Tag Archives: training

Teaching Sales People is Like Teaching School Kids

If you are a Parent with children at School, College or University I am sure, like me, you have experienced the groans and moans around the dinner table as your kids discuss their various subjects and Teachers.  Have you noticed how some teachers can captivate and get your kids engaged with the subject?  Those Teachers and subjects quickly become the most popular and the children are much more likely to score a pass in the exams and sadly, the subjects with Teachers who cannot engage the kids, suffer from lower results.  Well, teaching sales people is exactly the same.  Unless your “Sales Teacher” can engage your sales people, challenge them to embrace new ideas and motivate them to go out and execute, then sadly your growth may end up in detention.  Here are our top 3 ways of teaching sales people and school kids to keep them engaged. Continue reading Teaching Sales People is Like Teaching School Kids

Iain Swanston

About Iain Swanston

Iain Swanston is both an inspiration to new sellers and the ‘Sat Nav’ that experienced sellers need to make the positive adjustments necessary to take them to the next level. Having personally experienced the benefit of Iain’s guidance, I would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending him to organizations looking to close the gap between where their sales are and where they need to be.

The three magic words in sales.

Like, Trust, Buy!

This phrase is used, or should be, by every successful sales person on the planet.  For many aspects of life, there is a certain order in which things flow.  Grass seeds must be planted before they pop up and make a beautiful lawn.  We learn to walk before we run.  And so it is with sales.  People need to like us before they trust us.  People need to trust us before they will buy from us.   Don’t confuse “like” here the way your best friend likes you; although that may end up being the case.  Like, in the sales context, really means establishing a good business rapport.  You are someone with whom your prospect “likes” speaking with and meeting.

You never trust someone you don’t like.  It’s contrary to human nature.  There’s probably something about that person that just rubs you the wrong way.  Maybe you perceived them as pushy, or they made an inappropriate joke thinking it was funny.  Your perception of them, whether you realized it or not, was that they did not have the same values as you.  There is no like and no rapport here.

On the other hand, if someone does like you, you have a shot at getting them to trust you.  Yes, I said a shot.  Most people make you earn their trust.  Don’t disappoint them.

 To earn trust remember this:

·         Do what you say you’re going to do.  Be dependable.

·         Arrive early.

·         Follow up promptly and when you said you would.

·         Find things that are of value to the other person.

·         Always tell the truth.  Even when it means possibly losing the sale.

·         Understand that from their perspective, purchasing the wrong product could be career-ending for them.

·         Be knowledgeable.

·         Really listen.


The key concept of Like, Trust, Buy, is that it can never go out of this order.  Approach Like, Trust, Buy in this order and you will be a step ahead of 90% of your competition.

Sales Homework – Write down three things that people said they Like about you.  Use those traits as you build your customer relationships.

1. ___________________________________________________________

2. ___________________________________________________________

3. ___________________________________________________________

Sales Managers –
Make a list of what you think makes a sales rep trustworthy, and share it with your team.

By: Louie Bernstein

How To Be A Top Sales Manager Starting Today

Managing a successful sales team is no easy task. You don’t have control over what your sales representatives do, and yet your career and financial well being is based on the accomplishments of the reps on your team. The most successful sales managers possess common traits and utilize proven sales techniques to enable them to consistently outperform their peers. If you follow these effective sales management methods, you will increase your teams sales performance and become a top sales manager starting today.

