Because I have had failures
Of course, there were also failures during this time! Failures = learning opportunities
There was a training that went totally wrong. The aim was to enable the sales staff in a market with commodities (office machines) through intensive training (with Train – the – Trainer) to get into the C – Suite. There, where the carpets are thicker and the air thinner. It soon turned out that the few who made it to board meetings there were listened to only very briefly, because they very soon were complimented out the door with the request “..for that, we have our specialists…”.
What had gone wrong?
First of all, the misjudgment that an improved advisory sales conversation alone is a “sesame – open – yourself”. Especially if advice is offered where there is no need for advice. A classic case of “singing under the wrong balcony”.
Secondly, many sellers lacked the necessary self-confidence to deliver performance in such an unfamiliar environment. The C – Suite has just its own code of conduct with matching stable smell. Many things simply did not fit – clothing, hairstyles, language, staging, claim, self confidence in appearance and much more. Their own understanding of their role was challenged.
What did I learn from this?
To put it in a theatrical way, it makes a huge difference whether you play a comedy or a tragedy. Both need their own props, stage, scenery and actors – because they have their own audience with their own expectations. Both demand their own strategy.
It also makes a huge difference in sales whether you are dealing with a customer who knows the product % the service offered or not. Whether the customer wants to have a relationship or not. Whether a purchase triggers change or not. Whether the customer has a need for consulting or not. According to these criteria, however, complex marketing and sales strategies should be aligned.
This means for training: Performance needs the appropriate environment. Structures, internal and external cooperation, leadership, support, compensation, tools. Without them … little to nothing will work.
I owe this knowledge to the book “The Betrayed Sale” by Peter Grimm. The main argument of this (unfortunately out of print) book is the absence of clarity in sales work. Sales often is internally badly positioned or not at all. Collaboration with marketing is often a competition for internal resources. The message (s) to the world outside are unclear – why should who buy something from me? And why now? And what does sales management mean? This missing role clarity affects many sellers. No wonder that many potential customers are so unclear with so much uncertainty. And they do not buy, but continue doing business a susual.
The answer to these topics is called MarktSpiel®. There you learn to get clarity in your own market appearance. With this clarity in the back, it is easy to be much more effective in sales. The right training will help you a lot!
With the system MarktSpiel® I worked for many years with Peter Grimm and his son Martin. My role became more and more clear to me:
I urge implementation!
One question I keep asking myself is the question of implementing in – house training. How can it be that not even 20% of top training is done?
There are mutliple reasons for this:
- Success – Measurement is not an issue
- Unrealistic expectations
- Wrong training concept
- Sales management not involved
- Lack of coaching culture
Success – measurement is not an issue
It is no longer enough to take participant satisfaction after a training as the only criterion for success. Others, such as learning factor or application of the learned, can be measured without much effort. Measurement of results is much more complicated and costly, but pays off in large projects.
It is unrealistic to expect a cultural change after two or three days of training. Professional athletes also train more than just a few days ski / tennis / golf course!
It’s easy to say, “A little something always sticks …”.
Instead, concrete goals (such as “I want x% of my offers to become assignments within x months!”) are much more helpful to all -managers, participants, coaches!
Wrong training concept
It makes little sense to train advisory sales when customers do not need advice, e.g. for standard products. Instead, one might wonder which sales channel is the most promising one: inside sales or webshops or a combination or something completely different?
It makes little sense to design a sales training when the decision-making processes of the customers are unknown. Instead, it may be worth investigating.
Sales management not involved
It is not just the point of view of the sales manager, which is important in the conception phase, but above all their role after a training: who else should ensure that what they have learned is implemented ?! Who else should help with difficulties? Who else should be interested in the success of every sales person? Who else should demand and promote these people?
Lack of coaching culture
It’s not enough to simply say “coaching is on our mind!” After a few weeks, coaching has disappeared from the agenda! I have seen this happening too often. Believe me: the gray everyday life always wins!
What is missing?
As long as coaching has only a nice – to – have status, it will not happen. Out. Point. Basta! Only when it appears in the job description of executives, only when coaching is paid, itbecomes alive. Then coaching is a must have! It’s so! Then it has the space and the time it deserves.