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5 Secrets To Record Breaking Sales
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1. 5 Secrets to Record Breaking Sales5 Secrets to Record Breaking SalesThe principle mission of the professional salesperson is to gain commitment from customers.Unfortunately, for most salespeople the skills that lead to gaining commitments consistently—and,therefore, to record-breaking sales—appear to be secrets.Why? Why don’t salespeople know more about the precise skills required to be a top-rankedperformer?There are many skills, traits, and qualities that lead to sales success. For example, personality andmotivation definitely have an impact on performance. The trouble is, you can’t teach personality andmotivation—and salespeople can’t “learn” it! What’s more, little information is available about theexact role those qualities play in sales success.Motivation? We’ve all seen salespeople who worked very hard and made a great number of salescalls. Yet in the same sales force, there always seems to be another salesperson who makes far fewercalls and lands a lot more business. Sure, hard work is part of the formula, but quality work has moreto do with success.Quality is all about skills. But what skills?What We Know About Selling SkillsSince 1990, The Sales Board has been measuring the selling skills of salespeople. More than 300,000salespeople from over 2,500 companies have been benchmarked on their knowledge and practice of thekey skills required to be effective at gaining commitment from customers. Then, following ActionSelling Sales Training conducted by The Sales Board, the same skills are measured again using TheSales Board’s validated Selling Skills Assessment instrument.This proven instrument measures each salesperson’s knowledge of selling skills, as well as the ability toapply those skills in their daily work environment. When salespeople achieve a predeterminedcompetency level at each skill, they become Action Selling Certified.Changes in sales revenue and margin performance before and after Certification also have beenmeasured thousands of times. Viola! What is revealed is the true impact of gains in knowledge andapplication of each key sales skill. With all skills combined, Certified salespeople improve theirrevenue and margin performance at 6 times the rate of non-Certified salespeople.That’s how we know for sure that the skills identified, taught, and drilled in Action Selling trainingproduce higher sales revenue and better margin performance. www.thesalesboard.com15200 25th Ave N. Minneapolis, MN 55447 © 2007 The Sales Board, Inc. 800-232-3485 (763) 473-2540 Page 1
5 Secrets to Record Breaking SalesThe Five Secrets RevealedPrior to Action Selling sales training, most “professional” salespeople demonstrate a number ofselling errors that ought to be scandalous. Yet until the impact of these errors is measured by theSkills Assessment, the mistakes go completely unnoticed. Yes, without measurement, they are secrets!SECRET #1 - 82% of salespeople fail to differentiate. Their products, their company—and they,themselves—appear to be no different from their competitors.SECRET #2 – 99% of salespeople set the wrong sales call objectives. Poor call planning preventssalespeople from consistently moving the buying process forward.SECRET #3 – 86% of salespeople ask the wrong questions. The consequences include callresistance, inability to deal with objections, and missed buying opportunities.SECRET #4 – 95% of salespeople talk too much. When they talk too much they listen too little.Today, nobody wants to hear a data dump.SECRET # 5 – 62% of salespeople fail to ask for commitment. Since their principle mission is togain commitment, they appear only to be impersonating salespeople.What Can You Do About It?In light of those percentages, your sales force almost certainly is committing some or all of thosedeadly errors. And they don’t know it! Here are three important concepts to keep in mind as you setout to solve the problem. 1. Focus on the selling skills that we know can be taught and learned. Much as we might like to transform the “personalities” of our salespeople, we lack the ability—and so do they. What we can improve, with proper training, is their skills. “Proper” training includes help in transferring learning from the course into the field. If training doesn’t include the necessary ingredients for learning transfer, don’t waste your time and money on it. 2. You’ve heard the expression, “What gets measured, gets done.” In training, “What gets measured gets learned.” Measurement of knowledge gained and of skills applied on the job provides motivation to learn because it holds students accountable. If a training initiative lacks a validated assessment that measures mastery of the skills being taught, don’t do it. 3. Teach the right skills. There is little point in mastering skills that do not produce tangible improvements in actual job performance. In fact, you should be able to predict what change will occur if a given student’s Benchmark selling skill level is raised to mastery level upon Certification. Without some reasonable guarantee of a return on investment in training, why do it? www.thesalesboard.com15200 25th Ave N. Minneapolis, MN 55447 © 2007 The Sales Board, Inc. 800-232-3485 (763) 473-2540 Page 2
