So, I was invited to attend an internal workshop recently, and I was amazed at the discussions that were taking place. Julian, my long-standing coaching client, had arranged an internal workshop for three of his newest employees. Julian, and his wife Nancy, have been running and building a small company that generates introductory sales meetings for executives and business owners associated with the construction industry.
Julian called me because he wasn’t clear how he should introduce their new telesales executives into their business without losing any of their positioning and standing in the telesales industry. So, I became part of their initial sales training programme. So, unchartered territory for them and me.
But they had the advantage, in that they were a family business that were all on the same side and the same page. But before I give you the good news, I need to let you in on the back story of this project.
Julian and his close family members had built up a thriving business. They were helping all their clients to connect with people who needed to promote their services too and they were doing an amazing job. But Julian wanted to expand, and so that meant taking on people who were no longer family. A concept and step he felt very uncomfortable with.
If they got it right, they could scale their business smoothly and productively. However, if they get it wrong, they could lose a significant number of loyal clients and not generate enough new client to compensate. So, there was a lot at stake.
At first, they had tried several things themselves, but somehow, they didn’t work. Don’t ask me what didn’t work because I’m informed that the list is endless and very costly.
They tried and they tried again but unfortunately, they couldn’t get the results they were looking for.
However, the workshop seemed to change everything. It helped everyone concerned to move in the right direction. We focused on what these new telesales executives needed to understand and appreciate.
One of the major learnings was: these new people didn’t really appreciate where their prospects were in terms of the buying cycle. So, we did the right thing and concentrated in the workshop on that problem. The ultimate results were amazing because within four weeks of the workshop the firm’s results had doubled on all levels.
So, the big issue was that these new employees didn’t really understand where the prospects were, in terms of their understanding of their problems, and how important it might be to solve them.
So, in the workshop we produced several insights. We got them to think about their prospects in a different way and to understand where they are at, so the telesales executive could talk to the prospect in relation to their level of their interest.
Our findings went as follows:
Stage One: ‘Unaware or of no interest’.
These prospective clients don’t have any idea that they have a problem or if they did it wouldn’t be important enough to sort it.
Stage Two: ‘Aware that they have a problem’.
These prospects think or know that they have a problem but are not quite sure whether it really affects them sufficiently or they need to do anything about it.
Stage Three: ‘Aware they need a solution’
These prospects know they have a problem and are confident that there is a solution to their problem, but they are not sure who can supply an appropriate solution.
Stage Four: ‘Very Interested’
These prospects are very interested in what can be supplied and may already have taken some positive actions.
Stage Five: ‘Hot and Evaluating’
Theses prospects are evaluating and trying to justify engaging a service.
A word of caution here: It could be that people in Stages 1-3 are the prospects you really want to be concentrating on and talking to.
Because if you get into a conversation early with them you might be able to shape their thinking at an early stage, and consequently, they will probably be appreciative of any help that you give them which may lead them to see you as the obvious supplier.
We then helped them to generate a list of sentences that were both positive in context and would give prospects the necessary support and encouragement to move the sales forward:
- Thank you for waiting.
- May I help you?
- Let me find out for you.
- The investment you are thinking about is….
- Did you say you were thinking about improving, modifying, amending or upgrading your…?
- I suggest we….
- I’m sorry, I don’t know, let me find out for you and I will come back to you shortly with an answer.
These may all seem very simple, but how often do we use them?
At the end of the workshop we were all spent! It had been a long, yet productive, day.
But now the company is much better off because it has several new employees that who can identify where their prospects are at in the buying cycle; have more understanding of what to do and say; and the company has a set of training criteria they can use on repeated occasions.
So, what is the takeaway here?
Well, as small family businesses grow, they need to bring in new talent. That talent is not always okay or experienced in the subject matter, but they might have the right attitude. Remember the saying: Hire for attitude and train for skill? So, we need to help guide them so can contribute to the cause!