The existing training methodologies do not explain or fully take into account the human characteristics of the people who actually make the purchase decision. They concentrate on the logical and procedural aspects of the sales cycle. In short, they offer frameworks that are limited to the “tangible” processes of the sales cycle. These may include the basic questions a salesperson commits to memory, such as, “What is your budget?” and “What is your time frame?” Other programs emphasize the business benefits and financial justification of the salesperson’s solution. They explain how to create a return-on-investment (ROI) model in order to show customers how much money they will save by selecting their product. However, every company supplies their own ROI and extols their unique benefits. Therefore, how do you stand out from the pack?
Somehow, “successful” sales training has become associated with a thick binder of material the salesperson lugs home from the class (never to open again). The classroom experience is based upon rote memorization of facts. There is very little interaction, exercises, or meaningful conversation about the difficult “real-world” obstacles that need to be overcome. The training classes are pre-packaged sessions that are taught the same way over and over again regardless of the audience’s unique situation. The goal is get through the material, not to learn how and where to win (and the skills needed to do it). In reality, every training experience should be a one of a kind unique experience because every company occupies a different position in the competitive landscape.
Most importantly, today’s customers are smarter and savvier than ever. Technology has become a way of life. Our cars, appliances, and recreational toys have become computerized tools. Via the Internet customers can research products, prices, and opinions. Collectively, this has raised the level of sophistication (and skepticism) of the customers we must converse with and sell to. Today, the balance of power is definitely in the hands of buyers and the situation will only continue to get worse. Unfortunately, most training programs assume customers are the same as they were ten or twenty years ago.
Your competitors have not sat idly by either. They’ve educated themselves about your products and sales tactics, and they’re more focused on defeating you than ever. Fortunately, they still believe in the use of brute force and think the best way to defeat you is by frontal attack, when in reality, winning over the hearts and minds of customers carries the day.
For all of these reasons, a new generation of sales training is needed. Sales training that understands information-savvy buyers, acknowledges competitive realities, and offers entirely new language-based strategies to influence key executives during the sales cycle. The answer is clear -- all sales training should include Sales Linguistics-- the study of how the customer’s mind creates and interprets language during the decision-making process.
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