Are your customers campaigning for you?

We can’t get away from it. Networks are investing nearly 1/3 of their time talking about it. Debates have started. From parades, meetings in local diners and handshakes at State Fairs. Yes, the political season is upon us.

So who are you voting for? Chances are you like someone already. Why did you choose them? Perhaps it was issues surrounding some moral issue or financial issue? You have someone in your mind you’ll like pull for. In fact, if you’re like 70% of American’s you’ll tell a friend, attempt to persuade them to your candidate, or even put up a yard sign! You’ll do all of that because of your belief and you want them to WIN!

In your sales territory how easy have you made it for your customers to campaign for you? Do your customers want you to WIN? There are six important items that will make it easy for your customer to spread the word about you in a positive way.

  1. Keep your DO – Say Ratio at 95% or higher. Easy to say and harder to do. Stay on time. Keep your word and most importantly follow up.
  2. Make your customer feel special! Invest the time to get to know him/her. Know what makes them tick both in their business and personal life.
  3. Do the unexpected. From time to time, find that information that you know will help them and send it to them. Use words like “I thought of you when I saw this.”
  4. Become their go-to- person for information and advice. This means that you have to become a great listener, reader and advisor!
  5. Stay humble. Success can taint hard work and humility.
  6. Ask for references. It’s amazing how many of your customers already like you and would tell others if you asked them to. Ask this question, “Have you valued my service this year? Would you be good enough to share that with one friend in the next week?”

Start today getting more and more of your customers to campaign for you. Who knows, you might just win in a landslide!

David Dam is President and Founder of ALTERRAIN. ALTERRAIN develops people and organizations to be more READY, more RIGHT and more RIGHT ON each day!

Why Your Sales Force is Chasing It’s Tail

Jessie was our Lab, our friend, our dog. Jessie died February 11, 2013. The same day as Jackie, my daughters birthday. It was a day I will never forget. The memories she created for our family.

I remember one day when we were just beginning to train her to stay in our yard. We opened the gate to her pen and Jessie ran out, straight for our neighbors yard across the street. In a panic, we began screaming:

“Stopppppp!” Didn’t even twitch her head…

“Stayyyyy!” Galloping now…

“Nooooo!” Full throttle…

“Waaaait!” She slammed on the breaks – literally skidded to a stop – and sat perfectly still until I caught up with her and grabbed the leash.

What the heck happened?

“STAY”, the command which we were teaching her, certainly didn’t work. I hadn’t realized at the time that she was paying more attention to what I was saying and doing than what I was teaching. When I used to take a break from training her, I would simply say, “WAIT. I just need some water.” And so on that fateful day, the power was in her repeated observation of my saying “WAIT” and stopping our forward motion, as opposed to the word “STAY”. The latter inferred that she was staying home and we were leaving without her. Her interpretation of “STAY” made her want to run out the door!

What does all that have to do with sales and sales training?

Simply that regardless of who you hire to conduct your sales training, your salespeople will be told what they need to do. Really great sales trainers will take it a step further and demonstrate how to do it effectively through powerful, paradigm-changing role-plays. Your salespeople may be trained as often as weekly, bi-weekly or monthly (don’t waste your money on quarterly or annually.) Meanwhile, those same salespeople will be exposed to you or a sales manager every single day. Will your salespeople do what they hear once or twice a month or will they emulate what the sales manager suggests through daily sales coaching?

Obviously, if the coaching is consistent with the training AND the sales manager sells the same way, you won’t have an issue. However, if the sales manager sells differently from the process or methodology being taught OR provides coaching that is inconsistent with the training, the salespeople are liable to abandon the new training concepts in favor of the sales manager’s approach. That’s why we require sales managers to get a significant head start prior to allowing their salespeople to begin the training.

Stay = Keep doing what you’re doing if it’s delivering incredible results.

Wait = Hold on. We could be much more effective. Let’s get some help and figure out what we need to do differently.

