Let’s consider a pretty common scenario as we begin today’s post . . .
Your salespeople aren’t selling enough. They’re hitting their quotas by making the number of sales visits you asked for. They’re even identifying and calling on 20 strong new prospects every month, just like you asked them to do. But the needle isn’t moving in either new client acquisition or sales dollar volume.
Who Are You Going to Call?
To fix the problem, you contact two sales training companies and invite them to come by to make their pitches to you. A representative from Training Company A arrives and pitches a “Five Steps to Sales Success” training package that has reportedly produced the kind of results you want. Training Company B visits too, but sends a team of training consultants who ask you a lot of questions.
Chances are that you are already gravitating toward Training Company B, right? The fact that they sent a team of people means that they really want your business and are willing to bring in trainers with varied experience and perspectives. And then there’s the fact that they are asking questions right from the get-go. They have already started a conversation that is worth continuing as you make your training company choice.
Should you write off Training Company A? Not necessarily. They might have exactly what you need, but you’re going to have to dig deeper to find out whether they have the resources to customize their prepackaged training program to meet your needs.
Questions, Questions . . .
Okay, the team from Training Company B is asking a lot of questions. That’s good, but what questions are they asking? Here are some that your training company should ask:
- Where did you get your quotas from? Do they make any sense? Your salespeople are hitting your targets, but still not selling enough. Instead of ramping up training to squeeze more dollars from the quotas you set, this is the time to ask whether they are the right ones – or even if they make any sense. The next question flows logically from this one . . .
- What is the real reason sales are not increasing? Maybe boosting the number of cold calls or sales visits will not increase sales. Maybe ramping up the energy of your salespeople won’t do the trick either. Perhaps something else will, like having your salespeople position themselves as problem-solving consultants to your clients, not as people with products to pitch. But the underlying question is, will your training try to solve the symptoms of what is wrong instead of getting at the underlying causes? Again, the next question flows logically from this one . . .
- How much does the training company really know about your customers . . . and how much is it willing to learn? Some high-energy, one-size-fits-all training programs can produce upticks in sales in the short term by getting your salespeople energized to close sales that are already in the pipeline. But there is no substitute for asking deeper questions about who your customers are and how you can meet their needs. If the sales training company you are talking to is willing to spend time learning about your customers, chances are you have found trainers you can produce meaningful and long-lasting improvements.