Sales Coaching Tip – The Key to Selling More in Less Time

Sales Coaching Tip – The Key to Selling More in Less Time

Last week I got an email from someone who wanted to sell me his services. The gentleman, let’s call him Marius, requested 15 minutes of my time for a phone conversation. I agreed and responded with an afternoon timeframe when I would make 15 minutes available. (I’m working on my next book so I thought I was being kind to make time when I have so much on my plate.)

Then his Outlook Invitation arrived for 60 minutes of my time.

Are you thinking what I was thinking?

It raised several questions for me. Was Marius intentionally being deceptive about time? Was this the kind of habit I could expect if I bought his services? If I did agree to speak with him for the original agreement of 15 minutes, would he stick to the 15 minutes or would he try to stretch that time at my expense?

Side note: Sure, Marius could have made a mistake with the Outlook Invitation. If I took that approach then I, the prospect, would be accommodating a salesperson who demonstrated that he isn’t good with details. Some might call this enabling.

The Outlook Invitation made me question if I even wanted to speak with Marius.

To me, Marius’ choice of quadrupling my time investment is a symptom of future possible communication issues with him. It wasn’t a good foot upon which to start our business relationship. Trust is the foundation of business relationships.

With this in mind, when you coach your salespeople, remember to include discussions about what your salespeople are doing to earn greater trust with their prospects.

I’d also suggest that you coach each salesperson on their Trust-Building Strategy. This might include how they:

  1. Demonstrate respect of their prospects’ time – this can involve the length of their emails, how they handle their sales conversations when it looks like they might go overtime, the matching of their requests to agreed-upon timeframes (unlike Marius), and so on.

     

  2. Focus on understanding their prospects – this could involve the quality of their sales questions, their sales conversation strategy (are they focused on helping?), how they ensure the information they share is most relevant to their prospects’ needs, and so on.

     

  3. Show they have their prospects’ best interests in mind – this might include the nature of their sales questions, their focus on helping their prospects find solutions that will make them successful, the way they position their products, and so on.

When you help your salespeople develop and fine-tune their Trust-Building Strategy, you set them up for greater sales success. And as a by-product, they sell more.

If you are wondering how things turned out with Marius, here’s the rest of the story: I gently but directly declined his request for a phone conversation. Marius quickly responded with an apology followed by the statement that invite should have been for 30 minutes of my time (double the time I agreed to).

Does this imply Marius isn’t a “good” person? Not at all. Does it mean I won’t ever meet with Marius? Probably not. In hindsight, I think I made the best decision for both of us for the moment. Marius got my feedback so he will be more cognizant of his time requests in the future, and, I didn’t enable sales behaviors that I wouldn’t want others to experience.

Marius will enjoy greater sales success in the future and I get to keep my spare time focused on the completion of my next book. A win for him and a win for me (and my readers).

Which of your salespeople are not selling as much as they would like?

What can you do to engage them in developing and fine-tuning their Trust-Building Strategy?

Of the three areas of trust-building listed above, which one is the best starting place for each of your salespeople?

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