Sales trainers abound. But given the change in both consumer and business buying behaviour facilitated by technological advances over the past decade, what value will they really create for your company in 2015?
In the old days sales trainers taught you to make a sales pitch, handle objections and close the sale. That gave way to, “Solutions Selling” which many regard as the best thing since sliced bread. But don’t believe the hype for this solutions selling that is still being taught by many sales trainers, originated at NCR way back in 1895 when salesmen (and they were all men) rode horses. In essence solutions selling teaches you to find out the solutions that people want for their problems and give it to them.
You may ask, “If I’m giving them the solution they want, what’s wrong with that?”
Plenty, for strategic marketing managers know that if you offer the solutions that your customer is looking for, you are offering the expected product/service and must compete on price. The result? Look-alike-sound-alike companies, dwindling margins, under-performing businesses, and unhappy shareholders.
Did you, for example, think you needed a Walkman that could make phone calls? Clearly Apple did. It was not a solution that anyone was thinking of 9 years ago, but last quarter Apple sold 39.2 million of what we now know as the iPhone. What are we saying? Today’s neo-marketing organisations, and savvy customers, have moved on from yesterday’s selling models.
And speaking of sales training; did you ever have to deal with a robotic sales rep going through his script to your total annoyance for you were ready to buy? Or a manipulative sales rep, trained in closing techniques offering an alternative close when you didn’t want what they are selling?
So what should be your strategy for busting both financial and marketing objectives in the 21st. Century you ask? Well, clearly it is NOT sales training. That’s dead! Neither should you be creating a sales culture. That too, is old school. But if your firm is forward thinking, then you should be talking with the Caribbean School of Sales Management about a fresh, market-driving approach.
Herman D. Alvaranga is president of the Caribbean School of Sales Management.