Are your sales training programs based on a coherent sales system, or are they more like a grab bag of tips and techniques masquerading as sales skills? When sales training and sales coaching are grounded in a full-scale system, they give you a plan to follow during sales calls. What’s the fundamental advantage of following a plan, as opposed to just “winging it”? My answer would have to do with movement, momentum, and confidence. Regardless of the individual sales skills you possess, when you fly by the seat of your pants, you’re likely to travel around in circles. A good plan keeps you moving confidently in the direction you want to go. The farther into the plan you get, the more momentum you build. Finally, you become unstoppable. When I conduct sales coaching sessions on Action Selling, I stress the fact that it is a full-fledged system, rather than just a collection of sales tips and tricks. Sales training courses based on Action Selling provide a structure and a step-by-step process that guides the salesperson through every milestone of a sales interaction, from initial contact to post-sale follow-up. But so what? Why is a systematic process so valuable? I think it boils down to this: A good process enables you to create good plans—consistently. And a good plan is what lets you move purposefully and confidently toward a goal, instead of just trying to muddle through, nervous at every turn.

Moving toward customer commitment

Using Action Selling as an example, consider how a systematic process can produce sales training programs that teach sales skills within the context of a consistent plan. The conceptual components of Action Selling fit together precisely. actionSellingChart2 - What’s Your Plan? The system consists of nine “Acts,” which align with five “Buying Decisions” that every customer makes, always in the same order. (Research proves that, by the way.) Those nine Acts are the framework of a plan. The plan’s purpose is to gain commitment from customers. Not coincidentally, gaining customer commitment is the fundamental purpose of every salesperson. Sales training programs based on this system produce graduates who follow the steps correctly, from Commitment Objective to Confirming the Sale and Replaying the Call. When they do that, the plan works. It works for everybody, not just for the lucky few who are “born salespeople.” It works consistently. It breeds success. Therefore, it instills confidence. What do you get when you are more confident and more successful? You get a better career. And you get a better life. A good plan—a plan that works—doesn’t just keep you moving. It keeps you moving in the right direction. Reliably. Every time. That’s why sales training courses based on the right system are so valuable.

Action Selling in Action

What kind of difference does it make when you use a sales-planning process that really works? Here is the transcript of a recent voice mail to one of our Sales Board reps, Eric Boss. It came in on a Friday afternoon from Action Selling customer George Hudson, an account executive for Perfecto Tool & Engineering in Anderson, Indiana. “Hey, Eric, this is George Hudson. I just thought I’d let you know that I had another really good week. I just closed $100,000 in sales. We got the final purchase order here late today. “Yes, I called the customer to Confirm the Sale; I assured them that they made a good decision; I thanked them; and I scheduled the next event, which is a kickoff meeting for next week. “Man, I’ll tell you what, it is so comforting to have Action Selling, to have a plan—a plan that works—and to constantly be moving these things forward with a commitment from the customer. My life will never be the same. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Have a nice weekend. I sure will.” For information about a Sales Plan that works and how to hear messages like this from your sales reps, contact us at (800) 232-3485.
Duane Sparks - What’s Your Plan?

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).