“Ryan, I won’t be sending my veteran salespeople to your training. I’m only having the newbies come. I’m sure you understand. The veterans don’t need training.”
This was an actual email I received from a sales manager. To be honest, it kind of blew my mind until I considered the manager’s mindset.
I can hear that little voice in his head saying, “If the training is the same training they received 25 years ago, they don’t need it. They know how to shake someone’s hand, make their presentation, and ask for the sale….”
But what if the training is different? What if it isn’t the same old sales training tips?
I know this will sound boastful, but we don’t base our training on the same old sales stuff at Shore Consulting. We’re constantly testing and developing our training content using the latest market research and buyer behavior studies.
Doing so allows us to offer training on the cutting edge of our industry – which makes our training applicable to newbies and veterans!
With that backdrop, I see three BIG reasons sales veterans need sales training as much – if not more – than newbies.
Customers are sick of old-school sales tactics
Let’s be honest. Do we believe that throwing out the “feel, felt, found” or “If I could, would you…?” tactic is an effective strategy for today’s buyer?
Of course, it isn’t! People have been dealing with these tactics for decades – and they’re over it.
“A tactic known is a tactic blown.” – General Douglas MacArthur
Sales veterans who continue to use outdated techniques probably do so because they feel familiar with them. And that’s precisely why you must introduce them to new sales concepts and techniques.
How people buy has changed
In the past, a customer needed a salesperson to get all the information needed to make an informed purchase decision.
Well, that’s not the case anymore. Some customers probably know more about your product than you do…and that’s OK. You are still needed.
Just realize that if you approach customers with an “information dump” strategy, you’re likely to turn them off. In other words, stop using feature-benefit selling.
Instead, start by connecting with the customer and discovering their needs. Make them the focus of your sales presentation. Read that last sentence one more time and let it sink in. This is a game-changer!
Customers want to find the value themselves
I remember being told in a training class years ago that there were three ways to “build value” during a sale.
First, I needed to tell my customer all about my product. Next, my instructions were to tell them about my company’s history (in glowing terms, of course). Finally, I needed to get them to agree to several tie-down statements like, “Wouldn’t you agree?”, “Makes sense to move forward, right?”, “You and your family will love these appliances, won’t you?”
I recall visiting a sales office where the salesperson tried to build value in their homes by pointing out the amazing light switches. Yes, I said light switches!
I wanted to talk about office space. That’s where I found value in a new home. But instead of letting me establish value in an office space, the salesperson went on for five minutes about the great light switches. Result? No sale!
All of us – newbies and veterans – need to get to where asking the customer to find the value is second nature. It sounds simple. But many veterans struggle with asking the customer to highlight the features that light their fire.
The solution? Try asking the customer, “What stands out to you?” Then allow the customer to do their value building.
If that’s a struggle for you, practice asking this question at home. Practice with your associates. Practice with your manager. I guarantee you’ll see immediate results if you use this simple technique.
There’s no better time than now for veterans (like me) to move beyond our sales “comfort zone” and become coachable again. If we do, we’ll start changing. And when we change, we’ll start changing our customer’s world, one sale at a time.