Some 30-year sales veterans can honestly tell you that they still learn something new every day. No matter how formidable the sales skills they already possess, they just keep on getting better.
Other 30-year sales veterans might tell you they have learned an awful lot from their decades of experience, but it doesn’t take long to figure out that what they’ve really had is one year of experience repeated 30 times.
Experience is an overrated teacher if you learn from it haphazardly. If you want to learn from experience effectively, you have to learn actively and deliberately.
This point is so important that a deliberate mechanism for active learning is built into Action Selling in what we call Act 9, Replay the Call. It is also built into our new mobile sales-coaching application, Plan to Win + Replay the Call. With the mobile tool, however, salespeople get a bonus. They do their deliberate learning with the help of a real-time coach.
This means that salespeople don’t just continuously improve their performance by actively learning from experience. They continuously improve their ability to actively learn.
SALESPEOPLE CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVE THEIR ABILITY TO ACTIVELY LEARN.
As I explained in the last two editions of eCoach, Plan to Win + Replay the Call is a mobile coaching application that begins with call planning. Whenever one of your reps completes a plan for a client call, you, the sales manager, get a copy of the plan on your computer or any mobile device. You see the client and the client’s company. You see the “milestone” in your own company’s sales process that the rep has reached with this client. You see the salesperson’s Commitment Objective for the call—the specific action the rep wants the client to agree to take that will move things forward to the next milestone in your sales process. You see the pre-planned questions the salesperson intends to ask to uncover the client’s most critical needs. And you see the salesperson’s strategy for gaining commitment.
It becomes simple for you to guide and advise each of your reps through every important sales call.
But that is only half of it. Act 9 of the Action Selling system takes place after each key sales call. The salesperson mentally reviews the call to determine parts that went well (and why) and parts that could be improved on future calls (and how). How great were my questions? Could I have asked a better one? Did I go into the call with the right Commitment Objective? If I had to change my Commitment Objective, did I do so appropriately and effectively? Did I address the customer’s Five Major Buying Decisions in the proper order, or did I allow the process to go off the rails at some point?
The same review process happens in the Replay the Call part of our new mobile application. But it takes place with the sales manager acting as an online coach. The sales rep uses a quick and easy process to conduct a replay and share it immediately with the sales manager. The manager—you—can figuratively look over each rep’s shoulder to offer suggestions, corrections, praise, or other guidance.
Please think about what that means: Both of you have a solid understanding of what this important sales call was supposed to accomplish and the plan for making it happen. Then both of you put your heads together to determine what lessons can be drawn from the call about better planning and execution for the next opportunity that arises. You do that every time, for every key sales call.
I’ll say it again: With Action Selling, salespeople don’t just continuously improve their performance by actively learning from experience. They continuously improve their ability to actively learn.
Oh, and maybe it strikes you that this also might help you to continuously improve your ability as a sales coach. Or would that make the whole thing too…elegant?
For information about how to make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.
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).