Sales Values

In the 21st century it is imperative we break sales cycles that are detrimental to the organization and to the sales representatives as well. 

In the first attempt to actively reach a potential client or customer our representatives have been trained, coached, and provided with many “scripts” and “word tracts” all with the intention of getting past the gatekeeper. Sales culture has crafted in the minds of salespeople that the person answering the phone is nothing more than something to get past so they can get on to someone more important, the decision maker. I have sat through dozens and dozens of sales training sessions during which trainers taught techniques that while not outright dishonest were certainly designed to give a belief that was far from accurate.  

These sales trainer advised everything from calling a different department and asking for the decision maker in order to get transferred directly to their office and by passing the receptionist or customer service person who generally answers incoming calls to asking for the decision maker casually by first name to imply the salesperson had an established relationship with the decision maker. As an inexperienced salesperson, I used all the training and coaching, I followed the scripts, and the more I did, the more, I came to hate my job and struggle connecting with customers. 

The truth is that I hated the feeling I got when I was trying to get around, over, or through someone who was simply doing the job they were hired for and were paid to do. I felt dishonest and manipulative, because once I got past the gatekeeper and was speaking to the decision maker my sales presentation leaned heavily on relationship, trust, and integrity. I showed none of those things in my efforts to do what was best for me. 

I was about four months into using those tactics and getting more frustrated by the day when I just decided that I was going to just be me. I decided I was going to be me; I wasn’t going to try to get past someone and I wasn’t going to use fancy sales pitches and scripts.  

The next day, I picked up my phone and I made my first call to a prospective customer, and it was awful! I verbally vomited all over the poor person answering the phone, I did it so fast that I doubt they even heard my name in the aftermath of the verbal onslaught. I got off that first call, I was anxious, I was nervous, I was embarrassed, and I didn’t have a clue what to say to a prospect without the scripts that I hated. I broke my sales cycle, but I did not have anything to use other than just be “me” to operate from.  

The following weekend I locked myself away in the basement and started thinking about me, my roles in sales, and why I was doing a job that I had never done before and had actively avoided for over 10 years. I scribbled notes and brainstormed, I talked to myself out loud and I talked to my dogs. By the end of the weekend, I had something.  

I mean I had something, but I am not going tell you it is the end all and be all of sales development, but it sure helped me change my direction and I still use it today when training new salespeople.  

I created what I called “My Sales Values, the What, How, and Why of me Selling.” I focused on Attitude, Activity, and Accomplishment to define my what how, and why. This process helped create my sales values, once the sales values were clearly defined, I could then identify where I was missing my own marks and make corrections.  

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