The Ugly Truth Why Most Sales Coaches Will Never Win Back Their Lost Prospects….
The Ugly Truth Revealed….
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.... and How to Win Them Back!
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Sales Training Gone Wrong 7 Ways That Sales Trainers “Help” in the Wrong Way
Sales training is a common developmental process among businesses aimed at increasing revenue and improving business-customer relationship. Approximately 95% of all companies invest in some kind of training, and the majority of them spend up to $5,000 per sales personnel. Ironically though, many businesses fail to reach their goals, and suffer more damage instead. Unfortunately, many sales trainers “help” their clients in the wrong way. What’s going wrong?
1. Sales trainers focus too much on the product or service. Selling is pointless without the product or service. However, a lot of trainers emphasize technicalities and specifications too much, and fail to develop the soft skills and hard skills of the trainees in the process.
Yes, product and service knowledge are of utmost importance, but effective selling is effective selling. It’s a cliché, but really, sales personnel should learn how to speak from the heart. Customers love the practical and the relative, after all, and not that many really care for the overwhelming technicalities.
Be careful not to commit the opposite mistake though. Focusing too much on personality development and soft skills, without mastering the products and services, also render the same disappointing results.
2. Companies regularly allot budget for initial training and development, not on series or evaluative programs. Although sales training is often done right after hiring employees, during product development and before product launching, most companies fail to follow up.
They mistakenly assume that all trained sales personnel can be left on their own as they try to develop their own salesmanship styles and personalities. It may be true for the “cream of the crop,” but how about those who require consistent guidance and monitoring? It’s inevitable in most businesses.
The American Society for Training and Development once recorded a cumulative amount of $156 billion for training in the United States. But what’s surprising is that not even half of that amount is used for training programs after performance evaluation. That’s scary, given the fact that consumer behavior practically changes every day, and marketing platforms evolve on an hourly basis.
3. Trainees are left to absorb the overbearing psychology of selling. This is the point of neuro-linguistics programming (NLP) and other selling strategies aimed at predicting consumer behavior to close more deals and acquire repeat customers. Sales trainers would often say “look into the eye,” “tap the shoulder,” “make the customers use all of their senses” and so many tips that would make sellers conscious of their kinetics, paralanguage, and choice of words.
The psychology of selling reveals how customers behave and make decisions. Knowing that gives anyone an advantage. Nevertheless, overthinking leads to an unnatural approach to selling that raises a red flag among customers. It takes years to get accustomed to. That’s a massive amount of time of which a lot of quota-centric businesses never had the luxury.
4. Sales trainers fail to define specific, concrete expected outcomes. Don’t blame the sales trainers for this because the businesses they represent have a lot to do with this mistake. In most cases, sales personnel are proactively placed under training in anticipation for new products or services, in response to predicted industry changes, or as part of their regular employee development programs.
The problem is that the businesses themselves might have not yet set their targets during the time of training. Hence, the sales trainers won’t be able to share the specific expected outcomes just yet. Consider it more like personality and skills training than just sales training.
5. Selling tips are not incorporated in company protocols. This is especially true with third party sales trainers. They are adept at NLP, personality traits, and marketing technicalities. But the long run, the knowledge they impart might not fit the vision and mission of the business, especially if they have frequently changed in the past.
6. Sales trainers fail to develop a culture of accountability. Pointing fingers is the easiest way out. Most sales personnel who fail to meet quotas also often blame the product or service itself for the negative customer feedback. While the latter cannot be ruled out, there should still be a sense of accountability from all members of the business organization to establish personal awareness. Businesses really need to step up their game and not only train for intellect, but for professionalism and good attitude as well.
7. Step-by-step process is not always sequential. Surprisingly, deals don’t always go as planned. Many sales training programs introduce tried-and-tested processes for selling and closing deals, but these are mainly based on statistics, not on real-time consumer behavior.
As aforementioned, consumer behavior changes quite a lot these days, thanks to the ever-changing landscape of marketing platforms and cyberspace. The problem arises when sales trainers program the mindset of their trainees to always follow the process with little consideration to the actual behavior of the consumer.
All in all, you’ll be surprised to see that intuition works as good as any certified sales processes from time to time, and that’s due to the flexibility and sometimes, unpredictability of the human mind.
How to Nail Your Inbound Marketing Efforts without Selling
Inbound marketing represents a collection of actions that businesses undertake in order to drive traffic to their website. The collection of actions does not involve promotional strategies such as offering discounts or running promotions.
They are simply strategies that are developed for the purpose of informing, educating, or entertaining potential website visitors so that they’ll become curious about what a business offers.
