In order to stay ahead of the game, I read quite a bit. Recently, I came across an interesting statistic – Six out of ten salespeople say that when they figure out what works for them, they won’t change it. This statistic is consistent with what I experience in the sales workshops that we run. You know the situation when the people enter the room and I welcome them with a smile. I can pretty quickly get a feel for who the “prisoners”, the “vacationers” and the real “learners” are.
Anyway, everybody sits down and I kick off the workshop. During the intro, I always ask everybody to briefly introduce themselves and what they expect to learn from the workshop.
And then it starts. “My boss asked me to be here”, “I am not sure, I already have 30 years experience in sales” and other statements like that, that suck the energy out of the room.
Rather than getting irritated, I see these as great opportunities. Especially the “I am not sure, I have 30 years experience in sales”- people. I like to challenge these people with a question around why they don’t know? The answer is of course that they believe they are already quite accomplished in sales (at least in their opinion), so why would they need to attend a sales training workshop? And then the famous sentence comes out: “Why change a winning sales process?”
So the questioning continues with me asking, “tell me how sales worked when you started in your sales career”. The answer is often similar:
“Oh, 25 years ago, working in sales was so different! Nothing to compare to what it is nowadays.”
Boom! There we are! So although the sales playground has changed dramatically, their sales approach has not? Then I ask the senior salesperson to tell us about the differences between then and now, after which we progress on a more aligned way of thinking.
“We didn’t have mobile phones, we didn’t have internet, we didn’t have a cloud CRM and neither did our customers. We went around with brochures to show and illustrate the features of our products. We had to explain and educate, and buying decisions were decentralised. Before the GFC, customers would simply call, where nowadays, we have to go and find them. Business was created at places where alcohol flew abundantly and cigars were smoked. Code of Conduct was in the early stages, or didn’t even exist.”
So the sales arena and approach has changed? “Oh, absolutely” they reply!
Consequently, real sales professionals know how important it is to find out what the latest landscape, trends and methodologies are in sales, so they can change the process and always stay ahead of their game!
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