  1. Adapt And Leverage The Strengths Of Each Team Member. It’s important for you to understand your reps unique skills, strengths, weaknesses, and what motivates them. To be effective, you need to adapt your management style to the needs of each individual and should not make the mistake of trying to manage or coach everyone in the same way.
  2. Set Realistic Sales Goals. Make sure the sales goals you set are challenging, measureable, and attainable, and hold your reps accountable for achieving them. The financial incentives available for reaching sales goals, and even those tied to specific deals, should be crystal clear.
  3. Lead By Example. Top sales managers earn the most trust and respect from their reps by rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty. Work closely with the reps on your team that need the most help and you will increase your sales performance. Whenever practical, have your more successful and senior reps mentor your junior ones. 
  4. Share And Celebrate Successes. One of the best ways to motivate your team while sharing valuable sales techniques is to have your reps present their most strategic wins to the rest of your team. By doing so, everyone will learn firsthand how their peers overcame difficult obstacles to close their best deals. It’s very likely that your other sales reps are having similar challenges with their own opportunities and will benefit from the experience and success of others.
  5. Provide Honest And Constructive Feedback. The best sales managers I’ve worked with were the ones that I learned the most from and those that provided prompt and constructive feedback. Make sure you point out and reinforce the positive behaviors while also suggesting changes in the areas your reps can improve upon. A well balanced discussion will be appreciated.
  6. Reward Your Top Performers. Rewards can be provided in many ways and it’s no surprise that most people in sales are in it for the money. Find ways to acknowledge the success of the individuals on your team and most importantly give credit where it’s due. One of the best sales managers I ever had, used to march us into our CEO’s office after we closed a large deal and share our win with them right on the spot. It was a great feeling to be recognized in that way, and although that approach may not always be possible, you should get creative rewarding outstanding performance.
  7. Assemble The Best Team You Can. Your success is measured by the overall performance of your team, and it’s up to you to be sure you have the very best people supporting and selling to your customers at all times. If there are individuals that consistently under-perform no matter what you do, cut your losses and hire someone new to replace them. 
  8. Connect With Your Customers. Engaging directly with your customers is essential to building your own relationships and will help you grow your business. Additionally, it will enable you to assist your reps with their key deals and overcoming the obstacles they face.
  9. Stay Positive. Negative attitudes and actions are extremely contagious. By focusing your conversations on solutions instead of only the problems, you will see the behavior of your team change in a very positive way. Counter a discussion focused solely on challenges with productive questions geared towards solutions.
  10. Have Fun. Creating and fostering a culture where your team works hard, plays hard, and has fun, provides additional incentives for your team to work together and help each other.

As you can see, to become a top sales manager you must coach, mentor and organize your sales team to maximize their potential. Successful managers empower their team by providing an atmosphere of trust and encouragement. This is a challenging undertaking that requires skill and experience. Utilizing the sales management techniques set forth above will assist you to build on the strengths of your team and help you to exceed your sales goals.

Look here for professional advice and more valuable information about Proven Sales Management Techniques And Strategies by Paul M Balzano.

By: Paul M Balzano

Chameleon-Style Selling


by Deb Calvert, President, People First Productivity Solutions

The first time someone told me that a good sales rep is like a , I vehemently argued against the notion that sellers would ever “change their color.” How disingenuous! My position was that the best sales reps are authentic, true to themselves, transparent and consistent in how they represent themselves and their companies.

I’ve come around. No, I haven’t changed my mind (or my color) on this one. But I have realized that these two qualities are not mutually exclusive. I still hold firm about the need to be authentic in selling because robo-selling just doesn’t work. What I’ve learned, though, is that it is possible and even essential to adapt my style to the people I’m selling to… without giving up who I am or in any way misrepresenting myself. This is a fine line, so let me explain.

In a way, I’ve always understood the need to adapt to others. I did it instinctively. As I defined “being myself,” I noticed that empathizing with others and modifying my style choices to communicate effectively are parts of me that I value. There have been times when I have withheld adapting to others and times when I have tried too hard and forced myself to adapt in ways that were not comfortable or authentic. Both extremes took me down the path that felt disingenuous.

Being true to myself includes naturally adapting to others, making space for their style and preferences. It makes me (gasp) a chameleon! And I’m okay with that. You see, a chameleon doesn’t really change. Only its appearance changes as it blends into its surroundings. For the chameleon, this is a matter of survival. Perhaps that could be true for sales reps, too.

Sales reps who pitch the same product the same way over and over again fail to connect with prospects and customers. Sales reps who pitch what they want to sell seldom fare better in forming genuine connections. I’ve observed both types, and I’ve heard both types justify their selling style with comments like “This is who I am. Take it or leave it.” Some go further, saying they’ve chosen the selling profession because it’s one with lots of freedom to be yourself.

