Obviously, they do. They are giving presentations, working the phone, and closing deals, every day, without fail. You have given them detailed product training and no doubt there is a sales methodology that they follow diligently.
But can they speak? Are they coherent? Do they use proper grammar rules? Are they courteous and professional?
Where Rubber Meets the Pipeline
This hit me hard last week when I listened in on some sales calls at a client. I was, to be frank, appalled with the sales teams’ communication skills.
This problem is chronic in our profession.
I saw the following sins:
- There was no strategy for the call before it started.
- There was no clear opening.
- The messages given after the opening were muddled and undefined. The sales rep rambled like they were walking in the woods.
- There was no clear conclusion that had some stated action – no form of a “close”.
- The sales reps grasp of good grammar was tenuous at best and embarrassing at worst. The conversation was liberally sprinkled with “ya know”, “um”, ah”, and “like”.
- The sales reps often, in their enthusiasm, spoke over the audience and their fellow presenters – oblivious to the signals that are being given by the prospect.
No Convincing, No Close
If you don’t sound confident, don’t give a clear, well-defined message, and are rude, then how do you expect to move the business forward?
In all my years working with sales teams, I’ve seen many organizations offer product training and sales methodology training.
In all my years working with sales teams, I’ve seen very few that worked to develop their sales team’s speaking/presentation skills.
There are many tools available: this does not have to be expensive, but it does take time. A couple of suggestions:
- My favorite approach is to join Toastmasters – fun, inexpensive and highly effective.
- Have each sales rep record themselves, privately, giving a presentation and have them listen to it, to understand how they sounded.
- Roleplay to a friendly low-risk audience of their peers and receive constructive feedback.
Want to bump your pipeline? Want to improve your close rate?
Make sure your sales team can speak.