So what inbound marketing strategies can help you get visits to your website?
Long-form blogs. Blogging isn’t dead. At least not in the context of showing people your authority, credibility, depth of knowledge, and solution offering. “Long-form” is emphasized because it helps you in two ways. First, with Google’s recent change in ranking algorithm, websites with more educational content rank higher as compared to those that only use keywords.
Second, long, accurate, relevant, and educational content creates an impression of trust. Who doesn’t want to be educated, correct? As a result, long-form blogs get more “shares” from websites to social media, than the short ones.
EBooks. Often, businesses prepare e-Books as lead magnets. Lead magnets are the things offered to people in exchange for their email address, phone number, or both. The key is to write an eBook that talks about a not-so-talked about topic. What this topic is, depends on your industry.
All you need is to invest some time in research. Find out what eBooks are already written about a certain topic in your industry, and formulate hypothetical questions that reflect a knowledge gap. And then, create a topic around this gap and write about your answer.
White papers and fact sheets. These are usually downloadable PDFs that contain rich data and information. Research papers, review of literature, curated research findings, and fact sheets are only a few examples of white papers. When you write white papers, make sure to only include credible sources.
That goes on to say that you should also observe the rules of citing and referencing. What white papers do is, they present facts as your business industry looks at it. This helps your business appear more credible and establish it as an authority brand.
Podcasts. When Apple’s podcasts took off, almost every business rushed to build their podcast playlist. And doing so served them well. Podcasts are the talk shows, because they not only offer you a chance to “directly” interact with your audience, they also allow you to build business relationships with influencers or authority figures in your niche. Such partnerships strengthen your brand’s reputation, presence, and credibility.
Case studies. Case studies are useful only if you already have a client that has exhibited some degree of success, thanks to your product or service. So what you’re doing is actually creating a documentary about “Client X.” Apart from testimonials, case studies are an effective way of telling people that your product or service works, and how.
Infographics. Just like fact sheets, infographics are images that are rich with information. Commonly, this information involves numbers. You can use infographics to present data relevant to your industry, to show people how you’re currently doing in terms of your numbers (revenue information included), or to simply inform and educate people. Some businesses even use infographics to motivate people. So anything that allows you to present something in a visual-rich environment can be turned into an infographic.
Videos and video series. These are like podcasts, except that you not only capitalize on audio, but on video as well. Video series offer effective ways to keep your audience engaged. This is because viewers are looking forward to the next video in the installment. How-to videos, guides, and lists are some of the types of video content that get the most views, shares, and engagements.
Webinars. There is no other way to be more intimate with your audience sans the direct, personal interaction than through a webinar. And while you can do a pre-recorded webinar that people can play whenever they want, it’s more effective to do it live. That’s because people appreciate the spontaneity of contact and the personal touch in conversations. Often, businesses who do live webinars leave room for a Q&A – a technique that lets you interact with people who can become paying customers.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is a broad term in a way, as it’s actually made up of strategies that help your website and all of your digital properties get on top of Search Engine Result Pages or SERPs. On one level, SEO is focused on creating content that answers people’s needs.
On another level, it’s all about getting the right mix of keywords or key phrases, and targeting them so that when people search using those keywords or key phrases, anything related to your business that has those keywords will appear on the search results. What you need to remember about inbound marketing is that you want to draw people’s attention to your business by first offering them something of value, and second, by giving them a reason to visit your website to learn a bit more.
So, as you create your inbound marketing strategy, don’t forget to leave a trail that leads people to your website. Remember: you don’t have to necessarily promote a product. In fact, promoting a product can sometimes discourage people, because most don’t want to be sold to.
What people want nowadays is to get what they essentially need first, and then look for ways to answer that need better through the help of a product or a service. That’s when they start to look at websites. That’s when they may find you!
How to Avoid the #1 Reason Sales Trainers/Consultants Lose Their Perfect Clients
Companies spend billions of dollars annually on sales training. Research shows, however, that the majority of these training programs fail to achieve a boost in sales performance. There are some companies that experience an increase in revenues after their sales people go through sales training.
However, many of these companies report that the resulting increase in sales is not as substantial as they expected. Often, the increase in sales usually turns out to be short term. Many sales trainers and consultants are now looking into why it’s hard to meet their objectives.
They’re carefully evaluating their training styles, behavior, strategies, and content. They’re trying to determine what changes to make, to ensure a significant improvement in sales performance. They’re trying to establish what they should do to help their clients accomplish significant and long-term revenue growth.
