It never ceases to amaze me how few salespeople ever read anything to help improve their sales, persuasion and influencing skills.
If the answer to that is no then it should be (a book club that is).
I have been working throughout the UK and Europe for nearly 30 years and had the pleasure of working with thousands of salespeople, and it never ceases to amaze me how few of them ever read anything to help improve their sales, persuasion and influencing skills.
In recent weeks alone, I have had the privilege of talking with over 700 salespeople as part of a national roadshow, and less than a dozen admitted to regularly reading up on selling skills (which generally matches my experience across the years and in other industries).
Recognising I am showing my age and thinking maybe it is a generational thing – this obsession with ‘reading’ – I widened the question “what about searching You Tube videos or Googling for articles, blogs etc?” – Nope! Still nothing.
Let me be transparent here, there is a lot of rubbish out there, but there is also an enormous amount of brilliant ‘stuff’. The basic rule is ‘take what you need and leave what you don’t’.
So here is a suggestion and it may also help to boost your sales meetings and create an environment of ‘sales self-development’ – create a weekly ‘Sales Book/Video Club’.
Set your teams individual tasks to go and find an article, blog, book or watch a You Tube video on Sales, Persuasion or Influence. Then ask that they critique what they have read/watched.
Ask that they talk about what is good or bad about the article/blog/book/video and which bits they want to add into their own sales development. Talk about how to integrate it into their own customer interaction and then positively coach and support their effort.
You can do this with the sales department, you could do it with the aftersales department – you can even incorporate it into your monthly management meetings – set people the task of researching modern, up to date thinking, strategies and techniques that could help them and others improve their performance (sales, customer care, management).
Remember, as a Manager, keep your interactions positive, avoid ‘belittling’ any ideas, give people the freedom to try new things (do not indulge in ‘I told you so’ on things that don’t work). Have them feedback later how it worked in practice or what the limitations may have been – encourage them to share their experiences with other team members.
Turn your sales department into a ‘book club’ and then watch how the development accelerates and how much people take responsibility for their own success.
Good Luck and Good Selling!