- Knowledge Center
By Nick Terrenzi
When speaking on the topic of communication, I am often asked this question: “Has modern technology improved communication skills?”
More recent generations grew up with this technology—are their communications skills better as a result?
My generation has been fortunate enough to experience life with and without this technology. Therefore, I’ve lived in both worlds, and I can definitely say there are major differences.
When I was a kid, we lived in a small farming community with little to no technology—a TV was a luxury for sure. Everyone in our community knew each other. My mother was a nurse, so if someone needed help the community knew to call her or come to our home. We also raised chickens and provided eggs to the neighborhood, and my first real job was collecting eggs. We traded those eggs to the other farmers for pork and beef.
My main point in sharing this story is that the community worked together, we really knew each other, and we were in real communication with each other. Asking a neighbor to borrow some flour or sugar or a tool was no bother—in fact, it was expected. If we needed help to build a fence or fix something in the house, it was readily available. We learned to use communication as a necessity for survival at a very early age.
These skills were improved as we grew up and were maintained throughout life.
Now let’s look at recent generations, my children included.
Technology allows us to communicate through devices instead of in person. Social media allows us to interact without having real communication or real understanding—just ask yourself, “How many of my Facebook friends do I truly know and trust?”
There are more issues associated with our digital society. Video gaming dominates leisure time so there are fewer community functions, keeping us further out of communication. There is increasing conflict pushed into society through media outlets and social media, causing mistrust and fear, shutting down communication even further.
Now, how does this relate to sales?
You might guess—and you’d be right—that along with the decline in communication skill has come to a parallel decline in sales skill. It’s gotten to the point that one “solution” to the lack of sales skill, for some companies, is to move sales online, completely removing the human element from the sales process. For some products there is some value in this move—but most of us would still rather deal with a real person with whom we can really communicate when buying a product or service. We would also rather experience these products and services ourselves, rather than just view 2-dimensional pictures on device screens.
Communication skills will, therefore, have to be addressed, just out of necessity, which is good news for you and your company. Imagine if you and your team were all Master of Communication. How would this change your company? For that matter, how would this change neighborhoods, communities, and life in general?
Don’t overthink the problem, but instead focus on improving the communication skills of you and your team. Let’s do it together and change society for generations to come!
Learn more by signing up at SELLability.com.
Sales training throughout the years has been sorely lacking in some crucial areas. Just have a look at the amount of money (in millions) companies spend yearly in sales training, which focuses mainly on closing. If such training was effective, we’d certainly have more effective closing routinely taking place, wouldn’t we? Yet we’re still faced with, as our research has discovered, 20 percent of the salespeople closing 80 percent of the sales. This 80-20 barrier has never been broken—until now.
Part of routine sales training is to arm salespeople with “feature sets.” In other words, they contact a prospect and immediately launch into their product’s or service’s features. They then aim, as rapidly as possible, for the close. Unfortunately, very few actually arrive there.
A major reason for this failure is the lack of real communication. A salesperson engages, in the beginning, in some social chit-chat. “What about this weather we’ve been having?” “Love that dress!” “How about those Bears?” This is strictly social communication and will get you nowhere.
For real evidence of where social communication gets you, simply remember the last time you arrived at work in the morning. What do you usually say to the first person you meet? “How are you?” What is the usual answer? “Fine.”
Now, ask yourself, what do you really know about that person from that answer? Exactly nothing. It was a totally social answer.
In sales, you really need to know about your prospect, or you’ll never get anywhere. You need to understand why they’re interested in a product or service like yours, why they’ve been wanting to buy it, what they feel it will really do for them. You won’t get any of that information until you are engaging in real communication with that prospect. On top of that, you won’t be able to break through any of that prospect’s sales resistance, because they’re not going to share their actual objections.
For communicating in sales, there’s only one solution: let’s get real!
Learn more by signing up at SELLability.com.
Very early on in any sales cycle, you must establish trust. This is, in fact, the first job of a salesperson. In order to sell to a prospect, you must get them to tell you about their lives, hopes, dreams, and problems—which won’t happen unless they trust you enough to tell you what they’re really thinking.
Contrary to what most sales training states, the buying process isn’t rational and logical. It is, in fact, irrational and emotional (if it weren’t, we wouldn’t need salespeople, but just clerks to take orders). If a salesperson is going to get a buyer to view a product or service rationally and make a correct decision, the salesperson will have to firmly establish trust with that buyer.
How is trust established? By breaking through the barrier between social and real communication.
When you arrive at work in the morning, and you ask how people are, how do they nearly always answer? “Fine.” Are they? Maybe so, maybe not. But it’s just a social answer, isn’t it?
A person has been going through life pretending everything is “fine” simply because they have never (or rarely) come across anyone they can trust enough to stop pretending. They need a real, caring person to listen, understand, and guide them to a real solution.
