This is a guest article by Jeni Wehrmeyer, COO/CMO, Anthony Cole Training Group
It is sometimes difficult to understand what makes the top producers so successful. Even more challenging is how to find, attract, and develop more of those types of salespeople. There is a science to the soft skills world of selling. In fact, many industries will not hire a salesperson without an analysis to determine the candidate’s level of sales skills proficiency.
If you are a salesperson, understanding the data behind the sales you make is critical to honing your skills and moving up the leader board. At Anthony Cole Training, we utilize the sales assessment tool from Objective Management Group (OMG), the pioneer and leader in the sales assessment industry.
This article focuses on the middle group of the 21 core sales competencies described and measured by OMG called Sales DNA. Read on to understand why this data is so important if you are leading a sales team.
Smooth Talker or Solid Performer?
Most of the companies we work with are banks and insurance firms that have, historically, not relied on such assessments. This is certainly changing. We see a trend toward committed sales performance evaluation of teams and job candidates.
Bank senior executives are beginning to understand that the data behind that robust resume or smooth interviewer can reveal some critical tendencies-- and potential weaknesses-- that they need to know about before making a job offer. They are also evaluating the current sales team under the same metrics.
Investing in sales training without your salespeople's understanding of their personal Sales DNA dynamics and metrics and how it impacts their selling is a waste of time and money. Sales DNA can be coached to successfully convert selling performance. The simple case studies that follow illustrate the importance of the data behind sales performance.
Note: While the example in the chart shown is for insurance, we provide this type of data for every industry.
Case Study 1 – Believe it or Not, Believing Matters
Let’s say we are planning to train your team on a sales approach that it has not used before. It’s a questioning technique that, while very successful, your team does not understand or "believe" in.
A simple example helps clarifies this idea-- asking for introductions from current advocating clients. If the team is not first trained on the impact of their own beliefs in the sales technique, many will not buy into it. There will be push back and many may never utilize it. Without changing behavior first, sales training budgets are wasted on this approach. Beliefs drive behavior, and behavior drives outcomes and results.
Case Study 2- Being in the Moment
If your producer is unable to "stay in the moment," they are likely to miss critical cues from the prospect because they are already thinking ahead to their next question or how to answer the prospect. Many salespeople struggle with this particular Sales DNA metric because they are good at presenting and telling. They are not as skilled at listening to be able to ask probing questions like “Why is that?” or “When did that problem begin?” or “What has your current bank done to address that?”.
This more consultative approach is what elite producers have mastered. They can listen very closely to the prospect, follow their lead, and ask the right questions to let the prospect self-discover why the problem must be fixed. They stay in the moment and are not distracted by previously-set agendas or thinking.
Case Study 3- When Money is a 4-Letter Word
Your salesperson might have great relationship-building skills, be strong at qualifying, and is prepared to ask all the best questions of the prospect, but what if they are uncomfortable discussing money? They will often not ask about budget or fees and simply proceed down the path to the proposal stage without a good handle on what the prospect will pay to solve their problem. We are taught from a young age that talking about money is inappropriate, so this is a very common issue with salespeople. By default, it can be an uncomfortable topic.
To overcome this money question hesitancy, salespeople need to understand the reasons behind their discomfort with asking those money questions. If a salesperson recognizes they’re uncomfortable talking about money, they can be taught many other—more comfortable ways-- to ask the money question. If they then practice these ways in sales training class, they can overcome the hurdle. Only with self-reflection and understanding of their Sales DNA can they begin to change their behavior for the better.
You cannot change that which you cannot see. Sales-specific metric assessments help Sales Managers and team members understand root behaviors to fix sales issues at their core. If you are considering sales training to achieve long-term, meaningful change and results, it is critical that your sales training provider utilizes a sales-specific data-driven assessment.
Are your salespeople smooth talkers or solid performers?
Anthony Cole can help you scrutinize the data behind the sales.