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Sales Training for a Transforming Market | Richard Ruff

How you doing there well good day, indeed, excellent and and Richard is part of the of level 5 selling and did if you want to just tell us a little bit about what level five selling is, because we’re going to talk today about sales training for a Transformational market so what’s level five selling yeah.

Well sure, thanks for the opportunity yeah we served about two years ago I John Huskins who’s. My partner wrote a book called level, five selling and John, and I happen to bump into each other at Starbucks and he said gee. You know. I’d really liked to you know, take the book, but but start a company in designer. You know a new training methodology. That’s really responsive to you know the kind of demands we see in my first market, but you know do that all by myself.

You know I’m struggling with that a little bit. I said, well love to come to the party. So that day we decided to join the partnership, and the whole idea John behind it was was, was to say that if you really looked at what’s occurring, you know things don’t look like yesterday and and yet you know the training establishment which we’re a part we’re Doing things pretty much like we were doing them for a long time.

You know we might be doing them better, but we weren’t doing them differently. So what we set out to do was to really try to develop. You know, instead of training, content and training methodologies that that were responsive to the demands of the 21st century market and for those of you not familiar with with six work, is you know now he’s with level five selling looking at and training for the 21st century And for transformational market um, I guess 3040 years ago now you did the same thing when you were working with Neil Rackham and spin selling, and that was the last big kind of move in the in sales in sales, training and sales performance improvement.

So you’re two different centuries, two different two different initiatives. What what we were doing way back when was very much at that point, different yeah it was different and – and I think, is probably time to sort of revisit that challenge. So tell me exam you dick. Why is I mean sales training? Has you know it’s? Obviously it’s something that you know. People look at all the time talk about all the time and it often happens as it may be, the you know, maybe an annual initiative.

Let’s do sales training and maybe grab somebody and do a few workshops, and then they take that box, but there’s, but nothing really is embedded or changed. But how is the landscape changed in the in the way that maybe sales, you know traditional sales training doesn’t meet? The needs any more of the modern seller. Well, you know we sit down and say: okay, we really want to be serious about doing something different.

We need to first of all go back and take a look at the scale and the scope of the changes that are occurring in the market because they really are transformational, mmm-hmm and and buyers are buying differently. Therefore, sellers need to be doing something different and, and – and this is in the world training you need to try to be responsive to that. So what does that look like? Well, a couple of things really jumped up off the table.

The first one was that that we need to stop looking at training as an event mm-hmm and look at it as an ongoing process. I mean we’ve seen it a thousand times everyone in the field. As you know, you got a 300 person Salesforce. You know a company goes out and hires vendors. Like us. You know we do nine meetings scattered across the United States and we parachute in for a couple of days and bring one of our expert trainers, and it’s done in a really nice hotel and and the two days go.

You know pretty well and that’s kind of it a pretty good time. The food is good, you know, and the reason that won’t work is because the scale and the scope of the changes that have occurred means the salespeople. They really genuinely have to be doing some things differently and those things aren’t so easy mm-hmm. We really think that the training must move to to being an ongoing process. That means folks like us when we initiate on engagement with with a client now John, we don’t do it in terms of a program.

We do it in terms of a project yeah 180 days and a whole whole thing is to is to establish a foundation to have a continuing learning process going on provide people with the materials the wherewithal to make learning ongoing and – and I think, a key to That is the frontline managers. Well, I think you know, as we’ve always known, you know, they’re one of the biggest issues is that, as you say, with the workshop model, it’s great and everybody’s excited and they go away, but if the manager isn’t there to reinforce it after you leave it kind Of dies on the vine and the and the managers aren’t going to reinforce it if they don’t feel that they know it well enough themselves, they’re not going to embarrass themselves in front of their salespeople because trying to reinforce something that they’re not expert.

In no question I mean, and that again is sort of the second factor that John and I kicked around – that, in addition to be sowing ongoing versus being event, the frontline managers have to take center stage, though, during that 180 days we train them first mm-hmm, and We train them to to work with the salespeople and the real key is to make coaching a must. Do I can’t tell you the number of projects that I no question done myself in the past, where you know we suggested the company.

Now you guys, you got ta, get the managers coaching and everyone nodded their head, but it didn’t happen, and so what we’re doing is saying: that’s not a nice to do that’s a must do or what’s going to happen is whatever you learned in quote program will Be gone within 60 days after the program is over, so the manic, so our whole thing is actually a coaching system more than it is a training system.

So we explain that a little more because I do think – and I’ve had this conversation with a number of people, and I do think that most people do not really understand what coaching looks like in a professional business sense and especially, and that goes triple for for Sales coaching because most people, think of coaching or when you mention, if you’d say to somebody, you need to start coaching your people.