ALTERRAIN is proud to provide its clients the #1 sales assessment and training platform in the agriculture industry. Our partner OMG and the SEIA (Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis has been named the World’s Best Sales assessment tool 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and we expect the same in 2016!

Your biggest differentiator in your market is your sales force. Contact ALTERRAIN today to learn how you can teach a dog new tricks that last longer than dog years!

What piano lessons and great employee development have in common

My mom taught over 500 young boys and girls how to play the piano. I remember coming home from school and listening to my mom teach the notes, the scales, the fundamentals of how to count bars and then…..then she would observe her students play the music she had assigned the week before. Patient at times while giving great encouragement, led to students playing with more and more confidence with each note. After the song was completed she would give advice and take over the keyboard giving her students a new look at how the song could sound even better. She then asked her students to play it again, and finally before the lesson ended, assigned more practice on the skills necessary to master before coming back the following week. What a system my Mom had! What is your system of developing your employees? Are they sent out to the recital without the sheet music? Are they sent off to an instructor for a few days and then asked to march back home to go about playing the same way they always have? There’s a better approach!

There is a good reason why effective sales training is more important than ever before. As organizations are faced with increased competition, regular sales team training should always be a part of their business strategy. The more training, guidance and encouragement your sales professionals get, the more likely they are to increase productivity, fuel performance and generate bigger results. Even some of your top performers need to upgrade their skills, polish their presentation and keep up-to-date with all the latest developments in the marketplace. In fact do you know if your team is effective at your company’s strategies in the marketplace? Do you know if you could be more effective? If so, how much more? Do you know how long it will take to get your team functioning at the desired level to exceed your goals? ALTERRAIN can help you answer these questions through the World’s Best Sales Assessment six years and counting!

If you are determined to move your organization forward and get a leg up on your competition, embrace our strategies below to achieve the desired progress.

1. Provide regular selling skills reinforcement
Evidence suggests that many sales professionals who go through intense training sessions have a tendency to feel stressed about information overload. It is crucial to ensure that they not only learn everything they need to know about prospecting, lead generation, relationship building, and other strategies, but also retain the knowledge they acquire for an extended period of time and apply their aptitudes in the real-world. That’s where sales skills reinforcement will make all the difference. By constantly reinforcing and applying the new strategies and techniques obtained in training, sales reps will be better equipped to internalize the new concepts, which will invariably lead to positive behavior change and improved performance. Your company must be equipped with the weekly sales huddles and short impactful RIGHT ON on-line modules.

Companies providing post-training reinforcement outpace laggards by nearly a two-times factor. And what happens when companies fail to implement a powerful sales reinforcement program for their sales force? The positive changes brought on by initial training, may have a short-term impact. Before long, some sales reps will invariably revert to their old behaviors which may impede progress and prevent them from reaching their full potential.

To avoid this predicament, sales managers need to put a lot of thought into the post-training phase and help their sales reps strengthen their newly-acquired skills. It is critical that sales managers acquire strong coaching skills and regularly conduct sales skills reinforcement sessions. This strategy should be firmly incorporated into the company’s culture and used as a valuable tool to bolster performance.

2. Customized milestones and content
Mom never taught her students to start at the end of the song and play it backwards. Why is it that nearly 80% of the sales force sell starting at the close and then end frustrated that the song was never embraced by the customer? Processes need to be in place, tied to milestones in the process of prospecting, identifying needs, developing compelling reasons and agreeing on next steps. Mom could tell when her students hit a wrong note. Can you tell when your sales force misses an opportunity?

Bottom line: It’s important to keep in mind that employee development is not a one-time deal. It is not a single, quick-fix event that will instantly boost earnings and transform your organization. To ensure long-lasting results and a competitive advantage, you need to embrace learning and make it an integral part of your organization. The key to success is regular practice, reinforcement, repetition, and coaching, allowing you and your sales force to get the most of every training session and dramatically improve overall performance.

My Mom left a lasting legacy with farm boys and girls who now know how to play the piano. Her teaching was contagious and led to her son David Dam to lead the most differentiated employee development organization in the agriculture industry today. Contact David today.