Characteristics of Effective Sales Consultants
Effective sales consultants share certain foundational characteristics and skills. The more common ones include:
- They want to help their clients achieve their sales objectives.
- They share their clients’ passion for sales.
- They have the inherent capability to connect quickly with sales professionals.
- They can establish an environment that fosters trust, and the drive to learn and enhance skills and knowledge.
- They are credible. They speak from a position of strength because they have actual experience in sales.
- They’re experienced trainers. They apply sound sales training techniques. They’re proficient in facilitating sales training workshops. They can create relevant and rich learning experiences for their trainees.
- They can motivate their trainees to share and reflect on best practices and learn from one another.
- They understand their clients’ unique selling needs and situations.
- They evaluate their clients’ present skills, and design training programs appropriate to those skills.
- They know how to motivate their trainees to learn more and develop better skills and knowledge.
Many sales consultants have most, if not all of the above-mentioned requirements. Why do a good number of these consultants still find it difficult to help their clients get and convert sales leads to increase sales? Research indicates that many sales consultants focus on the motivational aspect of sales training.
A large part of training programs tends to focus on two major areas:
1. Helping clients gain insight into their own sales and marketing styles and
2. Helping clients understand customer psychology.
While the knowledge may pump up sales people to work harder to bring in more sales, it may not actually help them bring home the bacon. Even if sales people have the drive and motivation to bring in business, they may not be able to do so if they don’t have access to sales techniques and platforms that actually work. Sales people need to have the drive to close sales. However, this may not be enough.
Sales people should know what sales systems to use so they can harness their drive, and direct their energy into productive behaviors that effectively increase sales.
For this reason, exceptional sales trainers and consultants should cultivate the following strengths:They need to keep up with the latest selling trends and systems, and teach their clients to do the same.
- They should make their clients realize the need to connect with other sales professionals, find out what sales experts have to say, and read up on the latest sales studies and reports in their industry.
- They need to make their clients realize the importance of networking, following the social media feeds of influencers, subscribing to relevant blogs, and making and maintaining strong social media connections with current and prospective customers.
- They need to experience first-hand the sales challenges that their clients face. Actual in-the-trench experience helps to increase sales consultants’ confidence. It also establishes a stronger credibility with clients.
- They realize the importance of their own personal development. They don’t stop fine-tuning their skills, enhancing their craft, or increasing their level of expertise.
- They are constantly on the look-out for learning opportunities for both themselves and their clients.
- They always strive to give greater value to their clients by inspiring them to look for specific ways to gain measurable business growth.
Google My Business
Sales professionals need to improve their sales funnel efficiency. They need to know and influence their prospective customers’ thought processes, preferences, and decisions. They need a solid sales funnel to help them convert leads into paying customers. Without this funnel, it will be a real challenge to increase sales and revenues. Google My Business is an incredible opportunity to get local/inbound leads. A company that makes use of this unique platform will be able to quickly fill their sales funnel with highly promising and eligible leads.
Your clients should realize that using Google My Business gives them the following advantages:
- Google My Business makes it easy for people to find a company online, and helps generate more revenues for the company.
- It provides an easy way for your client to optimize listing so that they get top listing results.
- It provides an incredible opportunity to get strong exposure online.
- It makes your client’s location and address accessible to prospective customers.
- It provides high search visibility. Prospective customers can easily find their way to your client’s website.
- It gives your client the chance to display useful, important, and current information about his business.
- It opens the way for your client to use comments, posts, testimonials, videos, and photos to interact with prospective customers.
- It helps build trust.
- It helps establish credibility.
- It helps sell product and services.
- It helps convert leads into loyal customers.
- It provides your client the opportunity to tell prospective customers about sales promos, special discounts, and exceptional offers.
- It helps your client hang out, answer queries, and connect with people.
- It helps your client engage customers.
- It helps your client understand their customers through the platform’s Insights tab.
- It provides statistics (audience traffic, gender, age groups, countries, etc) that your client can use to strengthen engagement and improve sales.
- It provides a way to solicit, monitor, and respond to reviews.
- It provides a unified interface that makes it easy for your client to use other Google tools. It makes it easy to expand and manage an online presence.
Sales training is not likely to be effective if sales consultants fail to equip their clients with practical and helpful strategies to improve sales performance and achieve higher sales results. Google My Business helps your clients’ business to flourish. It gives them the opportunity to keep in touch and connect with their target customers every single day. If you want to be a truly effective sales consultant, you should be able to make your clients realize that they can use Google My Business to improve their sales revenues.