5 Secrets to Record Breaking SalesNo amount of training will produce record-breaking sales unless it is built upon those threeprinciples: The skills must be teachable, they must be measurable, and they must produce predictableoutcomes.The Five Critical Selling SkillsBearing the above in mind, exactly which skills are most critical to improving sales performance?That is to say, which skills represent solutions to the 5 Secrets to Record Breaking Sales? Here they are:Critical Skill #1 – Building the buyer/seller relationship. Salespeople need to develop a betterunderstanding of the buying process that customers actually follow—the real decisions they make,and when they are made. Then salespeople need to match their sales process with the customer’sbuying process. When this is done, salespeople begin to walk arm-in-arm with the customer as theyarrive at the best possible solution.Critical Skill #2 – Sales call planning. Most companies today lack a well-defined sales process.Very few have documented the Best Sales Practices that lead to strong commitments from customers.As a consequence, salespeople are not coached on how to plan their sales calls properly. Forinstance, every call should end in some kind of commitment from the customer—an agreement to dosomething that will move the process forward. This just isn’t happening.Critical Skill #3 – Questioning skills. Most salespeople do not ask the right types of questions.And nearly all salespeople fail to ask the best questions. This happens even if they prepare questionsprior to the sales call, which most don’t. The impact of poor questioning skills is enormous. It leadsto resistance in the form of stalls and objections, bad presentations that offer improper solutions,failure to differentiate from the competition—and missed sales opportunities.Critical Skill #4 – Presentation skills. Most salespeople claim that this is the skill they are best at.In fact, we as managers tend to hire people who have “the gift of gab.” In reality, quality is far moreimportant than quantity when it comes to making presentations. When salespeople zero in onpresenting only specific solutions to previously agreed-upon needs, they rarely fail.Critical Skill #5 – Gaining commitment. If you really think about it, the only reason to employsalespeople is to gain commitment from customers. Yet, when asked, most salespeople admit thatthis is their weakest skill. Research bears this out as well: 62% of salespeople fail to ask for commitmenton sales calls. Any effective sales training program must have a solid solution for this problem.What Happens When These Skills Are Improved?Since the Sales Board has benchmark-tested the 5 Critical Selling Skills of more than 300,000 salespeoplein 2,500-plus organizations, we know what skill levels exist in sales forces prior to Action Selling training.After the training, students are assessed again with the objective of becoming Certified on their mastery ofthe 5 Critical Selling Skills. So we know what mastery-level skills look like. www.thesalesboard.com15200 25th Ave N. Minneapolis, MN 55447 © 2007 The Sales Board, Inc. 800-232-3485 (763) 473-2540 Page 3
5 Secrets to Record Breaking Sales(The Certification Assessment is challenging: 24% of students do not become Certified even though theyhave completed the Action Selling program.)Upon completion of the Action Selling training process, the students’ sales performance also is trackedand measured. Therefore, here is what we know for sure about what happens one year after the 5 CriticalSelling Skills are improved: • Action Selling Certified salespeople boost their performance at a rate six times higher than salespeople who are not trained in the 5 Critical Selling Skills. • Action Selling Certified salespeople increase their sales at twice the rate of trained salespeople who do not certify.Those measurements demonstrate that the more salespeople learn about how to use the Action Sellingprocess to improve the 5 Critical Selling Skills, the greater the gain in sales performance.The 5 Secrets to Record Breaking Sales are no longer secrets. You can determine how much untappedpotential exists in your sales force by taking our Selling Skills Benchmark at:http://www.thesalesboard.com/certified-sales-professionals.asp.Need more insight into the 5 Critical Selling Skills and the proven 9-step Action Selling Process thatproduces record breaking sales? Visit us online at http://www.thesalesboard.com/sales-books.asp and order theAction Selling Book Series or call us at 1-800-232-3485 today.What are you waiting for? You have records to break!Visit us online at www.thesalesboard.com to begin your free sales skills assessment. www.thesalesboard.com15200 25th Ave N. Minneapolis, MN 55447 © 2007 The Sales Board, Inc. 800-232-3485 (763) 473-2540 Page 4