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The Sales Buzz Issue 171 - Key Sales Training Question
August 20, 2012

Ask this one key sales training question.

If you’re honest you could find the answer shows you why you, or your team, are not hitting target, why your job is under threat, or why your business is behind its budget.

Even if you’re doing well you could find some answers that show you how you could do even better.

Only read this week’s Sales Buzz if you are prepared to answer honestly...

Key Sales Training Question

There is a key question that every sales manager should ask their team on a regular basis. Every sales individual should also ask themselves this same question.

Sales isn’t complicated, but many people make it appear to be.

Over the years I’ve sat down with hundreds of sales people, probably thousands now I think about it, and reviewed their performance. The agenda for the meetings has stayed pretty consistent over the years. All good coaching models start with an agreement of the targets, the goals that all the sales actions and activity are aimed at. That’s followed by a review of the current results.

If the seller is not performing it’s usually at this point where they try and make the sales process, and the actions they need to take, overly complicated.

They will give you all the reasons why they couldn’t sell, what got in the way, and all the things that prevented them hitting target that were outside of their control.

That’s when I stop them and I ask one simple key sales training question that gets right to the centre of what sales is all about:

How many opportunities to sell did you have last week?

Often there is a pause when I ask the question. The pause can be for one of several reasons:

They don’t know the answer.

They realise how many, or how few sales opportunities they have actually created.

But the most common pause is while the sales person thinks of a way to re-direct the conversation away from this question.

The important point for sales managers is to bring the conversation back to the key sales training question. I use a visual aid such as the sales person’s diary for the previous week or month. I ask them to show me the meetings they had where they had an opportunity to sell to a potential customer.

This is not to be confused with the question; How many sales have you closed. We are not even at that stage of the sales process yet. I’m asking the simple question; How many opportunities to make a sale did you create for yourself.

It doesn’t matter how many networking events the sales person attended, how many mail-shots they sent out, or how many other tasks they thought were more important than being in front of a prospect.

This one key action of getting in front of buyers is where sales come from.

Ask the question - Coach yourself to increase sales

Open your diary, hard copy or on screen, and ask yourself; How many sales opportunities did I create for myself last week.

Then be honest. Go through your diary with a critical eye. Only count the real opportunities where you met with a qualified prospect.

Don’t count the cold calls, don’t include the prospects that could not have bought from you because they were not decision makers, and forget the ones where you had a nice chat but they were tied up in a contract with another supplier. You should have found out enough information to discount all those before wasting your selling time.

Be harsh with yourself and totally honest. If every prospect that you met with last week had bought from you how many sales would you have closed? This is the maximum number of sales that you could possibly have made.

In reality most sales people average around 1 in 4. So when I’ve shown a seller how after discounting all the rubbish they had only 3 possible opportunities to sell in the previous week, and then ask them how they were expecting to hit target, it often gets a little uncomfortable for them.

Make it uncomfortable for yourself if that’s what the answer to the question indicates. By asking this question and coaching yourself you will increase sales and achieve targets.

Sales is simple, asking this key sales training question is simple, the best sales training is simple. See more simple sales training at Simple sales and training solutions...

I'm Stephen Craine from the website

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