson knows they need to prospect for new clients. But few do it day in and day out. We can learn all the how-tos from sales managers, workshops, books, podcasts and blog posts. The challenge isn’t the knowing—it’s the doing.

3. Sales professionals aren’t adequately dealing with very common performance blockers – guilt and shame.

The ongoing “what” messages they hear without successful change generates guilt and shame. All the continuous training or input from a manager encourages and reiterates the “what”: motivate yourself, be optimistic, and bounce back from your setbacks. But if it doesn’t occur, they feel guilty about not doing what they know to do to reach the next level. That emotional weight then makes it harder for them to do what they must do to sell more effectively.

Sales professionals know guilt and shame slows them down but they don’t know how to stop it and ironically they are too embarrassed to discuss it and many sales managers don’t have the emotional intelligence and therefore insight to sufficiently addressed.

4. Generic sales training is not a one-size fit all – but is treated as such.

They are not customized for the unique needs of each salesperson and leave out “asking the how question”. It’s not that generic training can’t be helpful on some level, however, they do fall short because the how to apply the generic tactics will be very different for each salesperson. We all know motivation is as unique as each person is.

These four reasons really can be applied to any professional skill that needs to be developed from leadership to time management. They summarize the challenges organization have in approaching training, skill, and capability development from a generic, singular, one size fits all approach.

Strategies to Implement

So what’s the solution? Alan suggests and uses a high-impact solution to address the low percentage of successful sales persons. It is a two pronged use of coaching.

External Coaching: This can be done as a one-on-one format or as a facilitated peer group coaching. The first is faster but the second can be very effective. Coaching is ideal for finding specific answers that work for the person being coached. Coaching allows the coach to ask enough questions to dig deep enough to find answers to that “how” question for each sales person.

Internal Coaching: Alan teaches his clients how to utilize self-coaching to reach higher levels of sales success and has done so no matter what level of struggle. The best way to learn how to self-coach, Alan suggests, is to start with being coached by an expert coach. But even if that doesn’t happen, a salesperson can do so with a proficient self-coaching model and external support.

Alan calls his coaching model “GPS.” Here’s a simple introduction to it:

G = Goals (Identify your goals. Are they yours or your sales manager’s? Do you own them?)

P = Plan (What’s your action plan that will get and keep you going? This is where you consider what you’ve been doing so far—what’s worked well and what hasn’t worked so well? What obstacles to your plan have you run up against? What are your solutions?)

S = Support (This includes external and internal support. External support includes a number of things: Do you need more support from your company in some way? Do you need training on your CRM? What do you need from your manager or what do you need more of? Can a colleague help you in some way? Do you need to understand your sales model better—perhaps practice it with your manager or a colleague?)

Internal support means learning how to play the inner game better by self-management, including training psychological and emotional training, mental mastery, and emotional intelligence. This element is the foundation to the rest of the “GPS” model.

Alan’s suggestions teach us that taking a much more committed and strategic approach to sales training and development is absolutely necessary if we do not want our sales force to reside in the 66%. “if you want to learn more about how Alan helps increase sales, visit his website.

As a sales manager or individual sales professional, what next steps will you take to integrate the insight and advice that has been shared?

JoAnn Corley is a passionate champion of human potential with a focus on leadership and organizational success. She has the crazy belief that we can create our best leaders and businesses from the best of our human selves. Her overall mission is to help companies put the human back in human resource though holistic talent management. She leverages her knowledge of human behavior in marketing her boutique consulting firm across a variety of channels. She has been consistently recognized as one of the top 100 most social HR & management experts to follow on social media @joanncorley.

Source:- https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2016/09/biggest-reasons-sales-not-where-you-want.html

 

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Should you take the risk and promote your top-performing salesperson to manager?

The stakes are high. You’re not only going to lose a great player on the field, you’re also making a bet that their outstanding current performance will translate into this new role.

The debate over whether the best salespeople will make great sales managers has been going on for decades. While in many professions, there’s often a logical career progression up the ranks to management, it’s not necessarily so clear-cut in the world of sales.

One of the reasons is that many of the factors that make a salesperson a top performer are quite different from what it takes to be an effective sales manager. A few of those characteristics might even hamper their success as a manager.

But maybe a more productive starting point for the conversation is to consider what makes a great sales manager in the first place. Is it micro-managing, picking up the slack, criticizing poor performance or stepping in to “fix” what’s wrong?

Not hardly.

And while there are certainly operational aspects to sales management—staffing, reporting, planning, budgeting and other activities—the ultimate goal for every sales manager is to make sure their salespeople are able to reach their full potential so that they can not only hit their numbers and build a strong, loyal customer base but also be more fulfilled in their work and committed to the business.

In fact, you could say that the great sales managers are those who move people from where they are today to where they want to be.

Fittingly, that’s also one of the historical definitions of the word “coach.”

Why Companies Struggle to Develop Great Coaches

In a recent Sales Management Association research report on Hiring Top Sales Management Talent, coaching ability ranked among the top five competencies companies consider when evaluating a salesperson’s qualifications for a management promotion. Considering how integral coaching is to the role, this isn’t surprising. But what’s worrying is the fact that firms in the study rated their effectiveness at developing managers’ coaching ability at only 50 on a 100-point scale.

Where are they going off track? Well, they could be overlooking one the most important factors in coaching success.

No, it’s no some magical skill or technique. While there are some skills every sales manager needs to develop to be a successful coach, coaching ability is more than a skills issue. Values, a genuine belief in people and a desire to help them grow are often far more influential when it comes to a manager’s coaching effectiveness.

Here’s why: When employees fail to achieve desired results, managers often assume they’ve peaked in their performance and stop challenging them to improve. Once employees discover the level of performance managers will accept, they settle in. We call this “The Law of Limited Performance.” This limiting loop of beliefs is a self-fulfilling prophecy on both sides of the equation, and it inevitably results in lower productivity and untapped potential.

So while many companies may offer their managers training on how to coach their salespeople, if they miss this key factor, their efforts will invariably come up short.

Putting Values and Beliefs in Focus

Being able to run the operation is very different from having the awareness or the critical coaching capabilities to inspire team members to grow, improve and deliver what is possible.

The question is, how do you develop this core coaching success factor? How can you improve the odds that your great salespeople—or even your great sales managers—can be fully successful in the role?

Any training that you implement should be grounded in helping managers understand and learn how to break The Law of Limited Performance, starting with their own beliefs about their role.

Self-reflection is the first step in making the shift. Here are five questions that will help them gauge their own readiness and begin to understand the mindset, values and beliefs necessary to be an effective coach:

  • Do I believe the coaching is developing potential in people?
  • Do I believe I have the ability to be highly successful as I coach?
  • Do I live by and model values of integrity, honesty and sincerity?
  • Am I willing to do all the activities required to be a successful coach?
  • Do I have an unwavering belief in the potential of my people?

Coaching is as much about the manager’s own development as it is about developing the performance of their people. The good news is, developing those hi-potential players and managers into great coaches is more than worth it. A Bersin by Deloitte study found that the organizations that effectively prepare managers to coach are 130% more likely to realize stronger business results.

Here’s the even better news: It’s not just business; it’s personal. If you’ve ever had someone in your life who helped you recognize your potential and see greater possibilities, then you know the powerful difference a great coach can make.

 

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By Mike Fisher

This blog was originally published through our partners at The Sales Management Association.

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