15 Replies
Bruce Graham

Bosworth is a classic:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Solution-Selling-Creating-Difficult-Markets/dp/0786303158

but if you believe the Harvard business review there's a new and better way to do it - "Insight Selling":

http://hbr.org/2012/07/the-end-of-solution-sales/

Bearing in mind she's in Hospitality, it might actually hold some use, for example suggesting things (dinners, visits etc. to clients before they have asked "When is your restaurant open" and so on.

Her organisation may already have a preferred method.

SPIN selling may also be useful:

http://www.amazon.com/SPIN-Selling-Neil-Rackham/dp/0070511136/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_2

I worked with Neil Rackham for a while and he and his organisation Huthwaites were very impressive. The book covers calling and closing, so will no doubt be useful.

I am a great believer that closing a sale starts at the first conversation. Understand their problems and needs, offer VALUE, (she needs to understand the difference between features, benefits and value), and then the close will often come naturally.

Some knowledge of Questioning Techniques and Objection Handling would also be useful, (loads of books available from Amazon).

Hope that helps.

Remember that every person selling a book on sales technique is trying to make a buck, so best to buy a few and come up with a personal technique covering all the basics that you keep adding to.

Kimberly Valliere

This is great, Bruce! Someone on LinkedIn pointed me toward http://www.salescoach.com/for-individuals/ and I found http://salesassociation.org/.

I absolutely know people are trying to make a buck, but I'd prefer to point people to those that make a buck with good training. My colleague isn't afraid of a little investment in the training, but I don't want her going to some fly-by-night shop. Proven companies will be most helpful to her.

Bruce Graham

Cool.

I have heard of / seen of salescoach before.

There are so many things, (getting past "gatekeepers"), and pipeline management, but it all depends on what type of sales situations she is in.

I have had Global Sales Training Manager roles in 2 companies now, but my experience is very much B2B, so may differ a little from her situation, but the principals remain:

  • Find prospects and convert to leads and profitable sales.
  • Get approached and convert leads to sales.
  • Have a VALUE that you can offer, not a price.
  • Do not get caught completely in a price-based sale, (unless you want to stay as just a "box-shifter").
  • Be liked.
  • Understand how to talk THEIR business language, and THEIR terminology, whatever their business language is.
  • Offer more than they actually came to you for. Make sure you CAN deliver before you offer.
  • Build relationships - as repeat business is easier than finding new business
  • And finally - this image is what ALL your clients want from you, so make that easy sleep available for them. Take away their business pain. That may be hard to find, but find it and you will never ever have to say that "selling is hard".

I used to HATE the concept of "the salesperson", until I realised that's what I had been doing for 6+ years!

If there's anything specific you feel I can help with just PM me if that's better.

Bob S

Hi Kimberly,

Some of Bruce's tips are spot on (as usual). Let me offer a few additional suggestions from my years as a sales trainer...

Your friend might want to check out Dr Cialdini... http://www.influenceatwork.com/

We built an entire selling and customer service model off of his principles and partially as a result would up winning a JD Powers  #1 customer experience rating for our market segment. Truly powerful concepts that really do work in almost every situation. Just don't be put off by the delivery; slightly academic but trust me they translate beautifully and powerfully to the real business world.

Along with that, I second Bruce's recommendation for Spin Selling. The basic premise there being that you need to help your client understand their need(s) and tie it to emotion, before offering a solution. There's much more to the process, but that is at the heart of it. The power of this approach harkens  back to the single truest thing I ever heard about sales, and that I share to this day during training sessions...

People buy on emotion, and justify with reason.

We tell ourselves this isn't so. We pride ourselves on being rationale. But the fact is the buying decision is almost universally made in large part due to an emotional component. The client has some "pain point" or "emotional need" that needs to be addressed. Failing to remember that, and only offering them rational justifications is one of the biggest mistakes new salespeople make.  For example... consider these statements....

  • "We have a renowned kitchen and full wait staff so we can certainly take care of your all your needs"
  • "With our renowned kitchen and incrdedibly attentive wait staff, your guests will think they are in a famous restaraunt, and you will make an amazing impression."

