Simple Sales Tracking Blog

How Professional Are Your Sales Team?

Over the last few months we have been looking at the importance of developing a great presentation through preparation, planning, developing a great questioning process and how to ask for the business.

All this theory sounds good however the challenge for many salespeople is they believe because they have been in sales for many years there is nothing new they need to learn, after all they have “x” number of years of sales experience. What they tend to have is one years sales experience repeated “x” times.

Steven Covey talks about the need to constantly “sharpen the saw” as one of the 7 habits of successful people. What he is talking about is taking time for personal and professional development.

Many professionals are obliged by their professional bodies to invest so many hours each year in these areas.

The definition of professional is: Member of profession. Somebody whose occupation requires extensive education or specialized training and a high standard of ethical behaviour.

Salespeople can certainly differentiate themselves by becoming professional at what they do.

I often ask teams I work with who their favourite sales author is. More often than not I am met with a stony silence – interesting.

I was reading an article by Dave Kahle a renowned sales trainer in which he states that in his experience only one in twenty salespeople he had worked with had spent $25 of their own money on their own improvement in the previous 12 months.

The point I am driving at is in today’s selling environment only the most professional salespeople will survive and do consistently well.

If we look at the most successful people in business and spot one of the commonalities they have it is they are constantly seeking perfection in their chosen field through personal and professional development and practice, practice, practice…

One of the greatest myths about the sales profession is the salespeople can learn on their own out in the field as long as they have good product knowledge. Hence the focus in many companies on product training with sales stills training tacked on the side.

You wouldn’t hire someone and immediately put them in charge of a $200,000 machine and yet many companies put reps on the road with minimal sales processes and skill sets and send them off to see prospects that could have a lifetime value of $200,000 plus.

There are very few “natural born salespeople” in this world – 95% of the most successful salespeople have been professionally trained and follow a process.

The majority of untrained field salespeople perform at a fraction of their potential because of lack of systems.

I used to be a keen shooter and one day I dismantled a gun to thoroughly clean it. When I began to reassemble it there was a spring system that wouldn’t go back in. Being the determined person I am I spent hours working on it and after days of frustration I gave up and took it to the gunsmith who reassembled it in two minutes!

The point is he was a thoroughly trained professional whereas I thought I knew what I was doing – so it is with many salespeople who have learned on the job.

I will continue with this very important topic in my next article.

Quote of the Week –

You are what you are and where you are because of what’s gone into your mind.
You can change what you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind.
Zig Ziglar

Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Sales Impact Group Limited

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, ,

Whose Perception Counts Anyway?

We have been looking at why asking the right questions is so important in the sales process – well here’s a question for you.

How can you tell what your prospects are actually thinking?

The answer is simple – ask them good questions and they will give you all the information you need to help them. Wasn’t it Freud who said “If you ask enough questions the truth will eventually come out”.

It’s vitally important that you know what your prospects are thinking – what their problems and needs really are, and what’s important to them – so you can tailor the best solution for them.

If you want your prospects to think about the convenience your product or service provides, ask a good, open-ended question about that topic. While the prospect is talking, you know his/her mind is focused on that topic. When you want to focus the customers mind on something else, ask a question on that new topic.

Never ask a buyer any questions about a subject you don’t wish them to think about.

This may sound obvious however many salespeople ask questions about current providers and budgets. What happens in the buyers mind when they think – we have spent our budget this year?

Think of questions that will enable you to uncover your prospects’ wants and needs and potentially give you the opportunity to sell him/her your solution(s).

The best sales questions to ask prospects are the ones that get your prospects talking.

Once you ask your questions you can employee your ears before you engage your mouth. Your questions put you in to an automatic listening mode. Not asking questions gets you, the wrong person, talking too much.

Being a good listener is the fastest way to increase your sales – it also happens to be the best way.

No one ever listened their way out of a sale.

Guide to Preparing Good Questions

. Be sure your questions are open-ended. You’re not a lawyer. You’re an explorer. You won’t learn much when you ask yes/no type questions. Remember your goal is to get your prospects and customers talking.

. Be sure your questions are personalized and tailored to the person you’re talking to. A good question shows interest and reveals your concern for the buyer’s current situation.

. Great questions also help create trust and rapport

. Prepare your questions in writing. A really good question starts in your mind and ends up on paper. If it’s not on paper you can’t make it better.

. You can make every word count by eliminating all unnecessary words from the question you are crafting. Make sure every word in your question adds value to the questions.

. The right questions can demonstrate your understanding of the prospects business and build great credibility for you in the prospects eyes

. Focus on brevity. If you want to be clear, you must be concise. Less is always more when it comes to a carefully worded question. Short and sweet is better than long and sour.

. Unfortunately, what most salespeople don’t get is, your choice of words during a sales call is even more important hence the need to pre-plan your questions.

. Its no use having the right answer if you aren’t asking the right questions

. Remember – Never tell a buyer anything you can ask them!!!

Quote of the Week –
“If you are speaking and not getting a reaction, well you are just making a speech”
Author Unknown

Have a successful week!


BRETT BURGESS is a sales trainer and programme developer for Moss and Associates International.

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy,


Simple Sales Tracking is web-based sales CRM software for the tracking, analysis and forecasting of individual and team sales pipeline and contacts.

Built with simplicity at its core, focus is kept on key sales tasks, while eliminating unnecessary ones, helping to ensure buy-in of the entire sales team.
Go to