How to Dominate Local Search with Google My Business
Before the Internet, people managed to find information about businesses through one essential tool: the phonebook. Now, with smartphones and tablets as its replacement, yellow pages have become an optional way for people to lookup information about a specific business.
However, there’s a catch: with yellow pages, all businesses that offer similar products and services are grouped together. This makes it easier for people to quickly scan business names, addresses, and phone numbers regardless of the number of pages. With Google, people rarely go past the search results that they see on page 1.
For this reason, businesses embrace another way of letting people know that they exist. Through Google My Business, only one of the many free services that Google offers, businesses now have a shot at gaining additional exposure, especially at the local level.
By “local level,” we mean that the search results people get from Google are tied to a specific location. For example, when a person searches for “pizzeria in Portland,” they will only get search results that lists pizzeria businesses in the Portland area. As the person clicks through a business listing in the list of results, the information about the business appears alongside its location on a map.
How is this helpful? When people intentionally search for specific businesses, they’re usually purchase-ready customers looking for any of these things: your location, your phone number, your hours of operation, and your customer reviews. These are things that Google collects and places in an index-like list, much like the yellow pages. The benefit is that indexing is narrowed down according to location (and thus, local).
So if there’s only a handful of pizzeria businesses in the Portland area, your pizzeria business has a good chance of being included in the list, and a good chance of people seeing it. Then again, not all businesses appreciate what this can do in terms of winning more customers. So what can you do in order to maximize your business exposure on Google My Business?
Step 1. Claim your Google My Business listing
Claiming your Google My Business Listing is easy, especially if you already have a Google account. Follow this link to get started: Google My Business. Click the “Start Now” button on that page, and then make sure that you provide all of your business’ information. You will then be taken to a page where you need to choose a verification method.
This step, while it takes a few days, assures Google that your business is legitimate. If you choose to be verified by mail, you’ll receive a postcard at your business address. The card contains a PIN that you need to enter on your Google My Business dashboard. Once entered, your business is now officially Google-verified.
Step 2. Optimize your listing
Claiming your business listing and verifying your business are not enough. You have to optimize it. Optimizing means making the best and making use of the features that Google offers for your listing. So it’s imperative for you to look at and to complete the following:
- Your business address. It puts you on Google and Local maps.
- Your business phone number. It allows people to call you. List a local number as much as possible.
- Your business website. If you have one. If not, you can create even a simple landing page to showcase more of your business offering.
- Your business description. It tells your customers more about your business.
- Your business category. There are over 2,000 categories, so browse through them and pick the one that best represents your business.
- Your business attributes. Information like kid- or pet-friendly, outdoor dining experience, Wi-Fi access, parking, and so on. Include the things that tell people how they can enjoy their business experience.
- Your photos. Photos are your business identity. Include a profile photo and location images such as your storefront, interior shots, and even your crew shots.
Once you get these done, it’s time to connect with your audience.
Step 3. Interact with your audience
How? Through the following:
Post regular updates. To post regular updates, go to your Google My Business dashboard and click the “Posts” option. This works exactly like when you post on your Facebook and Instagram accounts. When you do post, remember to include an image as it’s a great eye-catcher. Experiment with different image sizes because at times, it can get cut when it’s displayed on mobile screens.
Ask and respond to customer reviews. Welcome good and bad reviews. Good reviews boost your business morale before the public. Bad reviews can help you in a different way. First, it shows the public how you respond to customer negative feedback. Second, it shows the public how you implement changes to improve customer experience. And third, it tells the public how you value your customers. Here’s how you can get reviews:
- Go to Google Maps.
- Use the search box to look up for business name.
- Click the menu option.
- Click the “Share or Embed Map” option.
- Click the “Copy Link” option under the “Send a Link” tab.
- Send that link to customers by email or by text.
Answer questions posed by the public. Your Google My Business listing can only accommodate essential and standard information. So if people have questions, they may either contact you directly or use the “Ask quick questions” feature. While anyone who knows your business can answer questions, it’s important that you respond. Business responses are considered credible. By responding, you also tell people that you’re engaged.
Respond to direct messages. Go to your dashboard and click on the “Messaging” option. Follow the prompts to activate this feature. Once activated, a ‘Message” option will appear on your listing. The messages will be delivered to you as an SMS. After doing all these things, explore what else you can do with your listing by looking at the different menu items on your Google Dashboard. Be creative. Create posts that are relevant to your audience, update them whenever you have a promotion, post if you’ll be closed on certain dates and when you’ll be back online, and so on. Make Google My Business an extension of your business.