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PERFORMANCE UNDER PRESSURE©

Uniquely designed programmes proven to enhance performance under pressure. Choose your sector here:

How can you ensure sales training works? Here are three tips from Gazing…

As a business leader myself, the first question that I always want to know the answer to is this: why should I care? Whatever I am being told about, I want to know how it is going to impact me and my business, both as an organisation and the people within. When it comes to sales training, it’s exactly the same. Business leaders and sales leaders simply want to know the benefits. I have now refined this answer – having been asked it so many times – and usually respond: Whatever size of business you work in, be it 10 employees or 1000, the most aligned you are to your customers, the more effective your sales will be which will drive business growth. This means sales training needs to align itself with the customer, it needs to be practical and it needs to work in the real-world. Sounds simple, doesn’t it….

The sales capability that you learn in our training is about putting the customer at the centre of your focus and understanding the buying process from their perspective. People need to have a clear understanding about what, exactly, this involves – providing clarity around the specific steps of this interactive skill and how it can be acquired. Once this “location of the buyer” is understood, you can provide sales people with strategies to respond that they can practice and get better at. We then apply this within pressurised environments of real life to ensure it can be applied when back in the office. All business leaders understand pressure and knowing how to apply new skills under these circumstances are critical. This is at the heart of Gazing’s success around sales training.

However, there’s always been a lot of talk about selling – is it more of an art or a science? “Sales people are born not made”, implying sales training won’t work as you either have it or you don’t. At Gazing, we treat selling as a skill, something we believe can be taught, improved and refined further.

Research has shown that whether you are learning mental or physical skills, the main two determinants of skill acquisition appear to be repetition and specificity. Both are required; one without the other rarely work. So we’ve put this at the heart of our sales management and sales team training programmes – and it works. You need to be specific about what you are practicing and you need to repeat the skill until it comes naturally and you can adapt in any situation.

Here are 3 important tips to acquiring the right skills for effective selling:

Tip 1: Don’t start with your selling strategy or technique; start by locating where your customer is.

This overriding guiding principle should make sense of the sales process. The basic knowledge underpinning sales skills should involve what goes on in the customer’s mind rather than your own. When customers feel you are in the same place as them and respond, you are more likely to influence movement in the sales cycle. When managers review sales cycles they should ask where the customer is, not what the sales person has done…

Tip 2: The more pressured a task, the more structure it needs to have in place to support the process. Sales people need help to keep on track when the pressure hits – and not revert back to old habits. So use a map!

Under stress, being able to perform requires clarity of process. When under pressure, we easily revert to what we are familiar with and if that is an inadequate process, performance levels will consequently be poor. In contrast, having a reliable framework in our minds allows us to follow an established procedure with confidence. We use a practical but unique one-page map that shows the clients steps in making a decision and the best strategy to use to influence movement to the next step.  The sales person always knows where they are in the process, and how to return to the usual selling pathways when appropriate.  Part of skill acquisition is learning how to do this whilst under pressure.

 

Tip 3: Practice makes permanent, breaking it down makes it better.

The final tip comes down to repetition of specific elements. As I mentioned earlier, research shows that the two key factors behind successfully acquiring new skills are repetition and specificity. Once the specifics and structures are established with the help of visual prompts, the key is repeating them over and over until we have ‘over-learned’ them, as this is ‘the way we sell successfully’.

It’s fair to say that the last tip is the one that is most easily ignored, so I am encouraged by the number of people I meet up with years down the line who tell me: “I still use my Gazing map!” and tell me our practical sales training methods actually deliver the results in the real world. There are numerous sales training methodologies but none of them matter unless the sales people use what they have learned in the training to help them get better at selling and ultimately bring in those deals. That’s what the business leaders should be asking themselves – does this training deliver new business growth and if so, how? I hope the tips above have helped give you some insight into this.

Martin Fairn, CEO, Gazing Performance Systems

www.gazing.com

@gazingtraining

 

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7.2.1 Privacy Policy

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