If you operate in a complex selling environment, can any sales training program make the process simple and clear enough that every salesperson on your team can become highly effective? Certainly…but only if your sales training programs and sales coaching efforts are grounded in the right sales system. What do I mean by complex sales? I define them as those with two basic characteristics. First, they have lengthy sell cycles: They require more than one sales call, and they involve a series of milestones that must be completed in a particular order. Second, complex sales include multiple buyer types. That is, instead of just an ultimate decision-maker, you also may be dealing with what I describe as User Buyers and Specialist Buyers. Before you can close a deal, all three types have to be “sold.” In fact, before you can proceed from one milestone to the next, one or more of the buyer types have to be sold on the idea of moving forward. And they all have different decision-making criteria.

Multiple milestones + Multiple buyer types = Complexity

In an environment with five milestones and three buyer types, for instance, the salesperson faces 15 possible situations in which keysales skills must be brought to bear effectively in order to keep the process moving forward. No wonder salespeople get lost, make mistakes, and lose sales. That is why a great sales system—the kind that spawns great sales training programs and enables great sales coaching—must apply just as much to a complex sales environment as it does to a single sales call. In the Action Selling ® System, for example, the Nine Acts unfold as always, regardless of the environment’s complexity. The Five Critical Sales Skills are essential. But those five skills—managing the buyer/seller relationship; sales call planning; questioning skills; presentation skills; and gaining commitment—all must be aimed at and adjusted for each milestone and each buyer type. For instance, you don’t ask the same questions or seek the same kinds of commitments from different buyer types at different milestones. So, yes, there is still more to do in a complex sales situation than in a single, one-off sales call. But life gets a lot simpler when you have learned to identify the path ahead, and you understand that no matter how long and winding that path may be, the same basic steps always lead you forward. If your sales training programs and sales coaching initiatives can impart that knowledge and confidence to your sales force, then they can wade into any complex environment and come out with a win. For information about how to improve sales skills and make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling ® at (800) 232-3485.