The rationale is the same, the difference is the emotion.

Hope this helps,

Bob

Bruce Graham

+1 to Bob.

That's the reason I never (really) talk about "training software" or "ID stuff" until the sale has been made, or I feel the "hook" has been taken.

It's not important.

I was not being silly with that image of the guy in bed. All clients really want to sleep soundly at night, FEELING secure, TRUSTING you, having met or being on the way to met a mixture of corporate and personal goals.

Much of that is emotional thinking. They will back up the Invoice spend with logic, and facts, and explaining about the interactions.

But the sale? Nope.

Of course it will have elements of factually stuff in it, but emotions are a HUGE influencer.

Make people feel "warm and fluffy", make them confident that you know what you are doing, and understand them, and back that up when needed with technical knowledge and business understanding.

OWEN HOLT

I lived by SPIN and also found Flawless Consulting to be a big help back in my sales training days.

The interesting thing is that there are huge similarities between the best sales people that I know and the best trainers. They use many of the same techniques, steer conversations with insight, ask the right questions, gain agreement, motivate change, etc. Often, the only difference I see between the 2 is in the personal motivation or moment of satisfaction... i.e. "I've gotcha" vs "I've helped you".

Bruce Graham

Owen Holt said:

I lived by SPIN and also found Flawless Consulting to be a big help back in my sales training days.

The interesting thing is that there are huge similarities between the best sales people that I know and the best trainers. They use many of the same techniques, steer conversations with insight, ask the right questions, gain agreement, motivate change, etc. Often, the only difference I see between the 2 is in the personal motivation or moment of satisfaction... i.e. "I've gotcha" vs "I've helped you".


Spot on.

Same for the best Instructional Designers - however they weave the whole "learning" thing through this as their specialist area of product knowledge.

Bob S

Owen Holt said:

I lived by SPIN and also found Flawless Consulting to be a big help back in my sales training days.

The interesting thing is that there are huge similarities between the best sales people that I know and the best trainers. They use many of the same techniques, steer conversations with insight, ask the right questions, gain agreement, motivate change, etc. Often, the only difference I see between the 2 is in the personal motivation or moment of satisfaction... i.e. "I've gotcha" vs "I've helped you".


I was lock-step with you until the last line...  Having made my living as a salesperson (inside and out) for years before moving into training, I can tell you the motivations can (should!) be EXACTLY the same.  If you aren't feeling like "I've helped you" when you close a sale, then you should  be looking for another line of work. Period. I feel that strongly about it, yes.

Again to call back to Cialdini, check out his thoughts on the ethical use of influence; powerful and insightful.

OWEN HOLT

Bob S said:

I was lock-step with you until the last line...  Having made my living as a salesperson (inside and out) for years before moving into training, I can tell you the motivations can (should!) be EXACTLY the same.  If you aren't feeling like "I've helped you" when you close a sale, then you should  be looking for another line of work. Period. I feel that strongly about it, yes.

Again to call back to Cialdini, check out his thoughts on the ethical use of influence; powerful and insightful.

True enough Bob and correct you are. I was only trying to find a way to describe the fact that over the years, I have observed just the slightest of differences between those who really love sales but have no interest in training and those who really love training and have no interest in sales. (I wasn't even touching those of us who love and have done both. ) From what I have observed, this difference seems to live within the individuals...some personal motivation or competitive spirit... or somethng else. But in terms of what they do and how they do it.... at the end of the day, it is all about partnerships and building solutions together. I probably should not have tried to over-simplify this thought into a 2 word and a 3 word description. :)

Bob S

Totally fair and there are indeed huge similarities indeed between the two roles.My knee-jerk reaction to the specific motivation line was rooted in the stereotypical impressions folks have of selling and salespeople!  

Sales can be a wonderfully noble professsion.... There is much to be proud of by helping people discover and connect with their needs, then finding  a solution for them that fully meets those needs, now and in the future. Quite "noble" actually.  (To your point, just like training!)

Sadly, not every practioner of selling sees it that way and that makes me bristle. Hence my call out on the possible differing motivations.