17. Only 13% of customers believe sales reps understand their needs
Take the time to listen. Too many buyers complain that salespeople do not fully understand their needs and problems. You cannot sell a solution for a problem you don’t know about.
It is said “Customers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” and listening deeply is a fundamental skill for every salesperson to take on as a process of continuous learning. Forever. Take it on as a practice, like meditation and yoga. Find different ways to learn questioning skills – as a form of communication, connection, and problem-solving – and not just as a selling skill. Practice asking “Tell me more about that…” in EVERY conversation. Practice BEING inquisitive and interested. Practice asking questions to take a conversation deeper than surface level and see what happens.
AS a Sales Manager, BE the example of listening skills and practice. Ask yourself:
• Do I ask questions to help my sales team members to discover solutions or do I tell them what to do?
• Do I consciously practice developing MY questioning skills with my salespeople, with support people, with customers?
• Do I fully appreciate the skill of asking questions and deeply listening to responses?
Is there room for me to grow in this area? Am I willing to take that on?
16. Salespeople who seek out and use referrals earn 4–5x more sales
A whopping 91 percent of customers say they would be willing to give referrals for companies and products they are happy with, but only 11 percent of salespeople ask for them!
Salespeople Yikes! These are crazy numbers! And yet, as I read them I know that AS a salesperson, this is my weakest area. Maybe it’s habit, maybe it’s discomfort asking for more than the sale that was just closed, maybe it’s a lack of skill or language to ask with confidence. In any case, it needs to be an essential element of the sales process and of sales training and coaching.
We can focus on marketing actions all day when the closer and more intimate action of asking for referrals lays dormant. Let’s give this a shot and measure the results. Make it a 90-day experiment with frequent reminders, inspection, discussion. This will change when sales managers take this on as a priority and share results with the team.
#14 Continuous sales training = 50% higher net sales per employee
Salespeople who continuously train bring in 50 percent more sales than those who don’t. It’s a no brainer—keeping sales teams up to date and involved means more sales.
Salespeople Even veterans need to sharpen their skills, techniques, and perspective as the market and the prospect/client changes. Retail and showroom people are experiencing less foot traffic and need to learn the skills of outreach sales actions to stay current and to drivetheir business. And as people and technology change and buying processes evolve, sales training is as critical as ever to stay sharp and on top of your game.
Sales Managers Your team is a reflection of you…and they are following your lead. Sharpen your training and coaching skills as you develop their selling skills. Raise your company standards and train to the new level of expectation. There is no END of the journey to keep your team sharp and in front of their game, so get busy and have fun!!