A lot of sales-training programs teach tips and techniques that are hard to use effectively on a day-to-day basis. There are three basic reasons why.
- They lack a proactive approach. Instead they are reactive; they just teach various ways to respond to certain things that a customer might say or do.
- The selling systems these programs teach are often quite complicated, and therefore difficult to remember, practice, and apply.
- The training itself is designed and delivered without much thought given to an effective adult-learning process. The programs seem oblivious to most of what we know about how adults best learn new skills, and what causes these skills to be applied (or not) on the job.
For a sales system to be useful on an EVERYDAY basis, it would have to avoid those flaws. Let’s put it another way: To be truly effective in the real world, sales training—and the sales system it teaches-would have to be:
- Easy to learn. For instance, the training should concentrate on building a handful of critical skills, rather than trying to cover dozens of them.
- Educationally sound. The training ought to be based on principles gleaned from many decades of adult-learning research.
- Proactive. Instead of teaching tricks and techniques designed to outmaneuver customers by reacting to particular things that they might say or do, the system should be flexible enough to apply in any situation, with any customer in any emotional state—eager, angry, resistant, uncertain, whatever.
A SALES COMMUNICATIONS PROCESS FOR EVERY SITUATION AND EVERY CUSTOMER
Instead of taking a reactive approach, suppose that a proactive sales communications system provided a step-by-step guide to understanding and managing the customer’s decision-making process, using a proven model of buyer decision-making that applies to every customer. A great guidebook like that would enable you to walk arm-in-arm with the customer toward the best solutions to the customer’s needs.
A process flexible enough to be used every day by everyone who has customer contact would need to be as much a communication system as a sales system.
There actually is a real-world selling system that meets all of those criteria. Action Selling is easy to use every day, in all kinds of customer-contact situations. The Nine-Act structure of Action Selling applies to every formal “sales” situation, and every interaction that non-traditional salespeople have with customers.
In fact, we have a special version of the Action Selling system for “Customer Relationship Professionals.” These are employees who come into contact with your company’s customers—service reps, technicians, inside sales, marketing or anyone else.
Why would a company deliver sales communications training to non-traditional salespeople? In the course of every single interaction with your company, a customer is becoming either more or less loyal to you. Action Selling’s Customer Relationship Professional is as much a communication system as a sales system. But above all, it is a loyalty-building system. And it’s one you can put to work every single day with every single customer.
Want to know more about the connection between customer loyalty and sales training that is useful every day? Ask the eCoach.
ACTION SELLING IN ACTION
One customer relationship professional who has learned to value the daily usefulness of Action Selling is Justin Kurtz, an interactive print consultant at Grand Rapids, Minn.-based publishing company Mines and Pines.
“I want to share with you just how wonderful Action Selling is,” Kurtz wrote us recently. “I live by the steps every day. I have been the top performer at every business I’ve worked at because of Action Selling. If only other people could realize how easy it is to use every day! Thank you so much.”
For information about how to make employee training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.
Want your company to start creating customers who are genuinely loyal? Check out my latest book, Masters of Loyalty: How to Turn Your Work Force Into a Loyalty Force.
ABOUT DUANE SPARKS
Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).
Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).