Sales Training = Knowledge + Courage

Courage and KnowledgeAround this time of year, I ask my peers, co-workers and bank executives (both inside and outside the organization) what they believe will make an impact in the new year.  This is a great way to get insight and to make sure I am not missing anything for the coming year.  When the section of either sales or educational development comes up, one item is always mentioned:

Sales Training

I can ask twenty people what sales training is and will likely receive twenty different answers.  Here are just a few items:

  • How to close a sale as fast as possible
  • Ways to improve the sales pipeline
  • Getting a customer to say yes
  • Best Cold Calling Tactics

These are good points and could possible be great training sessions, but all these points tend to leave out the two most important factors in sales: Knowledge and Courage.

When you think about it, sales is about how people communicate with one another.  You can have the best product or service in the world, but if you don’t know what it is, or are unsure of yourself, then how can you sale it?  In other words, sales training shouldn’t be about how to sale a widget, it is about giving your staff product knowledge and providing coaching to your staff in order to build courage.

ScarecrowKnowledge

How can you sale something if you don’t know anything about it?

Product knowledge isn’t a one time training session.  It isn’t an annual meeting.  Product knowledge is an ongoing process that every person at your bank needs.  Here are just a few reasons:

  • Consistency: Conducting a training session is one way to make sure you have educated your entire staff and that everyone is on the same page.  Everyone understands what the product or service is and can be ready to handle any questions customers or prospects may have.
  • Regulations: New federal regulations are constantly being pushed out and inspected.  It is always best to check with the compliance department before conducting any product training.  This way you can educate your bankers about any regulations that are tied to the product you are reviewing.
  • Enhancements: While reviewing a certain product in a group training session, you may find that the product may need to be updated or completely overhauled.  This will not only help improve the sales process, but overall customer service.

Cowardly_LionCourage

You’ve given your sales team the knowledge, now it’s up to them to go out and sale.  Sounds easy, right?

Consider this:

  • Have you ever purchased anything from somebody who came across extremely timid?
  • Have you ever enjoyed working with a pushy salesman?

Most likely these two salespeople suffer from a lack of confidence (aka courage).

For some people, sales can be like walking across a tight rope. If you are afraid to close the sale, people will walk away from you. Be too focused on closing the sale, and people run away from you.

That’s why successful sales training happens “outside the classroom” in the form of coaching.  Coaching is a great way to build confidence because it reinforces positive behavior while improving communication between a leader and their team.  Of course, there is a right way and a wrong way of coaching.

  • The Wrong Way: Looking for every fault and only pointing out what is wrong.  In other words, Wrong=Wrong
  • The Right Way: In short, examining the whole situation.  Praising what was done right while focusing on a mutual understand of how it will be handled better in the future.

Remember, while coaching, you are building courage and confidence in someone, not attacking every little problem they have.

If your sales training is centered around these two concepts, everything else will fall into place.  Customers and prospects will know they are dealing with a person who knows what they are talking about and can make it happen.  This creates an environment where the sales person and buyer are on the same team.  It’s a mindset that allows everyone to come out a winner!

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About Jeremy M. Price
For twelve years, I had the pleasure of working in community banking. Starting in customer service, I worked my way up to a senior level marketing and human resources director. It was great leading teams that improved strategic initiatives including, but not limited to brand awareness, digital communication, employee development and product development. This experience has now led to an exciting role with CRS Data. As the Product Marketing Analyst, I am currently reviewing the company's banker suite product. This product is able to help community banks reach their fullest potential in real estate lending. I am extremely fortunate to share time with my son while enjoying life in East Tennessee. The two of us enjoy the views of the Smokey Mountains, eating good food and having fun. During my free time, I enjoy running races, traveling and listening to great live music.

3 Responses to Sales Training = Knowledge + Courage

  1. mad thrad says:

    Excellent post on the focal points of sales training, Jeremy! By the way, that’s an unusual background you’re using here on your blog. Is that a wall in your area/locale?

    • Thanks, Josh. The background was just added this past weekend. It is a photo taken from an alley in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The building has since been re-vamped and the creative artwork removed.

  2. Pingback: What is Mobile Banking? « JuMP Around

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