Why do some “over-trained” sales reps sell nothing?

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Because they are not trained to sell.

Or, to be more precise, they are trained to be “walking catalogues” and not to create the conditions necessary in order that a sales lead buys, in other words the act of selling.

Imagine a high-level athlete, a pole-vaulter for example. When he is not competing he trains hard; he knows it is important and his Federation supplies him with ample funds. So he spends 23% of his time practising pole-vaulting and the remaining 77% of his time attending detailed presentations run by international specialists in:

–        Breathing, concentration, action (by a former member of the SAS)

–        The role of hydrometrics in the flexibility coefficient of new generation composite poles

–        Creating a success dynamic in team sports (by a famous football coach)

–        The anatomy of the rear tendons of a kangaroo

Against all expectations, the athlete does not reach the required standard and does not qualify for the next World Championships. What a downer.

He perseveres though and has a respectable sporting career at a national level. Some 15 years later he passes all the exams to become a national coach with flying colours.

Sometimes it is just like that with sales reps. We train them to know “what to say” rather than “what to make someone say”. We train them to talk rather than to listen. We train them to deliver their pitch rather than to ask the right questions. We bet that as long as they “know” they will “know how”.

And the sales figures don’t follow. What a downer.

The way technology is evolving, this kind of sales rep will soon be replaced with a “Pitcher 4.0” whose artificial and increased intelligence will do the job just as well. On-line of course.

Selling, in so far as it means creating the conditions in which a group of individuals will come collectively to a given decision, is a whole different kettle of fish. It is time to stop thinking that we have trained someone well enough because we have rolled out the sales pitch.

Let’s take the time needed to help them become the rain-makers we want them to be.

François Drillon, EXECUTIVE SELLING (www.executive-selling.com)

THE THREE

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