Orange Tree Employment Screening of Minneapolis is in a highly competitive and price-driven business: It does background screening and drug testing for job candidates. All of Orange Tree’s salespeople have graduated from sales training programs and sales coaching based on the Action Selling system.

As they prepared to attend a recent conference for human resources professionals—their core customers—sales vice president Steve Mihalik issued a challenge. “Instead of our old approach, which was to grab some business cards and go, I challenged them to use the system they learned in the sales training courses to create a real strategy for the show,” he says.

The sales team began with a Commitment Objective: Locate decision makers and gain their agreement for needs-analysis appointments after the conference. The original team goal was to secure a total of 15 appointments. But thanks to the critical sales skills they had learned from the sales training programs, Mihalik says, each of the salespeople came away with 18 confirmed appointments.

“The competition just watched us in amazement,” he says.

To help remove the FUD Factor (Fear, Uncertainly, and Doubt), each salesperson had a basket of fresh oranges delivered to the hotel room of everyone who agreed to an appointment. It was a nice touch that made Orange Tree even more memorable.

For once, the return on investment from attending an industry conference promises to be spectacular, Mihalik says. “This is what happens when a great sales training system is used not just in a typical sales call but in every sales activity.”

Think Bigger

If your company is using a truly effective sales training program and follow-up sales coaching, but you are benefitting only during formal customer calls, you are missing a lot of opportunities.

When you have found an excellent sales system, you should apply it in every situation that requires you to build momentum toward sales. A trade show is just one example, but it’s a good one. After all, why do you invest in attending a trade show if not to build momentum toward sales?

A great sales system helps you do that. Action Selling, for instance, is all about building momentum. It is a systematic process for achieving rapport, creating trust, and gaining agreement from customers. Agreement on what? Agreement to take the next logical step toward a sale, whatever that step might be. In a word: momentum.

When Orange Tree decided that the next logical step for prospects encountered at a trade show would be a needs-analysis meeting, and when gaining agreement for those meetings was established as the Commitment Objective, the sales force gained a focus and an anchor for planning that had been absent at previous shows.

In Action Selling’s case the Commitment Objective is only one Act in a 9-Nine Act sales process. But by thinking outside the bounds of formal sales calls, and by applying even that single piece of the system they learned in sales training programs to a different situation, Orange Tree’s salespeople revolutionized their approach to trade shows.

As Steve Mihalik says, the results speak for themselves.

For information about how to improve sales skills and make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.

Duane Sparks

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).