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Cutting-edge Sales Training Peggy Carlaw

Last week, a For­tune 500 com­pany asked us for our per­cep­tion of the lat­est, cutting-edge sell­ing tech­niques and how we incor­po­rate them into our sales training.

Cutting-edge? Is there really a way to over­come resis­tance that hasn't been writ­ten about sev­eral times over? Is there a new way to open a call that gets prospects to tell you what keeps them up at night? I don't think so. 

How would you define cut­ting edge? Leave a reply below and let us know. The other blog­gers and I put our heads together to craft an answer to this ques­tion. Here's what we came up.

To be on the cutting-edge of sales train­ing, you need to:

  1. Reframe sales as ser­vice. Fast-talking sales­peo­ple are passé. And many prod­ucts have, hon­estly, become com­modi­ties no mat­ter how the mar­ket­ing mes­sage is spun. You need to serve your cus­tomers so well that they choose to use your prod­ucts and ser­vices over oth­ers. If you do it right, sales and ser­vice over­lap with a sin­gle focus—doing what's best for the cus­tomer and for the company.
  2. Inspire values-driven com­mu­ni­ca­tion and action instead of slick sales strate­gies. This includes hir­ing peo­ple with integrity who have a service-oriented atti­tude. Cus­tomers are sophis­ti­cated and they see right through slick sales strate­gies and tac­tics. There's noth­ing wrong with strat­egy and it's crit­i­cal for sales­peo­ple to have a foun­da­tion of good, solid, customer-focused sell­ing skills, but if they don't truly want to serve the cus­tomer, then those strate­gies and skills will be per­ceived as manipulative.
  3. Incor­po­rate the company's mis­sion, vision, and val­ues state­ments into sales train­ing cur­ricu­lum.
    Our train­ing pro­grams all include the HEART ModelTM—five prin­ci­ples that reflect the val­ues most com­pa­nies espouse. For exam­ple, A stands for "Act with integrity." Integrity was one of this company's core val­ues as well. Cutting-edge sales train­ing for them would include show­ing sales­peo­ple where they have the oppor­tu­nity to act with integrity in their deal­ings with cus­tomers as well as dis­cussing and prac­tic­ing how to com­mu­ni­cate the company's ded­i­ca­tion to integrity. For exam­ple, rather than lie about a deliv­ery date the sales­per­son knows will be missed, cutting-edge sales train­ing would teach the sales­per­son how to deliver bad news.

What changes would you make if you applied this cutting-edge def­i­n­i­tion to your cur­rent sales training?

Peggy Car­law is the founder of Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems, a lead­ing train­ing com­pany spe­cial­iz­ing in improv­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions between front-line employ­ees and cus­tomers. Peggy is co-author of sev­eral books pub­lished by McGraw-Hill, includ­ing Man­ag­ing and Moti­vat­ing Con­tact Cen­ter Employ­ees and The Big Book of Cus­tomer Ser­vice Train­ing Games.
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Peggy Carlaw
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