In sales, right from the very beginning, you must establish enough trust so that your prospect is willing to disclose to you what they truly think. You need to have a real conversation, not a social one. The reason that most sales processes don’t end up in a sale is simply that, by the time we get to the “close,” we’re still having a social conversation.
Establishing real trust, on the other hand, will lead you all the way through the sales process and (if you have accomplished each step of your sales process) through to a successful close!
Learn more by signing up at SELLability.com.
As a salesperson, it is very common to speak with a prospect that doesn’t automatically open up to you, continue a conversation, openly communicate or answer all of your questions immediately.
A salesperson’s success depends on his ability to get and keep the prospect talking so you can find out what the prospects needs and wants really are. This will help you as the salesperson to be able to correctly and effectively help them with those needs and wants.
Ever wonder how a really good salesperson can consistently hit his quotas? And why others can’t seem to even come close to what they need to make to just pay their salaries? Well, so do a lot of people!
The key is in statistical analysis. But what is that? And how do you use it to generate income and help salespeople make their quotas?
I hope this helps!
Some people think all you need is a good personality and persistence to make it in the world of sales, but most seasoned sales professionals know they need to sharpen their selling skills by continuously learning and practicing.
Learning how to apply what you know and adapt as needed in changing economies and social environments is essential if you want to succeed in selling.
Just like any professional athlete will tell you, they get a serious amount of coaching and practicing to achieve their top performance, shouldn’t your skills as a sales professional be as sharp as those athletes?
In sales as in sports you need to stay current with the skills you need to succeed as well as to stay current with the new technology that will be of great benefit to your sales career.
Having the internet and information technology at everyone’s finger tips makes things even more interesting for the world of sales. Salespeople benefit from all new technology and developments but at the same time they have to be very well informed to be able to handle a prospect that has all the information available online about the product or service he is interested in.
Nowadays making the sale requires something more than just smooth talking, it requires the salesperson to be in tune with current information technology to be ready to handle any questions, objections or any inquiries the prospect has for them.
But no matter how informed the prospect is about your product or service, the salesperson’s primary goal should be to develop a good line of communication and gain that prospect trust, because without it closing the sale will not be an easy task.
This is one of those phrases you have to take out of your vocabulary; you have to realize at some point that what worked for you five years or ten years ago has become obsolete.
Your willingness to keep your skills sharp and keep your game plan fresh is what is going to make you more successful. Do you think successful companies use the same programs or routines year after year after year?
Make sure that you as a salesperson stay as sharp as possible and in tune with technology to make sure you are always at the top of your game. “Continuous Improvement, that’s what it’s all about” says Nick Terrenzi from SELLability.com
If you google sales training you will find a whole variety of programs that promise to make you a better salesperson, the question is: Do you want to be the best salesperson they want you to be? Or would you like to find out what strengths you already have and improve on the ones you need to?
This is the secret of SELLability! You find out what your exact strengths are and what you need to improve on.
You might already be excellent at developing good communication, maybe you are a good storyteller, or you are a good listener or a good negotiator, but there could be something that is holding you back from your true potential, aren’t you curious what that could be?
No matter where you decide to do your sales training, start by taking the Sales Skills Assessment at Sellability.com to find out what your strengths and weaknesses are exactly. You will be glad you did!
Selling is an exchange where both parties win. Being more prepared means you will have more chances to help more customers get exactly what they need and close more sales.
From time-to-time, almost every company needs a quick revenue boost for a quarter, a year-end, or a number of other reasons. However, you don’t want to do it at the expense of longer term growth or by jeopardizing profits. How do you go about doing it without throwing a lot of money or time into the project?
This relatively short program for boosting your sales can buy you time to execute your strategy for sustained growth, while leaving you in a better position to achieve it. The sequence of the actions is important, so follow the steps in order to maximize its effectiveness.
Find out from your sales executive what barriers or problems he considers he has that are preventing him from creating higher sales. This could include problems from other parts of the company, from competition, or some other factor. Almost invariably, you’ll hear many reasons external to sales, such as shortcomings in marketing, product quality or a down economy. Get a list of those external barriers, but be careful not to accept these reasons as THE reasons why they don’t have higher sales.
One of the big mistakes in sales is ascribing low sales to someone else or something else other than what you can control. Once you “give over” that control you suddenly find yourself without the ability to really handle your own productivity; and what a trap that becomes!
Start by prioritizing these items and immediately set about getting the barriers and inefficiencies addressed by those whose job it is to handle the parts of the organization where a problem has arisen.
Now start addressing the quantity of customer touches by increasing the effort and efficiency of your sales reps. Gather and examine those numbers in detail. First, look at the combined numbers for the whole organization and work your way down to the individual reps.
Appeal to the sales reps’ competitive nature and challenge them to keep up with their rival reps. Get each area and individual to increase their output to at least the levels of the comparison point you identified.
If a rep can do 100 touches in the best of conditions while working very diligently but they are only doing 80, you are losing 20% of your potential revenue from them. Get every incremental gain you can from each rep and team. This can add up fast across an entire Sales organization.
