We have recently been engaged to train staff on selling a new product range. This is not just a new addition to their existing range but a completely new line that requires the staff to not only have a comprehensive understanding of the product on offer but to grasp the very different cross-sell and upsell techniques needed to move the product.
I just wish more companies would take this approach.
How many cafes do you go into and the coffee and counter foods are moving at a great pace; but their are shelves of merchandise quite literally gathering dust and sitting on the books until they expire and are pushed out in a bargain bin. Very similar products but they need a different sales pitch and selling skills than shifting your standard cup of latte.
You also see this in companies that change from a consulting model (based on selling your time) to a product based model where you are selling a pre-packaged deliverable. You would think the sales skills required would be the same, but nine times out of ten the sales team will struggle to convert from selling time to a product based approach creating confusion for everyone, especially the client. It doesn’t make them poor sales people; it does mean that no one has recognised that sales isn’t necessarily a one-size fits all solution. Different kinds of products, take different sets of skills.
While most sales training programmes do a very good job at delivering the across-the-board skills you need as a sales person, there are certain aspects of selling that have to be company and product specific. Even when you are selling the same product the skills required may be different; selling clothing in a boutique will be different to selling similar product lines in a department store. Not necessarily better, just different.
One of the enjoyable parts of our customised training programme is discovering the hidden secrets to sales success that sit within each company and often go unrecognised. If you can recognise this from first day you introduce a new product line you can immediately start to reap the sales benefits instead of creating a lag while your sales staff catch up – if they ever do.