They tend to just fall back on whatever frame of reference they have from sports or from when they were when they were in high school. Oh yeah. Well, you know the coach just used to tell us what to do and then, if they told us, you know, tell us 20 times and then eventually we would do it and everything would be good. So then they go ahead and start telling people what to do which doesn’t work. So can you explain what does what is what does coaching really mean? What is coaching, and particularly, what is coaching in a sales management sense, you’re, absolutely right.

First of all, you really have to stand back to the point that you just made. You know it is not about telling people about something they need to do it’s about. Helping them learn something they need to do so. You’ve got to get off of this telling thing and getting on to the idea that you’re genuinely trying to help somebody learns and, and the biggest operational barrier to that is the managers just run out of time.

My manager has got so many things going on that coaching gets put off till Friday and then it never happens, and you can say well we’re going to change that. But but but I’ve tried it and in sooner or later it the gravity just drags it back. Because there are so many demands, the reward system is set up for closing that deal not for not for coaching one of the things that we did is said. You know you you’ve got to put in place a methodology for coaching that has a couple of things.

First of all, you need to train the management, how to coach, it isn’t high school football, so don’t be assuming just because these are really smart folks that they know the skills of coaching. So when we develop the training modules, we developed not only stuff for the reps, but but we develop specific modules on best practices approach. So that’s just on that one. I think anyone listening it’s almost it’s almost more dangerous to tell people to go off and start coaching who don’t know how to coach than it is to not have them coach.

You can make some serious mistakes and do some post interviews of why reps leave companies mm-hmm and usually there are some some very good examples. So, no don’t be sad just because the manager was just a top-flight rep and that’s usually where people tend to gravitate to get their managers. The assumption that a top-flight rep will automatically know how to coach when he’s declared a manager is just foolhardy.

That’s not clear thinking, so, yes, the first clear step, you know we believed was you’ve, got to get serious about having the managers go through some intense experiences. For example, we also build in a 180 assessment to get managers to get feedback from their people. Why? How are you doing Sally, and so we deal we deal with it with the skill development and we deal with the attitudinal part of giving the managers real feedback on.

So you think you’re, a pretty good coach. Why don’t you listen to your 12 reps and see what they think because often times it can be insightful and the other thing I think the key to it? Trying and making it happen is throwing the skill issue, but the time issue. So what we’ve done is say that coaching in the field is great, but the problem with it is takes a lot of time. You got ta get on an airplane, go someplace, so we’ve developed a way to do coaching online.

You know there are a tremendous number of learning management systems now that are really really good. I mean it’s not like the old days, where they’re great, absolutely great. We use rehearsal but they’re, like fifty others are available, but the point of all that is to say that you have to augment your your field best based coaching with some online process. So let’s say the manager determines the rep needs some additional skill development in handling objections.

Well, great, you know determine that. Have the the rep you know, make some articles about handling key objections submitted on article to the manager, the manager reades the article and then gives feedback to the reps via article? What’s it on what was good and what was not so good about that practice. Point well, you can get a heck of a lot of practice and feedback in. If you do it online versus jumping on the airplanes and flying halfway across the country now doesn’t replace, fill based coaching, but the point is to augment.

So those are. Those are the two things that I would say that if a company says you know dick what the Dickens would you do to make coaching better. I would really get serious about training the managers to coach, rather than assuming that they’re good at it, and I would build in 180 and 360 kinds of assessments, and I would find ways to augment by using too technology that is now using those yeah.

And I think the other part due to dick is that a lot of training in the past is always being set up, assuming that all selling is done face-to-face right as it used to be. But the reality is that that’s not the case anymore. A lot of selling is done online via zoom and what we’re using today and and it’s not because and it’s and he used to be at the very beginning, it was a computers, kind of a convenient thing for salespeople.

You know to some degree because you didn’t have to travel. You could save so much, but now it’s a customer preference in a lot of ways. We’re customers, we’ve had instances where the customer had said we you’re down the road. We’ll come see you! No! No! It’s fine, let’s just do it over soon. So I think using technology to coach is a good idea, because a lot of salespeople are now using technology to sell and a lot of sales training isn’t really adapted to that chair, that’s true! In 2019, what’s he going to be like 10 years? I mean first of all, the technology to do what we’re doing right today will be twice as good, and I think you know initially we got some pushback on like well.

You know my managers, don’t like that. That software stuff, you know they’re kind of old-school and I said well, first of all, let’s give it a shot because maybe they’re not quite as old-school as you think they are and we have known a trouble with it at all. Hmm, I mean it’s because a lot of people have bad experiences with some of the early systems which were like, we actually tried one and we had trouble with it to new.

It was just too complex, and so can you make a mistake yeah. So, if you’re going to do this, do a good search of the learning management systems and get one that does what you wanted to do versus one. That simply has all the bells and whistles 90 % of which you’re not going to use. And I think the other thing too is you? Obviously, you have to take your cues from customers right from buyers, because if, if a buyer wants to engage with you in a particular way, you try to force them to engage with, like somebody I talked to.

