Long story short.
If you are like me, you are never satisfied with the status quo.
And chances are you do not do well with "happy talk".
"Happy talk" is what well-meaning sales authors, consultants and training "experts" espouse to the masses. Their target audience is salespeople - the majority of which shouldn't be in the noble profession of sales.They mean well.
Sales pundits share pithy boring statements like, "Listening is the ESSENTIAL selling skill for salespeople."
If real salespeople - Sales Wolves - engaged Prospects who POSSESSED the capacity to care about their salesperson's value proposition, the world would be a better place!
At least for shareholders.
Today's selling environment is shaped by two powerful forces.
Force #1 - Most salespeople are order-takers. Other than taking the order, most in the sales profession add little real value to the sale. Instead they take orders.
Listening is essential to the success of order-taking salespeople. Without effective listening skills, order-takers are likely to miss out on an important price-focused need the prospect shares.
Price shoppers who are not listened to will simply go to the next order-taker.
Force #2 - Most prospects are focused price, price, price. Most prospects focus only on price because they are incapable of understanding value.
Price-focused prospects rarely, if ever understand value. These prospects are what we call, "never-gonna-get-its".
Prospects who understand / appreciate value are "get its".
Run towards the "get its".
The 80/20 Rule - The Pareto Principle applied to sales performance.
The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, approximately 80% of the effects come from approximately 20% of the causes.
Take a look at your sales team's performance. If you have more than a dozen salespeople on your sales team it is extremely likely that 80% of sales comes from just 20% of your salespeople.
And because the Pareto Principle applies to practically every aspect of our universe, it is quite likely that just 20% of your Customers bring 80% of your profitability.
Let that soak in.
The truth about Listening.
Listening truly is the ESSENTIAL selling skill for order-taking "salespeople" selling to price-focused prospects.
Can you imagine an order-taker who could not listen?
The only thing worse than an order-taking salesperson is an order-taking salesperson who does not listen.
If order-takers do not listen, they miss the sale. Because that is ALL THEY HAVE!
No order-takers allowed!
I refuse to allow order-takers on my sales team engaging "never-gonna-get-its" when I could have true Sales Wolves CHALLENGING Prospects who APPRECIATE the value that my salespeople are offering.
Did you get that?
Why chase price-shopping prospects with listening order-takers? This is the definition of madness!
The true ESSENTIAL selling skill (for Sales Wolves).
The ESSENTIAL selling skill for sales wolves in the ability to CHALLENGE "get it" Prospects.
But it takes a true Sales Wolf to challenge "get its".
God Bless America, apple pie and PROFITS.
If profit maximization is important to you then you only hire salespeople who are capable of challenging "get it" Prospects who appreciate their value proposition.
And you DO NOT GUESS nor do you trust your gut when hiring Sales Wolves.
Nor do you waste a second training your Sales Wolves to LISTEN when instead they should be CHALLENGING.
Three strategies for winning sales teams.
- Only hire true Sales Wolves.
- Train your Sales Wolves to CHALLENGE.
- Engage only "get it" target personas CAPABLE OF BEING CHALLENGED. Choose target persona(s) who have the capacity to appreciate the value you help them create.
How to know if a particular Prospect is truly a "get it".
Just observe how your true Sales Wolves engage "never-gonna-get-it" prospects. They do everything to get the hell out of the room / off the phone.
Autopsy to identify patterns.