Sales Training In Today’s Economy11 April 2010 3:07 am Sales Training
Sales training in today’s economy will contribute more to your bottom line than any other activity. You will see how sales training will affect budget cutbacks, sales incentives, new product launches and personal growth.
Let me share with you the story of two different clients. Last August, I was scheduled to conduct some sales training for dissimilar clients: Client A and Client B. Each sales team was having difficulty meeting their sales targets.
Client A’s training was postponed until the New Year due to budget cuts. Why do suppose their training budgets were cut?
The primary reason is sales were down. Client A chose to punish or penalize the sales force by cutting training budgets and other sales related activities.
Did Client A’s choice to eliminate training help increase their sales, or get the team back on target, or even contribute to their bottom line?
Time has passed and as per their request, I followed up with them. Unfortunately, I learned the sales force was cut to a bear minimum, the budget was slashed, and now they are in serious financial difficulty. Can you appreciate the importance of sales training?
Client B was also struggling to meet sales targets; however, they invested in sales training. Client B ended the year on target, and realized how sales training made a positive contribution to their bottom line. Not only did they prepare in advance for today’s economy but they are now providing their sales team with ongoing sales training. What do you think their results will be this year?
It is important Management understand that the world revolves around sales. Without sales, there are no transactions and without transactions, there is no revenue. Organizations cannot survive without revenue and therefore, no one would have a job.
Today’s down economy is resulting in layoffs and cutbacks due to lack of sales. There is reduced revenue and therefore, cost reductions are necessary but should never be in the sales area. Sales is the bloodline for the survival of every business in the world!
On the contrary, an increased budget should be allocated to sales. Now is the time for ambitious sales activity. It is no longer an order taking economy. It is a hunter’s economy. Prospects have to be sought after, qualified and prescribed affordable solutions. In addition, it is crucial to maintain loyal relationships with all existing customers.
Sales people may also need to change the way they are selling. The traditional dog and pony show or feature and benefit dump will no longer work. Clients, in today’s economy, are looking for sales people who bring them value. They want sales people who take the time to truly understand a client’s business and needs.
Clients appreciate sales people who ask pertinent questions and listen intently, while demonstrating genuine concern for the client and not just themselves. Clients respect sales people who are in it for the long term relationship and not simply for the money.
Sales people also need to learn how to get the best return on their time invested (R.O.T.I.). In today’s economy, they may need to change their targeting strategy in order to benefit from R.O.T.I.
They must profile clients by category and then, identify similar profiles to prospect in the market place.
Sales people need to track their behaviours and identify where they obtain the best results for improving their call to close ratios. These ratios are normally down during an economic crisis.
The sales person’s attitude also requires an adjustment. Sales people tend to become a product of their environment of which they have little control. They use the tough times as an excuse and slow down as opposed to moving forward and taking control of their life.
This economic crisis is not the end of sales. There is much to learn through ongoing sales training that leads to positive actions and results. Now is the time to contribute to your bottom line one positive step at a time. However, if the foundation is not there for sales support, nothing will change.
Sales training is the foundation. You may not be able to build on it right now, but don’t knock it down. It is a strong support today and in the future.