Read the third and final installment of the three part series to learn when to give your clients the answer they are looking for and when to coach rather than train them.
Bob, a successful, established and well seasoned insurance salesperson had been a long time top producer for his company. Since the company merger, restructuring, policy changes and compensation plan revisions, Bob needed to start generating new clients to fill up his sales funnel again. While Bob used to spend half his days cold calling, he hasn’t done it in a while, relying more on referrals and the income he generated from renewal business. Yes, Bob was great on the phone and generated a significant amount of new prospects as a result of his recent cold calling efforts. However, it seems that Bob was not able to close these prospects the way he would a referral or an existing client. He was used to people saying, “Yes” without even asking for the sale. Objections? The only one Bob was used to hearing amongst his clientele was whether or not they should write him a check or hand him their credit card.
Now, it seems that every time Bob met with one of these new prospects, he was walking out with a time to follow up with them rather than a sale. Bob wasn’t used to hearing, “Thanks, let us think about it,” or “You’re the first person we’ve spoken with regarding a policy,” and he was especially not used to hearing, “Wow, that sounds awfully expensive.” While Bob did his best to try and convince these people to buy from him, he felt his rebuttals were falling upon deaf ears. To make matters worse, Bob forgot how to actually ask for the sale.
Have you noticed The Gap here? The Gap in this situation is in Bob’s closing technique and in his attitude or philosophy towards closing. Bob is holding on to some limiting beliefs. More so, his tactical selling approach and natural selling acumen needs to be polished to address the new selling situations that he has not had to face in a while.
Training and Coaching Solution:
This is a coaching and training issue. We’ve identified that there are some limiting beliefs getting in his way of taking action. Specifically, salespeople don’t overcome objections, prospects do. Rather than convince someone, which it sounds like Bob was attempting to do, he needs to respond with questions rather than statements so that the prospect can overcome their concern. As such, the coach needs to use well crafted questions and a process of inquiry to explore deeper into his perception of closing and asking for the sale. Does closing mean dumping more information? Is he not asking for the sale for fear of rejection? Finally, Bob needs some hands on tactical responses ready the next time he hears these objections. The training will take care of this, providing Bob with the dialogue and the steps to defusing objections that will turn more of his prospects into customers.
As you’ve probably encountered yourself, handling employee issues typically requires more of a hybrid approach to management. That is, the utilization of all the disciplines we’ve discussed over the last three blogs, including coaching, training and consulting.
This eclectic blend of philosophy and strategy is what today’s leaders need to embrace when developing tomorrow’s champions.
Photo Credit: JD Hancock