It is common knowledge that even today in most industries, a very high percentage of training budgets are spent on â€œproduct knowledgeâ€ workshops and training sessions. This is understandable to a degree, particularly in the more technical sectors, but what about all the other types of â€œknowledgeâ€?
That statement is guaranteed to produce a lot of blank faces, and considerable head scratching!
But, if we are highly motivated, and we have received ongoing skills training, and we are using the very best process tools, and we are totally au fait with the benefits of social selling etc. we are bound to be successful arenâ€™t we?
Short answer? No, not any more. Letâ€™s look at recent history…
Forty years ago frontline sales professionals believed that success would automatically arrive if they developed their personalities and adhered to the mantras of Tracey, Nightingale, Ziglar and co. And it is true even today that self-confidence, self-motivation, empathy, rapport building etc, will indeed take you a long way, and without most of those personal characteristics you will not succeed.
Then thirty years ago the â€œmega-trainingâ€ companies such as Miller-Heiman, Huthwaite, Holdene, Target etc, arrived with new selling models â€“ what I termed â€œscientific selling solutionsâ€ It was new thinking at the time and it was all rather good. Meanwhile, the rapidly developing â€œtailored solutionâ€ organizations such as Richardson, Wilson, Sandler, to name just three, were becoming market leaders in their fields â€“ so thatâ€™s the â€œskills-orientated eraâ€ taken care of, which of course is still with us today.
Twenty years ago, â€œprocess and controlâ€ were the new buzz words. CRM systems began to flood the market, and sales managers licked their lips at the prospect of all that data at their finger tips. Consultative sales processes were developed â€“ not always adopted and implemented successfully though â€“ and the â€œAttitude + Skills + Processâ€ loop was completeÂ … well almost.
When people began congratulating themselves that they had adopted ASP, most forgot about â€œKâ€ Well, thatâ€™s not quite true. In fact they spent millions of dollars on â€œKâ€ in the certain belief that it stood for â€œKnowledge,â€ as in product knowledge â€“ only half-right.
As I alluded to earlier, â€œKnowledgeâ€ is a much more complex issue. What about:
Own company knowledge
These then are todayâ€™s realities, and I believe that every organization that intends to survive in this new re-engineered environment must, in my view, respond to those realities.
Letâ€™s be clear, todayâ€™s clients/customers â€“ who have never been more â€œcommercially educatedâ€ are looking for vendors who can be business partners, who are willing and able to share risks and who are able to properly manage the entire sales process.
It is suggested that 84% of buying decisions are based on emotion â€“ if that really is the case, buyers will not entertain entering into a long-term relationship with us because they like us, but rather that they trust us. Trust does NOT happen overnight, it never did.
Logically we are far more likely to trust someone if we sense synergy, if the seller talks our language and if they are â€œknowledgeableâ€
News: Over at Top Sales World, two ladies who are right at the top of their field are discussing their upcoming Top Sales Academy presentations this week: Nancy Nardin – Founder and CEO of Smart Selling Tools – is presenting on Tuesday –“The Key to Explosive Revenue Growth: Measuring Sales Productivity vs. Quota Attainment”Â