I’m not buying it any more. I think it actually boils down to a lazy, lackadaisical way of doing business. Being a chameleon requires a lot more effort than doing what you please, how you please.

Buyers want us to be chameleons. This isn’t about being fake or manipulative. It’s about being tuned in and responsive. What we hear from empowered buyers in the new age of selling is that they want (and even demand) sellers they can trust. At the heart of trust is connection. Being a chameleon enables you to connect and, therefore, to be trusted.

At the risk of being misunderstood, let me magnify this distinction even more. I am not talking about putting on an act, turning on the charm, or schmoozing to gain favor. The stereotypical con artist behaviors that give our profession a bad name are exactly the opposite of what I’m suggesting here. Adapting your style does not mean you are trying to fool someone. It is the equivalent of speaking more slowly when you interact with someone who has a different first language than yours. It is a courtesy similar to yielding in traffic even though you’re in a hurry. The purpose of adapting is to make room for someone else to be in the relationship with you.

Psychometric instruments like DISC and MBTI include training on how to adapt style in selling situations. It’s not difficult to understand or to do, but relatively few sales reps adapt their style from one sales call to the next, treating all customers the same. The opening patter when they greet the customer is unchanged from one sales call to the next. The manner in which they present information is rote. Their tone, mannerisms and pacing through the sales call is “cut and paste.” When I ask sellers about this, it often takes them by surprise. Most have not thought about making stylistic changes to suit the customer.

At a minimum, the following considerations should be made. Even without studying personality type, these are common sense adaptations that can easily be integrated into any sales process and into every sales call.

  1. For prospects and customers who ask detailed questions, provide more details. Some people need to have concrete examples, facts, figures, and a logical case laid out when they make a decision. You’ll know who they are if you ask a few questions about how they make decisions and what they value. You’ll see them go straight into the numbers you provide. And you’ll notice little clues in their office, too, like spreadsheets to be analyzed and neatly organized shelves.
  2. For prospects and customers who talk about the future and get excited by new possibilities, brainstorm away. Some people need time to create and envision themselves where no one has ever gone before. You’ll know who they are if they perk up when you ask questions about what they are creating, about their vision, and what they value. You’ll hear them describing long-term goals and dreams. And you’ll see them showing less interest in facts and figures which may bore or alienate them during your presentation.
  3. For prospects and customers who seem very people-oriented, indulge in personal conversation. Be sure to ask about family and co-workers. Remember the details about life events and send cards or well wishes on birthdays and anniversaries. When asking for a decision, be sure to include the people part of the equation – what it means to the team, how the family or group will be impacted, etc. You’ll recognize these buyers by the photos of people they surround themselves with, the open way they ask about you and your colleagues and who you might know in common, and their expectation that there be “small talk” before getting down to business.
  4. For prospects and customers who seem introverted, pausing before they answer your questions and perhaps acting a bit reserved, give them space and time. Introverts prefer to process information internally and feel pressured when there is a rapid-fire dialogue and the expectation of a quick reply. Silence is very important here, so ask a question and pause. Be comfortable in the silence instead of trying to fill it in. You’ll be surprised at how much more effective you’ll be when you allow just 15 seconds of thinking time for these buyers.
  5. For prospects and customers who want a plan of action, lay it all out up front. Some people prefer to “make it up as they go along.” If that is your style, just know that the buyers who prefer a solid plan with schedules and structure in place will think that you are “flighty” and may have a tough time trusting you. You’ll know who these buyers are if you ask them what they expect of a sales rep and if you hear questions or comments that suggest a need for rigor.

Adapting to some of these styles will be a stretch, and it may even be uncomfortable. If you’re not into numbers and logic, adapt your style to show respect for your customer’s finesse. Don’t be afraid of their questions about the analysis – take someone on the call with you from marketing or finance if it’s going to get so deep in minutiae that you truly won’t be able to keep up. Figure out similar workarounds for whichever style makes you squirm. You will be more effective when you do this, and you will develop a sense of ease over time if you stretch yourself. Soon, you’ll be just like the chameleon, adapting without thinking about in response to the environment you’ve encountered.

By: Deb Calvert