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What Your Training is Missing. ASK!

Company leaders spend thousands of dollars per year on training their salespeople. They invest in all types of training to improve their teams based on metrics, gut feelings, and observations of their team’s performances.

These investments include, but not limited to…

  • Presentation skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Key Account Management
  • Sales Processes
  • Sales Methodologies
  • Customer Service skills
  • Questioning skills
  • Prospecting skills and processes
  • CRM training
  • Cold calling approaches

What’s missing? What’s the glue that holds all of these skills, processes, and methodologies together?

A) Great leadership and B) Participant’s being able to ask for what they want.

Here’s the scenario we see all too frequently:

Salespeople participate in scheduled training as they’re onboard or need “tune-ups.” The training frequency and topic depends on the size of the company, but nearly any organization with a dedicated “trainer” position has a core curriculum of training they’ve invested in. That training provides a level of knowledge in one or more of the topics listed above (what have we missed?).

The challenge:

Training participants go through the content and walk out with new language and processes to be successful, but they simply don’t know how to ask.

Asking is a communication skill that’s talked about but never taught. When did someone sit you down to teach you specifically how to ask for something with your audience in mind? We’re always told “do you want that new customer? Go ask them for a meeting. Do you want a raise? Go ask for it? Do you want a referral from a key account customer? Go ask for it.”

All sound advice, until we need to deliver the ask itself.

With all the training topics out on the market and in that stack of books on your desk (collecting dust?), asking has never been addressed. If your training participants can’t ask for something, doesn’t that diminish the ROI from any other training? How can you get the ROI on your new sales methodology, if salespeople don’t know how to ask?

Asking is a skill that’s commonly buried and raked over with a different topic, like negotiating or prospecting. If you train to either of these topics, do your salespeople use them to ask for a referral? What about asking for a fee increase?

We’re simply making sales too complicated. Thankfully we train this skill, but if you haven’t worked with us (yet), here are three tips:

First, anytime an important prospect or customer situation comes up, simply deliver this question: “What are you asking for next, and why should they say yes?” You’re likely going to discover an opportunity for coaching, and make sure the second part isn’t just about your product or service!

Second, “asks” should be an action that’s measurable versus a question for information. There’s a key difference between asking for something and raising a question. It’s likely your team is significantly better at questioning than asking.

Third, take a step back and look at your training content. What are the important “asks” from your environment and sales field? What’s the outcome if your salespeople can’t deliver those asks with the training material you’ve provided?

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Colin Longren

Colin's "secret sauce" to success is focusing on the 20% of sales conversations that bring 80% of the value to salespeople and leaders. Colin sells, facilitates, authors sales workshops, and expands the business for TMG. He strives to continue to hone his craft and also pay it forward. His favorite sales topic to discuss is Trigger Events and coaching salespeople to understand reasons for a change.