As B2B sales consultants and trainers we understand that sales training is not successful unless it produces revenue. I’m a big fan of topics tied to activities at the front end of the sales process because most sellers struggle with setting appointments with new business prospects. Simply put, revenue does not flow if that first appointment does not happen!
Expanding your B2B sales consultant resources to include training workshops is an important thing you should not overlook. Here’s a list of five front of the sales process topics many sellers need help with along with some information about why each topic is important:
1. Quality Appointments
With today’s business people busier than ever, it seems tougher and tougher for sellers to get new prospects sufficiently motivated to carve out a block of time in their busy schedules. To change this salespeople must tantalize the prospect in such a way that they will agree to see them, and grant enough time to have a meaningful call.
Salespeople who ask for only a sliver of time for their appointments—instead of an ample block of time—set themselves up for failure. Because by doing this, they position themselves as unimportant and leave themselves too little time to launch a successful relationship. Tantalizing the prospect before asking for an appointment, in such a way that the prospect will set aside the time necessary for a quality appointment is an important first step in revenue development.
2. Using Better Valid Business Reasons
Whenever clients and prospects are asked to take time out of their busy schedule, they deserve to be told the reason why. Hence, the concept of the Valid Business Reason (VBR).
When asking for the appointment salespeople should always use a VBR—not just the first time they contact a new prospect, but every time they ask any prospect or client to carve out time for them.
Without a valid business reason, appointments turn out to be unfocused and non-productive.
A quality VBR changes the seller’s perspective from why they want the meeting to why a prospect or customer want the meeting and include the following:
- Mention a business need
- Tell the prospect or client what’s in it for them
- Demonstrate the sellers empathy and expertise
- Add some urgency to the process.
3. Sharpening Your Phone Approach
Like a chainsaw, the phone is a very powerful tool. In fact, both the phone and the chainsaw are implements which, if used with proper preparation, precaution, and execution, can produce wonderfully efficient results. However, each of these tools, if used improperly, can bring about disaster of somewhat similar proportions. Every salesperson has a phone that is a little too easy to use... in less than 30 seconds they can dial a number and connect themselves to an important party, or have an opportunity to leave a detailed message on voicemail.
In today’s time-starved work environment, salespeople end up in phone trouble—thrusting themselves into phone dialogue with little or no preparation, in a misguided effort to get more things done. The result is a dull, shop-worn, phone dialogue that fails to tantalize the prospect or customer and makes sellers sound like every other peddler who comes knocking. The net effect: No appointment... or, at best, a poor quality appointment.
4. Writing Effective Letters and Emails of Introduction
Securing high-quality appointments with hard-to-reach prospects or hard-to-reach buying influences within existing accounts is often the number one source of frustration for sellers and managers alike. In fact, getting attention and establishing credibility has never been more important, as key decision makers are pushed (like all of us) to accomplish more and more with fewer people.
Sending a letter or email before picking up the telephone to set an appointment can be a very effective tool. To be effective, a letter or email of introduction needs to be compelling enough to set an Account Manager apart from the rest of the sales herd.
5. Designing a Personal Marketing Resume
A Personal Marketing Resume (PMR) is a document used by world-class sales professionals to communicate trust and value to new business prospects. Experience tells us that a well-written and produced PMR—one that is not self-promoting, but written from the prospect’s point of view—is a very effective tool. Unfortunately, creating a PMR is rarely seen as an urgent ‘to-do,’ so it’s often put off for another day.
A quality PMR includes the following:
- Information that demonstrates a seller’s empathy, expertise and problem solving capabilities
- A summary of a seller’s experience and training
- Endorsements from satisfied customers
- Contact information.
Wouldn’t It Be Nice
Reading these topics may have caused you to think developing a sales training workshop for each would take hours. Who has time to do that? Savvy B2B sales consultants have figured out they can access training kits on many topics via a partner program relationship that expand their sales training toolkit and pay a commission.
You don’t have to go it alone any more to expand your B2B sales training expertise!