Regular training for your employees is integral to productivity and profitability, meaning it’s something you should never take for granted. Among other things, training:
- Improves Confidence and, Therefore, Performance. When people know they’ve been equipped to do their jobs properly, it boosts their spirits and reassures them they can achieve levels of competency and productivity they haven’t realized in the past. Further, when employees understand why their work matters and how to do it, they’re more likely to hit the mark or go above and beyond.
- Saves the Company Money. Well-trained employees make fewer errors and require less direct supervision. Furthermore, they spend less time thinking about problem solving, because they already know what to do. Consistent training also decreases employee turnover—a big drain on corporate costs.
- Earns the Company Money. While money saved is equivalent to money earned, directly fattening the bottom line makes people sit up and take notice. A few years ago, Nations Hotel Company invested heavily in coaching and saw an ROI of 221 percent.
- Increases Employee Productivity. Motorola long since realized that every dollar invested in training can yield as much as a 30% gain in productivity within three years. That let the company cut costs by $3 billion and increase profits by 47 percent in 2000 alone. According to another report—”The 2001 Global Training and Certification Study” by testing firms CompTIA and Prometric—as little as a 2% increase in productivity can result in a 100% increase in training ROI.
There is no doubt that social media has added to sales, and people who leverage it, along with other resources available, will usually do better than those who swear allegiance to only one method of selling, while ignoring all others. A few weeks ago, I shared my concern about some of the rhetoric and trends in sales, and the potential drag it causes on sales professionals.
I then happened to listen in on an interview with Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a Harvard-trained economist, former Google data scientist, and author of Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are. In which Stephens-Davidowitz “argues that much of what we thought about people has been dead wrong. The reason? People lie, to friends, lovers, doctors, surveys—and themselves.” The discussion looked at what people publicly project, and what their search habits reveal about them, and the frequent disconnect or out and out lie they show.
Before any 1st appointment, send the prospect the following email as your agenda:
Looking forward to our upcoming meeting. In terms of our agenda, I would like to propose the following:
- Learn about you
- Share about us
- Kick around some ideas
- Confirm that we “fit”
- Determine next steps
Then, if available, also attach a list of questions that will act as the discovery guide.
The Structure of a 1st Appointment:
The title of this post makes an unsafe assumption, specifically that many in sales are prepared for the expected, they are not. Given the surprise and outrage many sellers display when they get the most common objection while prospecting, or the slightest push back throughout the sale, suggests that they are not prepared for many predictable elements of their sale.
For many preparing for the expected seems counter intuitive. But practicing things you will likely face and execute in every sale, be it weekly role plays, or rehearsing on your own, just trains the muscle, and sharpens the nerve. Role playing an hour a week, and visualising each sales meeting before you show up, will give you a number of advantages. Not only does it bring you closer to the 10,000 hours of experience it takes to be a phenom or expert, but the more you master the core elements of a craft or skill, the more bandwidth and focus you have for things beyond the core. There is no reason sales people should not practice as much between calls, as they expect their favourite ball player to practice between games.
Customers are the most important component of your marketing program. You can have the best product or service and the most knowledgeable and impressive staff, but without a happy customer, you may have no one to make the sale to. No sales lead to fewer staff or at best, a less-qualified staff, leading to a downward spiral. This situation may sound like a doom and gloom prediction, but a solution is not far out of your reach.
Many organizations take advantage of a means of accomplishing thing through a process popularized by Peter Drucker known as Management By Objective (MBO). This allows everyone to understand the company’s objectives, the means and process of achieving it, and the individual’s role and responsibility in delivering it. One by-product of MBO is the efficiencies gained through standardized processes.