Somebody recently gave me a fantastic example. He said he was sitting in the car with this, with the sales guy that he he’d been coaching them or whatever, and the customer and there and the prospect texted the guy. Just a quick question right and immediately the sales guy called the customer right or the prospect prospect didn’t want to call prospect, took texted him and wanted a text back right, but he tried to force him into it.

He called him easily and it’s like that that misalignment and it’s like the same the same, what we’re just talking about. Sometimes you got to take your cues from the prospects and figure out how they want to be communicated. Well, some of those methodologies in the training ain’t an all bad idea. I think the third thing that we we did was we actually, which is the stuff that took us the most time is we actually, I spent about two years taking all of our basic skill modules and putting them on article hmm, you know so all the stuff.

Everything from business acumen to fundamental objection handling stuff, so that means that the sales rep can now, if the managers to the sales rep. Okay, you know you need a little bit of asking questions. We have a module on asking questions. They can turn on their iPhone. 10 minutes and take a look at best practices for that, and we have 38 of these things, and so the beauty of that is that is that every manager – and I think this point is important.

John today, every manager can individualize the training to their reps. The old days we used to customize the program, but all three hundred reps went through we’ve customized to the company enough. It was customized to the company, that’s right and people where, whereas when we stopped to think about it, you have to be able to customize it to the end and the only way we can figure out how to do. That is to put the stuff on on article, and that means that manager a can say to a given rep here are the three things you need to learn and they can pick three other skill sets mm-hmm the RET next door needs to learn and they’re all On their iPhone that, I think, is a substantial difference in delivery.

Yeah! No, I think that’s huge and it because at the end of the day you know, especially for especially for you know, experienced reps. I mean it’s, it’s tough if you put them through a standard program yeah, maybe it’s customized to the to the company, but they have to go through stuff that they’re already really good at and maybe they have to. You know go through half but before they get to bits that are actually useful for them, but the the way you’re outlining to be able to give people specifically like surgical, targeted bits of training that address their specific need, you’re going to get much better adoption.

For that too, it’s it’s a big deal because you know, particularly in today’s market. You know with how complex the selling process is. You have differences of skill sets from you know. Very you know young people that are in their twenties. The older folks are they’re in their 50s. You have different generations, which are which are used to learning in in different ways and to say well we’re going to put you all through that program in Phoenix Arizona, use some powerpoints, but not too hard, so yeah.

So we think you know, I think, the three themes of the thing about thinking about it as a continuous process versus stuff. In an event, the idea that stop kidding yourself, the coaching is a must do – is the second and the third is the trainings got to be available anytime anyplace and it has to be customized to the individual. That, I think, is the substantially different set of ideas. I love that idea of it being on the smartphone, because I think, because one of the things that I bump up against all the time is this idea, people think they’re so busy right, we’re busier than we’ve ever been and I’m like are we dough? Is it more that we’re more distracted than we’ve ever been, but the reality is that we become so reliant on these things that producing your short articles targeted at my training available on my smartphone.

It’s a higher probability, I’m going to access that when I’m sitting in an airport or at lunchtime or whatever it is, then it then, if I have to if it’s something more complex than I have to access well, we had a great example that one one of Our clients called Saturday, the other advantage of that is this also a real-time. You know the guy was almost one of his reps was about to make a call and uh and said you know he knew the call was going to have a lot of objections, so he just he just had just at his car and the module is 10 Minutes long, so he sat him and listen again to the module before the call, so you can literally go back over the content.

It’s all been quite a lot of time. It condensed down to a ten minute thing: you can. You can do the learning exactly when you need it and again pretty important yeah at the point of impact yeah I mean that’s, that’s fantastic. I mean to be able to do that to sit in your car for 10 minutes before the meeting and you know get to get up to speed on objections or whatever it is that you think is going to come up.

It’s fantastic, listen! We’re bumping up against the end of our time, dig so level. Five selling calm is the. Is the website there’s anything else. You want to tell people about level five website. We have lots of stuff on there. We have. We have a little written. A lot of articles, those you can get free by going to whether easiest way to get that is, go to my LinkedIn site, Richard roof on LinkedIn and there’s a whole bunch of articles.

You’re free. You know you can download those those constitute the sort of core material around which we built the modules. So that’s that’s all you can have for, and I love deeply you’ve also got merchandise. That’s the first. I see you’ve got all profits go to prevent child abuse. America, okay, that’s fantastic! So there you go, you can get scales, you can get a cool t-shirt, long sleeve t-shirt whatever, and it all goes through, because so on the one hand the training goes towards helping you make more money when you’re selling and if you buy some merchants or it Dies, it goes to help prevent child abuse there.

You go perfect great combination, John. I just thank your audience and John thank you again for giving an opportunity to to chat with your audience. Yeah. Absolutely. My name is John buildin says pop online says magazine. Kiona conc offer another expert interview really soon. Thank you be good.


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