Sales Training Methods
The sales training methods used by corporate training companies differ greatly. Some of the most popular courses differ greatly in there effect from one delegate to the next. Some courses are about engaging with the delegates’ competitive drive and will be externally visible because of words like warrior or killer or champion. Some are skills workshops that involve giving you a script and getting you to do practice on live calls all day to get you to re-enforce the process, even if it doesn’t work you aren’t going to tell anyone so you don’t have to repeat the process. Some are about getting a deep understanding of selling, its history and the science behind selling. Every company that makes or sells products needs to have something unique that can engage the imagination of would be clients. Sometimes these unique selling points begin to make you believe that the world of selling is vastly different for all sales people, but the truth is that in general there are only two types of sellers and two type of sales training.
Hunters and Farmers
Hunters are the guys that engage with titles like warrior or champion. They search out business opportunities and in many cases truly live by their wits. Farmers on the other hand, work by tending their clients and like in farming the process and tools are far more diverse and important. What this means is that when it comes to training these different types of sales people require different types of training interventions.
Both Need Tools
So lets stay with Farmers and Hunters for a while and although they are very different they both need tools although the farmer is likely to invest in and use more tools the hunter also requires the basics. The basic process to both is that buyers purchase products and services based on needs, and both our hunter and our farmer need to engage with their customers in conversation. The processes split quickly as the objective of the hunter is to close the deal and move towards the next prospective customer. But the process begins the same both need to establish rapport.
Rapport is the synchronisation of two people in an emotional state, rapport is a very human issue in that most of us have to like someone before we can do business with them otherwise we do not feel confident in the product. Rapport is established in a wide verity of methods from the very natural people who really just like other people to the manipulator who uses techniques like mirroring visual and verbal signals to feign rapport and gain trust. Farmers tend to need to gain rapport rather then feign rapport for self-preservation reasons were hunters are often excellent at feigning and are generally interested in how to obtain an advantage over a potential client. The learning point for both parties remains the same and is why we can educate together at this point. Rapport is established by the dominant emotion entering the communication, emotions are transient and you can control your emotions. Knowing the basic laws of rapport will enable anyone to farmer or hunter to improve their opportunities of gaining more business.
Understanding the basic art of questioning is common to both types of sales people and can be educated together, beyond the basics the two types of sellers need to be educated in isolation. Although we stated that for rapport the dominant emotion sets the rapport in motion, dominants is a decision of the individual sales person but most hunters have a need to maintain a dominant position in the communication throughout. Opening questions need to be big picture and unbiased the purpose of questioning is two-fold first and foremost questions are to stimulate the prospect into thinking deeply about a subject matter and secondly questions are to help us understand the thinking of our prospects.
It’s probably not the time to go into the difficulties people express about this one simple word benefit. A benefit is personal verses a feature is shared, features are what sales people sell on, benefits are what buyers buy on. The purpose of questioning in sales is to understand the buyers’ wants, desires and needs. If you discover how a buyer will interact with the features of your product and that your product fulfils a need, then you can make a sale. But let me take you back to questioning I said that questioning is two-fold one to get the customer to think deeply about a subject matter, this is where all of our sales come from the customers thinking about their own needs. Sometimes they recognise needs that they never tell you about and buy your products and sometimes they tell you about their needs and never recognise them as being needs. As sales people we need to understand the customers needs even when they don’t. But where we get into trouble is when the buyer buys and we don’t know why! This happens when a company markets a product.
Sales verses marketing
If you go into a shop grab a product off the shelve take it to a register and pay for it was it sold to you? The sales person that chatters off a list of features to each and every customer tells the same stories to everyone that they meet about why their product is the best and never asks questions of the prospect isn’t in fact a sales person at all, they are in fact a marketeer. Marketing is the process of bringing a product to a customer and selling is the art of revealing to a customer their needs. We will all do a fair share of marketing because it is part of the work we do but we have to be careful because the market changes rapidly, if you are marketing and doing no sales you can become redundant very quickly. It isn’t difficult to sell, not even for the most reluctant of marketeers it just takes the basic understanding of why selling is a benefit, some practice and some coaching.
What do I do?
What do I do, I start out any open group course with the understanding that we are all different and what will work for some will not work for all. I get people to recognise that they may be a hunter or a farmer but neither of this two dominant styles are cast in stone. You can adapt to the market on any given day, if you find something difficult it may be that you are approaching from the wrong way for you. I paint big picture ideas and open a lot of questions to unlock the thinking of those delegates attending my courses. I try not to do a lot of telling in open groups because telling isn’t a great way for people to assimilate learning. I try my best to keep the delegates engaged in the learning process, and I try my best to continue to listen to what my delegates say as well as watch what happens after the training and see how they change.
If you are interested in learning which training methods would be most advantageous for your organisation contact me and we can talk.