18 Feb What’s New in Sales Training? Ask Derek Jeter….
Finding Nuanced Advantages in the Application of Fundamental Skills
Spring training is here in the world of baseball, that time when professionals with tens of thousands of hours of practice and play already to their credit, choose to hunker down and… well… do more of the same, only better. Derek Jeter, David Ortiz and their pro colleagues have made their way to Florida or Arizona in order to improve their odds of winning games, and ultimately, of winning the World Series. And guess what these talented teammates will spend their time doing in these warm climes? Pitching balls, swinging bats, and running bases. The basics… only better.
In my business, leaders and frontline professionals regularly ask me: “What do you have that’s new in sales training? This seems like a good refresher, but I’ve been to a class like that before. What else have you got?”
After 28 years in this business, I feel I’ve earned the right to tell my clients this: save your money. Have them really learn the basics. Ignore the flavor of the month. Your people need to get so good at the basics of questioning, listening, presenting, overcoming resistance and closing that those skills are second nature. And despite what they may believe of their own abilities, your people are not yet good enough to be beyond training and coaching that helps them find nuanced advantages lurking in the application of basic skills – year upon year – just like Derek Jeter and the spring training cohorts.
I’ve coached and trained enough veteran sales professionals and executives (tens of thousands) to know that most aren’t great at the basics. They’re good. But when the heat turns up in a client-facing meeting, or when they misperceive a critical meeting as “no big deal,” even seasoned professionals will do, say or think in ways that work against their own best interests, and the best interests of their clients. Consummate sales and service professionals can find their competitive advantage in the “spring training” equivalent of key skills: how to “Double Click” on the subtle comment that indicates a deeper, bigger story… and leads to the primary motivation behind a client’s actions; how to navigate out of a solution-driven stalemate into a needs-based problem-solving session just by distinguishing between nouns and verbs in the client’s sentences.
At the end of the day, the skills of selling are easy; what’s needed is the discipline to use those skills when the heat is on. So save your money. Improve your sales. Train and retrain your client-facing professionals on the nuanced application of fundamental selling skills: asking strategic questions, listening with insight, presenting compellingly, overcoming resistance with curiosity, closing deals without drama. How? Help your folks to practice and practice again their foundational skills… at least every spring.