Sales Tips: Even The Superstars Take Batting Practice
As spring arrives, the weather begins to warm, flowers start to bloom and we a most of us think of two things: Spring Cleaning or Spring Training. I think this is directly affected by one’s gender. For some this may be the “busy season” and for others it may be a slower time of year. And, I realize a lot of businesses have been adversely affected by the economy—it’s just a fact of life. However, one thing remains constant: no matter what business you’re in, you should continue to train your team—in good times and in bad. In fact, I would make the argument that when business is slow—or slower than normal—one should increase the training budget. Why? Because if there were ever a time when you couldn’t afford to lose a customer or a potential one—it’s when business is a bit “off”.
Every potential customer that comes in contact with an untrained or poorly trained salesperson is wasted. You should view them not only as a lost sale today, but forever; because most of them won’t give your company or business a chance to earn their trust again.
You are truly better off not having that potential customer come in contact with your company at all. At least that way, they have a neutral feeling and not a negative one.
So, what do you do?
For one, you should never stop improving your team and their skills.
If you were to grade your sales team today, I’m sure you would have some “A” players, some “B” players, maybe some “C” players and even a few “D” players. (Hopefully, you don’t have any “F’s”). A good training program will keep your “A” players skills sharp and continue to let them grow personally (otherwise, you may very well lose them) and move the others up a level.
For example, you should strive to add your “B” players to the “A” team, your “C” players to “B” and so on. Never stop training. If you find that your sales team “knows everything”, try to find someone to buy your business—QUICKLY!
The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) reports that American businesses spent $130 billion or $1,068 per employee on learning and development in 2008—even with the problems in the economy. I know of some companies that actually committed more to training because of the economy.
Unfortunately, when business is great a lot of mistakes can be hidden and a lot of errors can be overcome. But, business is never good enough to stop training your sales team—no matter what.
Even the superstars take batting practice—and many times they’re the first ones out and the last to leave. They didn’t get to be superstars by accident.
Jack Welch suggests that you fire the bottom 10% of your employees (sales team) every year. While some may see that as a bit drastic, it’s may be necessary in today’s world. If you could replace the bottom 10% (“D” players) with just average performers, you’ve gone a long way to improving your sales, customer service and customer’s experience with your company.