How valuable is sales training for a Hispanic business’ sales success?
1. Relationship is still critical when you are trying to make a purchase decision.
When I started my career in automobile sales I was told “85% of customers buy a salesperson and not just a salesperson”. Then when I moved onto insurance sales, there I found myself in a business that was almost completely build on relationship.
It was up to me to follow the training and processes in building relationships with people to find and close more customers
So, the question is can you teach existing or potential salespeople to be good at building relationships, and the answer would be an absolute YES.
In fact, in our experience after working with the tens of thousands of sales people, one of the common factors the very best all have is they are very good with people, and all of them are outstanding and getting to know their customers’ personalities and buying motivations. (The how and why a customer wants to buy).
Is getting to know the customer something that needs to be taught in a sales process that a customer would appreciate in their buying experience, when the answer is a resounding yes. It is also something that a good sales manager must reinforce when working with a sales person.
As a customer, imagine that every time you dealt with a sales person on the purchase of at least the major items in your life, you felt that the person was helping you with your purchase genuinely cared about what you were buying, and was extremely knowledgeable about what they had to sell.
Would this make a difference in what and where you would want to buy?
Of course, the answer is YES, so is the ability to care about what someone wants or to have in-depth product knowledge that you can adapt to the specific needs of a customer something that comes naturally or something that can be taught?
Salespeople who are successful at this are almost always taught this ability. The care part will require their heart to be included, but getting to know a customer, and having a PhD in the products or services you sell is something that must be learned.
2. Product knowledge
I get so frustrated when I find myself in front of a salesperson who when asked about what they sell respond with a “I don’t know, I’m new here.”. What am I supposed to do, decide by searching the web, or tolerate their incompetence mostly caused the employers lack of respect for the customer and leaving them to fend for themselves with a lack of information.
Would you want to visit a doctor who just started medical school?
Imagine stepping into emergency, you are experiencing pain, and you are looking at the doctor for help and they respond with “I don’t know I am new here”, that would be ridiculous.
Yet we step into buy computers, cars, homes, and entertainment systems and often get that type of response.
Sure, we are left to read though hundreds of search choices on Google, but how do we know what information is right, and how do know we are making the right choice. Just because the consumer today has more power of information in their hand with a PDA, does not mean they want to sift through hundreds of searches to decide on their own.
Imagine arriving at the hospital in pain, and discovering that you as a patient are responsible for determining your ailment. I know this sounds ridiculous, and to my point it doesn’t happen because great doctors go through at least a decade of training to prepare them for their customers (aka patients).
So why do businesses believe they can get away with putting people in front of the customer with no information about the product or service they offer?
Then hope to be more successful than the rest. Using a simpler example that the emergency room, who as ever asked a waiter or waitress which meal they would recommend. I love it when I can tell that they have tried the food, and offer up real suggestions.
I like it even more when I order something and they say, “I wouldn’t recommend you order that, because most people find it to … (spicy, bland, etc.)”.
Great Hispanic businesses and others like those I have worked for, invested in training and prepared me for success. Over and over in our business we have been able to prove empirically that training does work to improve sales results, and training works even better when a sales manager or sales leader is there to make sure the training skills are being implemented.
How does a person learn how the business works?
I know that at McDonalds whether you are flipping hamburgers, cooking fries, or taking orders and making change, you were taught EXACTLY how to make that happen. You were also told the right way to do, and that there was no other way.
So, you are saying that the burgers at McDonalds are not that good. It doesn’t matter, their success is based entirely on developing systems to deliver food in a way that would be best for the customer, hot, and taste good. Billions of burgers later, and millions of hours in training, you now have the largest restaurant business in the world, all based on everyone following their systems.
But how does this apply to sales?
When preparing sales people, you don’t just need to make sure they are good at relationship and product knowledge, you must also train them on how to help the customer complete the transaction.
Back when I started selling at a goldsmith show in college, the owner of that business showed me some of the basics in completing an order, how to fill out an invoice, and taught me how to prepare the store every day.
Let me give you an idea of what I was responsible for every day, sweeping the store front, watering and maintaining the flower baskets, vacuuming the carpet, cleaning the glass, and laying out the display.
Do you think he just said go do it, or did he show me how?
This owner understood the importance of proper presentation, so he showed me how, and then inspected my work daily, till it was getting done right.
Then I received training on greeting customers, product knowledge like that of the 4C’s of a diamond, wrapping gifts, and how to inspect jewelry for repairs. My job was in sales, but there was a lot to learn to be able to sell items that were the size of a quarter and yet would sell for tens of thousands of dollars.
His business was built not just on what he sold, but how his business made customers feel.
Once your sales people are ready to complete a sale, how well are they trained to complete an application, use your software, or produce an invoice. I once spent 2.5 hours to just complete the invoice part of my home entertainment system.
Those 2.5 hours were after I spent only 1 hour making my purchase decision on about 20 items.
Do you think I want to go back or am recommending that big box retailer?
I am choosing to write this article because someone told me recently that they did not believe in training for sales people, as they will not stay, and it doesn’t matter.
Hopefully you will see that training is critical to success, as each of the examples are in simpler businesses who often have staff that come and go.
If you are a Hispanic business owner or sales person, make sure you add in training as part of your success formula.
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