Now you need to improve their skills to increase the quality of the touches. Ensure you maintain the higher quantity you achieve from the above actions while you turn your focus to quality to maximize your gains. If the quantity slips, go back and fix it fast before moving on with the quality steps.
Listen to their phone calls, read e-mails, go with them to meetings or whatever means allows you to inspect the communication your reps are having with prospects. Correct them with constructive feedback. Just knowing that you are checking or accompanying them will cause many to step up their quality and perform at their best. Inspect for such things as:
Use the materials from your Sales training and show them precisely where they misapplied it or didn’t apply it. If you don’t have training for the Sales team, you should remedy this fast. SELLability can help with that.
You’ll find some reps have multiple points that need to be corrected, but don’t try to fix everything at once. Pick the most important point and correct that. Ensure that point is fully corrected before you move on to the next point. Don’t overwhelm them with criticism and remember to validate them for what they are doing well.
Share the most effective customer touches made by your best reps with the rest of the team so they see examples of doing it the right way and the great results from doing so.
You should see some fast results from the above steps and buy you some time to dig into the other areas of the company for further improvements and sustained growth. The best news is that your work in sales will better position them to capitalize on the improvements throughout the rest of the company.
CEO, SELLability LLC
As salespeople, we truthfully love the sale, the whole sales process and all of the challenges that culminate in the CLOSE!
Each close brings us happiness, a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction for a job well done, but how long does this last? Depending on how big the close was or how strategically important it was, the sense of accomplishment lasts for a certain time or as most salespeople say, “not long enough!” We all want the “Close feeling” to last for as long as possible so we try to stay connected to the sale somehow.
For example, salespeople try to get involved in the delivery or customer service end usually justifying it because “I need to ensure my customer is well taken care of” or “It’s a complicated sale. I want to make sure it gets done right”. Etc. The reality of it is that this is NOT the job of the sales person. Furthermore, salespeople LOSE MONEY when they are not working on creating a sale, selling and closing deals.
As salespeople we are only truly happy when we are closing. There always should be a nice acknowledgement when the sale is closed and then the delivery team should take over the client and service them extremely well. By doing so, sets up future sales for you! As long as the delivery team does in fact take care of your customers well, you can then take your attention off of that closed sale and put your attention on new potential sales that can then be closed.
Salespeople who consistently close are very happy salespeople indeed! Salespeople caught up in delivery and customer service issues are not happy and tend to create internal conflict by trying to take over another department’s job, such as delivery.
One of the key functions of management is to keep salespeople consistently focused on selling and closing. It is only in this way, that you can have consistent expansion. This is the only real way to handle the ups and downs of your income. Go ahead and graph your income for the last 3 months. The pattern is most likely up and down.
Do you want to have consistent, expanding income? If so, make sure you have good delivery and customer service departments that are 100% focused on taking over the completed sale and creating perfect service for every one of your clients. Then get onto closing more and more sales.
For sales management personnel and business owners, make sure the above happens and your salespeople stay focused on selling and watch the “Ups” get higher and the “Lows” get higher and the company have consistent income!
We look forward to your feedback and sharing your success from the application of the above.
It was a little more than three hundred years ago when the only way of communicating with each other was face to face or with elaborate hand writing. In the late 1600’s the United States Post Office was created and now people could mail letters to each other, even though it would take a long time to get to each other. In the past we usually communicated to each other face to face. Business was done at lunch meetings and we flew or drove to meet our clients in person. In this way we felt we really knew each other and could maintain our business relationship.
Fast forward to today, and you can surely see the benefits of our communications advancement with the emergence of the internet and mobile technology and this will only continue to grow. There are good benefits as well as problems that come from this advancement, but whether we like it or not, we all must learn to use the new technologies well if we want to keep up and communicate with others.
Obviously, the introduction of the new technologies, including; cell phones, the ability to text, social media outlets such as Facebook, LinkedIn and twitter has altered the way we communicate with each other greatly as well as the speed in which that communication takes place.
An additional problem the technology has brought upon us is the ability to use it anywhere. I am sure you have all experienced meeting someone for the first time, only to have them be immersed in their cell phone, talking, texting or emailing on it. This exasperates the problem because of the constant interruptions making it all but impossible to have a real communication with each other. Even the face time that we supposedly have is not really quality face time because it is a continually distracted face time.
In the end, there really is no substitute for real live communication between two or more people. However, if the user of the technology controls his use of it well, he can reap the benefits of it without causing or allowing interruptions and/or distractions to enter into his conversations making the one he’s in that much more effective.
Implement a system where you put importance on each one of your communications, whether it is a conversation over the phone, in person, a meeting, a seminar, event etc. by not allowing any distraction or disruption to occur during each of your communications. Insist on this with others as well and get it being used within your entire organization for more effective communication and overall productivity.