Transformation: Becoming a Selling Organization – Part 1
Don Buttrey introduces us to the transformation involved in becoming a selling organization in Part 1 of his blog on this topic.
“Nothing happens until somebody sells something.” With that simple statement, Red Motley made clear the importance of the sales function to any organization. As a distributor in the supply channel, the importance is even more acute. Selling is your lifeblood. The selling function is a significant part of your activities. Oh yes, operations, service and technical support are essential, but today’s Construction Equipment Distributor or manufacturer must be a “selling machine” where everyone who serves the customer directly or indirectly delivers and communicates (sells) value. When this thinking permeates your culture, it assures growth and profitability. What I have just described is a true “selling organization.”
Leaders; transforming into a team where everyone sells and has a selling mindset will not happen by accident. You must do it on purpose. If you tell people to do the right things and your system tells them otherwise…the system will win every time. This article will highlight three things you can start immediately to indoctrinate this culture into your system: 1) Teach everyone to sell; 2) Sell the house; 3) Standardize your selling process.
1) Teach everyone to sell
This part of the transformation starts at the top, as you might have expected. First and foremost, the dealer principle and top management must be selling experts. Not that they are out on the field closing deals (although they may have key involvement in some accounts.) Yet they must possess sharpened selling skills in order to sell ideas, expectations, tools, systems etc. to the entire team. Sell, not tell! They must also have a clear understanding of value and benefit selling in order to present, market and perpetuate the required factors that differentiate you from the rest of the competition. Only leaders that understand the strategic and tactical requirements of successful selling can direct, inspire, coach and motivate a true selling organization. Visible, enthusiastic support of any selling skills training is a must.
Sales managers must also sell. They must become brilliant in their contribution to joint calls–not to “take over” but to be a model of professional selling skill. As a coach they reinforce the disciplines of professional selling and raise the bar of expectations. It is strongly suggested that sales managers participate in any selling skills training. The purpose of this is not to just monitor and observe, but to be an active part as each salesperson practices and refines their execution.
Of course, front-line salespeople must be masters of selling. Selling is their profession. Each one should strive to become a Sales Professional! Product knowledge, application expertise, people skills, benefit selling, communication skill, strategic account planning, and pre-call planning are just a few of the many skills and tools they must execute skillfully to get consistent results. Intensive selling skill training for these professionals is a given. These are the “highly trained field agents” of a successful selling organization that take proactive action and start the engine.
And please don’t forget that service technicians, customer service, installation, and all sales support must also be trained in selling skills. Granted, selling is not their primary job duty. Yet they are interacting daily with customers and dealing with the tough issues. They encounter an astounding number of opportunities to reinforce value, secure jeopardized business, penetrate and expand accounts, discover hidden opportunities, pass leads, add-on sell and build relationships. Great selling organizations provide these key players with more than just technical know-how or specific job skills. They leverage their integral involvement with customers by adding core selling skills to their regimen of training. With proper sales training they can learn to sell spontaneously and appropriately.