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At a recent breakfast meeting for the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Utah chapter Chris Bijou, CEO of iDealResponse, described how with the rapid improvement of computers, technology and the Internet over the last couple decades, people are far more informed and have easier access to information than ever before.
“This is something every salesperson faces every day,” Bijou said. “It used to be that when someone had a question, they asked a salesperson at a store or a friend. Now, they can spend 10 minutes browsing Google and find a wealth of information.”
Bijou described how with the growth of information, it’s more imperative than ever that sales teams know and understand the best response to any given question posed by a potential or current client. This, however, isn’t the case with most sales teams.
The iDealResponse team conducted research to determine how many sales teams were proficient at both content and delivery when responding to a customer question. According to Bijou, the results of the study were sobering. “We tested one hundred sales teams from companies comprising all the major business industries in the United States. We had each member of the team provide an answer to a basic question they face every day, then had their peers rate their response. We found that of the one hundred teams, not a single one rated at least half their peers as proficient," he said.
Bijou and his team also found some other startling information about sales teams’ conversations and confidence. The goal for each sales team and sales manager was 100 percent proficiency in responding to customer questions. When Bijou asked a group of salespeople how many feel they could confidently answer any basic questions posed by a customer, 67 percent raised their hands. When these same salespeople were asked individually, the number dropped to 30 percent who felt confident. However, when these salespeople were given a chance to prove they were proficient, only 11 percent were able to confidently answer every basic question.
Bijou offered some suggestions for companies to implement that would help increase sales and make their sales teams more efficient: “One of the most important things any salesperson can do is practice the actual delivery of a response to a question or concern. Because of the way the brain works, it will take the average person practicing something seven times or more before they remember it long enough and well enough to use it when it’s needed in a conversation with a customer.”
Bijou also suggested working together as a team and sharing ideas rather than just pushing ideas from managers and executives to salespeople. He said, “Pushing an idea from the top down is slow and inefficient. Even if the idea makes it to the frontline salespeople, most of them will likely ignore or pass on the idea. If the ideas are coming from the teams, however, and everyone is sharing ideas up, down and sideways, companies will find not only are the ideas better received, but the ideas will likely be better than what management can come up with on its own.”
When this happens, employees are not only more likely to implement an idea, but also feel ownership of the idea and the brand, making them more productive salespeople and team members.