As part of our Masterclass format, 13 participants had the opportunity to join an exclusive sales training workshop with well-known industry experts Jens Hutzschenreuter, Georg Volwahsen and André Ottlik. During several sessions, the participants gained valuable insights into team-scaling and sales-psychology, and worked on choosing the right lead-gen and crm-tools using best practice examples.
During the eight-week program, the group discussed obstacles in the field of sales, did a lot of networking, and learned to appreciate the exclusive insights from our experts. Now, we give you three exclusive hints by our Program Director Jens Hutzschenreuter.
Hack 1: Create a Sales Management Checklist
Can you tell how well your sales talk went and whether the customer is going to buy your product? If your response ranges somewhere between “maybe” and “don’t know”, you should follow Jens’ step-by-step manual for your future sales talks. With the help of your manual, you can define key elements in the interviews:
- Take Your Time for the Introduction
Most of the time, your are probably stressed out during the conversation. Which is why you want to get the introduction quickly over with and get to the point. But that’s the wrong strategy. Make the conscious effort to introduce yourself and to explain to your customer the goal of your talk. That’s important! Whether it’s a cold call or a demo presentation, a good introduction sets the tone for future collaboration.
- Ask Questions
Don’t submit your conversational partner to a torrent of information. Try to let him talk as much as possible. Rule of thumb: You talk ⅓ of the time, the rest of the time you let the potential customer talk by prompting him with questions.
- Make Your Elevator Pitch
When you present your elevator pitch, it must always be concise and without errors. That’s the most important aspect of your sales talk.
- Demonstrate Your Product’s Usefulness
Show your customer what they gain from your product or service. Always put yourself into your conversation partner’s position.
- Check the References
Ask yourself the following question: Have I used enough references during the presentation of our solution and have I used good examples? Only with relevant examples will the customer be able to visualize what your solution is doing and how it can help them.
- Pronunciation matters
Focus on speaking clearly and understandably. Pronounce with precision, a slurred pronunciation just distracts the customer. Remember that ¾ of all signals are transported by the manner in which we say things and not by the actual content. Clear pronunciation gives you a huge advantage.
- Refute Objections
Always let your conversation partner finish their sentence before responding. Don’t defend yourself the moment the customer voices an objection. A diplomatic response to an objection could be: “Of course, from your perspective / with your current information I can understand why you would assume that position”. Then, repeat the objection back to your conversation partner as you understood it. That way, you can avoid any misunderstandings. To really refute any objections, you need to come extremely well-prepared. Usually, you can expect to hear 10 to 12 real objections within one conversation. Prepare for all these possibilities. A good way to prepare: write down possible answers and rehearse in advance.
- Challenge the Customer
Check if your customer is able to keep up with your explanations and if they are fully paying attention. If necessary, ask directly whether they are still interested in your product or service.
- Explain What Happens Next
Define clearly what the next steps are. Inform your customer when you are going to contact them next and, if necessary, schedule your next talk during the conversation.
- Take Your Time for the Introduction
See every sales interview as part of your learning process. Collect detailed insights into the needs of your customers. From there, you can formulate learnings to share with your team.
Hack 2: Choose the Right Sales Process And Stick With It
There are around 15 to 30 different methodologies in sales. These are two of the most well-known methods which you should absolutely know about so you can adapt them for your team’s purposes.
SPIN provides sales experts with a framework that optimizes sales interviews and lets the experts match the potential customer’s needs and wishes with the product they are selling. SPIN is a powerful tool but also very time-consuming; its made to get as close to your customer as possible.
SPIN covers questions that can be sorted into four categories:
Using this method, you can demonstrate that you are truly an industry expert in your field and challenge your customers during the sales talk. Be always kind to your conversation partner but state the position your are knowledgeable about clearly. Compared with customer-focused SPIN selling, you position yourself differently.
Even if no sales process is perfect and every process needs to be scrutinized and adjusted to your situation, you and your team can avoid mistakes right from the onset:
- Leave the steps in your process open for interpretation and scrutinize the individual steps regularly.
- Focus on one sales method in your process.
- A sales process is always a “work in progress” and must be regularly adjusted based on the experience you gather during your work.
Hack 3: Develop a Sales Process
Developing a sales process that fits you and your team can be a difficult task. Draft an overview to understand which steps require which action and which actor – either you or your customer. Document the individual steps. Only that way you will be able to understand which steps require which core activity and who is supposed to execute that step.
Then, ask yourself the following questions:
1.What are the customer’s key activities?
Define the individual phases of your sales process correctly and in accordance with the respective activity. Let’s take the initial meeting – what exactly happens there? Which actor must accomplish which activity during that phase? If the phases have unclear designations, the whole process becomes diffuse. The designation of each phase should be action-oriented and be named for the core activity of that respective phase.
Example: “Offer was sent” or “customer has signed xx”.
As an exercise, try to list three to five actions per sales phase. During the next sales talk, observe these actions closely and look what happens during that phase. Does the action correspond to the phase’s designation? If not, re-name the phase.
2. What are the seller’s key activities?
Define three to five key activities that you must perform to either close the deal or lose the deal. Always write down the specific key activity in your CRM combined with detailled information as to make the whole process transparent.
3. Which phases require which key KPIs?
Ask yourself how certain activities and KPIs in your sales process can be measured and check possible metrics. Try to define one representative KPI for each core activity. Three to five KPIs per phase are an useful number.
Example: “xx offers were sent” oder “xx cold calls were made”.
4. What are the exit critieria?
Always ask yourself what needs to happens so that the deal can proceed to the next level. Define exactly at which point a deal can move to the next phase. That way, you actively optimize the pipeline and leave less room for discussion or misinterpretation.
5. Which aspects do we document in the CRM during the individual phases?
Coordinate with your team and define together which fields must be filled in in your CRM sales overview and which information must be provided for each obligatory step.
6. What are the sales hacks for the individual phases?
There’s an optional step you can take to help you and your team optimize your sales activities: compile a list with your individual learnings. In that list, you can collect insights from your sales talks for the individual phases, or possible resources that you can provide your customers with. Share your learnings and combine them into helpful guides later.
About the Program Manager
Our Sales Masterclass Program Manager Jens Hutzschenreuter brings 15 years of experience in B2B marketing, sales, and in leading positions to the job. At the moment, he is a Managing Director at the Digital Business Group and responsible for personnel consulting at Sales Potentials. He is passionate about sharing his expertise with B2B sales teams. His advice about sales and software is always actionable. On top, Jens is an experienced angel investor.
More Insights Into Our Sales Masterclass
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