Lots of people on places like LinkedIn will TELL you many things, like – for example – that you shouldn’t hire an old-school sales trainer, but what does that mean?
They are telling you something – but what are the right questions to ask to find a good sales trainer? You see a lot less of that.
MOST CONTENT ABOUT SELLING HAS TOO MUCH TELLING
Lots of people on places like LinkedIn post about things like which sales books are the best, and comments come back with other people telling about their personal favorites, but almost no-one asks what part of sales and selling people might be interested in before suggesting the book they happen to like best.
Great salespeople differentiate themselves by the questions they ask when they are with prospects and customers.
Why should it be different when salespeople, sales trainers and the like discuss the art (and science?) of selling?
And what about sales training itself? Is the best sales training when someone stands at the front of a room (or on a monitor) and tells you what to do?
Isn’t knowledge transfer about effective selling more likely to happen when a trainer or a coach or your boss or a peer asks you a question that really makes you think about what you are doing, how you are doing it, and how making some changes might improve things for you?
THE QUESTIONS ARE THE ANSWER
When that happens – when you get that deep, thought-provoking question that you engage with, you to own it…
…after you engage – with the question.
Telling is one-way communication.
Selling is two-way communication – at least when it’s done right.
Sales coaching and training should be too.
So where does that leave us with respect to old-school sales training, books, and other sales content?
I’ve used the same basic sales training model for almost 20 years now. I write about it in my books, I create content based on these concepts here on social media, and I use it as a basis for coaching. Does that make it old school? Quite not.
It’s still relevant because it’s not a sales training monologue, but rather a framework for discussion based on the core, foundational elements of sales that don’t change over time.
What keeps it relevant and contemporary, are the questions – and the process of seeking answers based on what is happening right now.
IT’S THE TELLING THAT’S THE PROBLEM
When someone tells you that the other guy is telling you the wrong thing and you should only listen to the right thing (i.e., the thing THEY are telling you), step back, and realize the truth.
It’s the telling that is the problem.
Where are the questions? Where is the engagement? Where is the personalization? Where is the relevance?
When the right questions can be factored into the mix, you’re talking about effective selling.
The rest is telling. Your customers don’t like that. If you are trying to improve at sales and selling, you shouldn’t either.