I’ve just finished watching an episode of Uncover Boss. A ‘back to the floor’ type format where senior managers come out of head office and spend time ‘undercover’ to see what really goes on in their business.
This week a Director from a major car brand explored aspects of his business ranging from car importing at the docks through to sales and vehicle servicing. It was the sales piece that alarmed me.
Spending time with a graduate sales executive who had been in the role of 7 months, the Director was ’embarrassed’ at her lack of basic skill and product knowledge. Of course, it turns out that she hadn’t been on the extensive corporate training programme that exists and was just expected to get on with it. Thankfully, she had the initiative to teach herself as much as possible and had been taking home car brochures so her Dad could test her.
The reason this resonated with me, was that I still find it incredible that companies are prepared to allow their salespeople to face their customers without any kind of experience or formal training. This clearly risks both the perception of their business and, of course, their bottom line.
We often come across people who have been placed in sales roles with inadequate training and experience and then their managers wonder why they don’t perform. Even major companies seem to think that just because someone is of graduate calibre they will instantly become a great salespeople.
To sell well you need to develop a key set of skills and technique as well as develop an in-depth knowledge of your product and understand how what you have to offer benefits your customer. You are there to help your customer make an informed choice.
Other professions require extensive training and development over many years, but some Leaders seem happy to hand over their selling effort to some of the least experienced people in their business.
All it takes to rectify this is a high quality, relevant sales training programme which is fully supported in the workplace by high quality coaching.
Thankfully, the Director involved in the TV programme recognised this and made sure that the individual received the training she both needed and wanted. He also implemented systems to ensure that salespeople were all trained in a timely fashion before hitting the sales floor.
If you need any help to put together a sales programme for your team, then give us a call.