Sales Training And Human Interaction
Annually, billions are invested in sales skills training. On top of that, millions are spent on books on sales techniques, thousands of articles are written.
People are constantly looking for an edge, “What are the ways I can get by the gatekeepers?” “How do I craft an opening sentence that captures the prospect’s attention and gets me a meeting?” “What’s the best way to handle the objection?” “How do I close the customers?”
In too much of the training on sales techniques, the customer is an abstraction, the object upon which we execute our techniques, bending to our will — at least if we execute the technique properly.
OK, I’m exaggerating quite a bit–there’s a lot great sales skills training and important concepts that help improve our ability to connect with customers. But sometimes, I think we overcomplicate things or lose site of what all of this is about: Basic human interaction.
Selling is about people, interactions between people, how we engage people most impactfully.
Understanding what drive humans interaction, developing our skills to interact with humans, as humans is sometimes lost in all the stuff we wrap around our sales techniques.
Imagine, for a moment, stepping out of our roles as sales people. Think about how we engage people as “civilians.”
The interactions we have with “civilians” are very different. We don’t think, “Which type of question should I ask right now?” “What close should I use?”
Instead, we converse, talk, engage, interact. We are curious, we ask questions that are meaningful and relevant, we probe, we’re interested. We express our own opinions, we may debate, we exchange ideas, we laugh, we convince. Generally, to some degree, we “care” about the person we are talking to–even if only it’s a passing conversation. We gravitate to people we trust, we avoid those we don’t.
Think of the conversations we have with colleagues in our company. We want to accomplish things, we engage them in conversations, sometimes difficult discussions. We collaborate, coordinate, convince. We don’t think so much about our objection handling techniques or how we close our managers in getting support. We just engage in natural conversations.
Through all this–whether they are professional conversations where we are trying to align and move forward on a project; conversations with friends where we may be debating ideas; or conversations with our families; we accomplish things. The conversations move forward, we accomplish things.
Perhaps much of our sales skills training overcomplicates things. Perhaps, we are more effective if we focus on human interactions.
(Thanks to Mike Kunkle for the inspiration on this.)
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