It’s intuitive. Tools don’t make the carpenter. Neither the doctor nor the musician. Nor do they make the sales person.
I have had the privilege of watching my brother Paul grow into one of the premier custom interior carpenters in Colorado. He creates multi-million dollar home interiors that are the talk of Breckenridge, Vail, Aspen and more. He has spent almost 30 years learning his trade, investing in his craft and delivering masterpieces to his clients. He uses tools, both hand tools and some of the newest power tools to accomplish results. He knows which tool to use to accomplish his goal. He can do much of the work manually if needed, and the tools he selects are used to get the results faster or on a different scale than can be accomplished manually. The key point is that he understands what need to be done, has the skill to do it manually.
He shares stories of less-experienced carpenters who have destroyed significant projects by using the newest power tool when they had no experience or understanding of how or when it should be used. Of using a router to put an exquisite edge on the doors of an expensive wine cabinet, only to discover that it was applied on the wrong side, resulting in the material being thrown away and time lost. Or of a one-of-a kind split tree walnut table-top that was cut in two pieces by a runaway powersaw with a fancy new blade in the hands of someone without training or understanding.
The same thing is happening in sales offices and client meetings every day. Tools being used by someone who is untrained, under-trained or lacks the foundational sales training to know how best to deploy these tools.
For most of us, business is growing again. Sales teams are adding new talent at a rate not seen in many years. There is competition to attract the best and brightest as they enter the market.
With social platforms so comfortable for millenials, leaders are assuming that their new hires are equipped to go forth and “social sell”. The problem is that in most cases, these same bright new hires have had ZERO background or training in core sales skills. No training in prospecting, in developing relationships, in strategic planning, in negotiation, or even in the business needs of the very customers they are being hired to serve.
I can hear the shrill voices from their keyboards now –
“Selling has changed. Cold-calling is dead. Buyers are 60 – 80% (pick one) through their buying process before the sales person is even aware of the opportunity!”
If you follow that thinking you are in serious trouble, probably career-ending!
Of course selling has changed. The internet has sped up the pace and opened the horizons for both buyers AND sellers. If you do not add some serious, foundational sales training to your onboarding process, the damage that your new reps can do to themselves and to your company can be fatal. It can happen so fast, with such velocity, that you will not be able to recover without a lot of time and money invested.
I make my living primarily from speaking and writing about sales tools. I understand more than most the power and promise they hold. Yet I will not engage with a client to deploy such tools unless they have core sales training in place. The worst thing I can do is to introduce a high-powered toolset into a company without a trained sales force. I’m not talking about having an effective LinkedIn profile page here, but the nitro-powered tools that are driving success faster and higher than experienced in the past. If you hear someone telling you that LinkedIn is the answer for the sales universe, kick them out of your office or hang up the phone and lock down your wallet!
During my 25 year sales career, carrying a quota, leading a sales team and through to senior executive leadership, I have learned about the power of a strong team of people to count on. Sales training has new buzz words come through every couple of years. Remember Challenger Sales, Consultative Selling, and even Spin Selling. They are all excellent programs that get to the very core of B2B selling.
If you are interested learning more about the core sales principles and knowledge that will help you and your team succeed and grow in today’s environment I recommend you introduce yourself to the work of these proven sales thought leaders:
Mike Weinberg – for his market-leading ability to teach sales people how to find new business in any industry.
S. Anthony Iannarino – for his ability to guide sales leaders through the forest of distractions and forks in the road and to stay on the path to a strong organization and team.
Mark Hunter – to help you navigate through the most difficult customer negotiations on price or terms while creating a win-win betweeen buyer and seller.
Jeb Blount – to help you learn the power of a focused and empowered sales andmarketing team that embraces challenges and obstacles as opportunities to achieve their goals.
Trish Bertuzzi – for her ability to sort through the organizational challenges of creating, building and growing an inside sales organization.
Andy Paul – because he knows how to streamline and amp-up every part of your sales organization for ultimate performance.
John Spence – for his deep understanding of the trends in business and what it takes to achieve success and growth in today’s environment.
And of course, once you have your core sales foundations in place, I’d love to turn on the power of the sales tools that I write about, speak about and train on for you and your team. I’ve got those rocket-fueled tools in my bag, just get your sales team trained on how to sell first.