The Axioms of Selling Blog

12 Sep by Bob Sanders

According to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, each year more than 30,000 new consumer products are launched and 80 percent of them fail. There are a myriad of reasons for this, not the least of which is that the sales organizations aren’t getting what they really need from new product training so they can, you know, sell the new product!

Unfortunately, most product training often bypasses the important step of teaching salespeople how to have solution-oriented conversations in favor of a features-based approach that sales reps then regurgitate in the field. 

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29 Aug by Bob Sanders

Imagine if a football coach brought a new player onto their team, handed them a playbook, and told them, “Read this and be ready to run all of these plays for our next game, and by the way, the game is tomorrow.” Is this new player set up for success?

Probably not. It’s crazy to expect any player could learn the entire playbook, along with the skills they need to execute the plays, without some solid practice. And yet, this is more or less the approach to onboarding new salespeople in many companies.

Most companies know what they want a new salesperson to learn, but unfortunately, they haven’t put any thought into how the learning will be structured to ensure success.

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10 Aug by Dave Plummer

I lived in Denver when the Broncos won back to back Superbowls. After one playoff game a local sportscaster interviewed John Elway (one of the greatest quarterbacks ever) and asked, "When things looked bad you successfully connected time and time again with Rod Smith [wide receiver] over the middle for the yardage needed. How were you able to do that with such ease?"

I will never forget John's response: "We would have never been able to make that happen unless we had practiced that play over and over." It hit me at that point; here's a guy who has played football for over 30 years, he's at the top of his game, and he still practices his craft. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find any professional athlete who only shows up for the game and doesn't practice. Although there are a few who have that reputation, it also negatively impacts their career and team's effectiveness.

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08 Aug by Bob Nicols

I'm certain many of you can relate to this: After enjoying success as a salesperson, I was approached by my company with a promotion to sales management. From the company's perspective, the logic was clear: They knew me, I knew the company and their products and services, I had a decent relationship with my co-workers, and most importantly to them, I could sell.

For me, not only was my ego stroked, I was planting my feet firmly on the next rung of the corporate career ladder. I accepted the offer quickly. When I asked for a job description, I was told that there were no significant changes in my responsibilities. My boss was very matter of fact. "It's simple. You still have to hit your targets, except now they are multiplied by the six salespeople you're responsible for. And you know those weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports you so hate? Well, you're responsible for those, too."

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20 Jul by Tony Lannom

When a rep pursues a sales opportunity there are four possible outcomes:

  1. They can win and win quickly
  2. Win but the opportunity takes a while to close
  3. Lose quickly
  4. Lose slowly, after investing considerable effort, energy and time

Surely everyone would agree that those opportunities that stay in the funnel for months if not years only to have the customer say the heartbreaking words "we went with someone else" or "we've decided to hold off for now" are extremely painful - losing deals slowly is the worst possible outcome.

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