Teaching Sales to a Sales business

I recently ran a sales workshop for a Know and Do client who runs a sales business providing outsourced sales for other businesses. I was sharing this with a friend who asked “Why does a sales business need sales training - surely they should know this stuff?”. The answer is that we all need to be life-long learners.

All businesses need to sense check themselves from time to time. The global market place moves at a pace nowadays that doesn’t afford the luxury of standing still. What got you to where you are, might not be enough to help you thrive moving forward. The relentless pace of innovation means businesses have to frequently check where they are up to from time to time. Technology and processes can race ahead but many times its the people in organisations that can hold businesses back.

We worked with the business to design a full day programme that covered a range of areas of sales and selling. They had 9 staff attending the event all of whom were at different stages of their career. Some were relatively new to sales and others old hands at the game. We focussed in on what ‘sales’ meant to each individual and how they viewed and used it currently. They scored themselves on a personal sales wheel and we explored their areas of strength and weakness. Taking a back to basics approach on sales helped some of the staff to appreciate their default habits (good and bad) and focus in on identifying areas they needed to work on outside of the training. Each person sketched out a post-session learning plan to extend the learning opportunity.

Building a focussed training plan can be difficult. Sales is a subject that is gaining more attention with more and more books, podcasts and articles emerging. They are many different approaches depending on the marketplace you operate in. I’ve seen lots of discussions about internet selling vs face to face selling and other such comparisons.

Many clients who struggle with understanding which sales route to take are stuck because they don’t understand their ideal customer base and their value proposition. At Know and Do, we always advocate a back to basics approach and then build from this. Einstein said, “make things as simple as possible, but no simpler”. The keep it simple approach isn’t easy though and that’s where training can help.

Stripping the sales approach back we helped the business in question understand how their staff viewed ‘sales’, their individual underpinning approaches to sales for each client, and their collective knowledge on the subject alongside individual learning plans where they will commit to share and educate each other to operate as sales professionals. Know and Do like to start with clear definitions when reviewing any subject area to help clients get an understanding of our perspective. Sales is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as, ‘The exchange of a commodity for money; the action of selling something.’ For all businesses its about maintaining profitable sales in an increasingly VUCA* world.

Answer the following questions to see how important sales is in your business:

  • Do you have a written sales strategy? If yes, is it working?

  • When was the last time you invested in sales training for your staff?

  • What sales methodologies does your business use?

  • What sales books/articles have you or your staff read? How do measure the impact of these?

  • What is your core value proposition?

At Know and Do we like to help businesses solve problems. If you think you might have a problem with your sales get in touch.

(*volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous)