Answer the Question

I was looking over two conversation threads on LinkedIn this morning.  I find they’re a great place to get a feel for what real people are actually thinking, compared to what the various guru’s have to say.  They’re also one of the best sources of inspiration for content that might be helpful to those who read this blog.

There’s a thread running now on sales training and what are the best courses to take.  Sales success is – in my opinion – about 40% skill and 60% attitude.  You must have both and I weight it towards attitude.

One of the hallmarks of a good attitude, is that you will – as a rep –  actively seek out the skills you might be missing.  Using a simplistic example,if you’re repeatedly running into a brick wall when you connect on a cold call, you would investigate cold calling skills. If you can’t find prospects, improve those skills.  So I would think that a manager who is looking to upgrade the skill sets of their reps need only to ask the reps ( or monitor their reports) as to what areas of skill training are needed.

But its also possible that many of the skills that were so desirable in the past are not really in keeping with this marketplace.  Since its impossible not to read about how prospects, buyers and buying patterns have changed so much are there new skills or new attitude tweaks that will better prepare your team to work with the marketplace that doesn’t seem to want to work with them?

What triggered this question was another discussion on whether or not you should disclose a price on the first call?

Understood that there are many different situations in selling that will affect your ability to accurately discuss price, but this discussion introduced the word “disclose” as in “to reveal information in your possession”.  Pricing information has traditionally been one of the cherries that sales teams would use to gain the information that they wanted from the prospect. Typically, you needed to get them all worked up into a semi frenzy to get their hands on the benefits your product of service would offer, before giving them this information.  Prospects and buyers have always hated that about sales reps.

I’m sure that there is still training going on out there that helps reps hold the buyer’s questions at bay until they wring the information they are looking for from them and I think with the transparency that exists in the market these days that’s a big mistake.

So today’s two cents worth on two discussions would be that the most important training you can make available to your reps these days are the skills and attitudes that will allow them to flex their own style to meet the needs of a rapidly changing buying market.  And in answer to when do you tell them the price?  I think the answer is easy. Its the first of:

  • When you need them to know the price in order to qualify their ability to buy or its the next logical piece of information to offer or
  • When they ask for it.

Because the best way for sales teams to add value and trust to the relationship they want to build is to be the best, fastest and most accurate source of any information that will help a future customer evaluate and advance the sale.

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