Secrets of Effective Sales Development

There is a resort in Florida that plays a Jimmy Buffet Greatest Hits CD over their outdoor sound system.  It is the only CD they play – all day long – every day.  Can you imagine how the people who don’t like Jimmy Buffet must feel?  And even if you do like Jimmy Buffet, haven’t you had enough after listening to the same two dozen tunes non-stop for 10 days?

“I’ve heard it all before.”

That comment applies to the music AND it can be attributed to some veteran salespeople after reacting to their first day of sales training.  No matter  what you read about selling, not much has changed in the last 40 years. Even my book, Baseline Selling, is based on concepts that go back as far as 1935.  Did I improve on those concepts?  Yes!  But Selling itself is not a new concept.  Sure, I modified, simplified and in my opinion, improved the sales process. I believe my strategies and tactics are an improvement too and while sales support technology has emerged, the essence of selling is the same. They’ve heard Jimmy Buffet before but they’ll continue to listen because his music is enjoyable.  Do you know what happens at the end of the day?  Even the people who aren’t Buffet fans have his songs in their head.  They’re repeating automatically, even at dinner!

So when your salespeople tell you they’ve heard it before they are totally missing the point of sales development.  They’ve heard it but they weren’t listening.  They can’t differentiate between a concept like qualifying – heard that before – and the subtleties of exactly when and how to do it so that it doesn’t sound like you’re qualifying a prospect. When they resist or reject the material, the strategies and tactics NEVER get in their head and they are left with only the concept.  Salespeople who embrace training and development rinse and repeat.  They not only hear it and embrace it the first time, they participate in follow up training (teleclasses, webinars, live sessions, CD’s, Videos, online learning and anything else that supports and reinforces the concepts) until it’s in their heads and they own it.  When the sales process, strategies and tactics are in their heads the process, strategies and tactics will play back automatically.

How does John Lennon fit in?  Most people don’t know this but there is a reproduction of his New York City apartment, complete with his original art, furniture and a reproduction of his white grand piano (signed by every artist that has performed on it).

Even if you are only a casual Beatles and/or Lennon fan, you probably think you know a lot about him.  You’ve listened to his music, read the books and articles, and watched the documentaries.  But until you get the tour of his apartment and the story behind each piece of furniture and art, you have only scratched the surface.  For instance, the very sofa he used to write most of his songs, the one from which he got his inspiration is in the room.  How cool is that?

This ties right into sales development too.  Read the sales books.  Watch the sales videos and webinars.  Until you get the private tour you’ve only scratched the surface.  The following example happens all the time.  It’s time to train and develop the salespeople who have, in all probability, already read my book, Baseline Selling.  I conduct a kick-off during which we might spend several hours bringing just a 4-5 pages to life.  Although the salespeople read those 4-5 pages, they not only hardly remember them, they don’t remember them the same way. “I don’t remember reading any of this in the book!”  Exactly.  You need the private tour to learn about the really good stuff.