Sandler Sales Expert speaks on Selling in a Virtual Environment
Sharon: Hello, everyone, this is Sharon here and I'm here today with Kathleen Winsor-Games. Kathleen is the VP of Sales with Achievement Dynamics and Sandler Training. Hello, Kathleen.
Kathleen: Hi there. Good to see you today, Sharon.
Sharon: Yeah, really looking forward to our conversation.
Kathleen: So am I.
Sharon: So you've got a lot of expertise in your area, and if it's OK with you, I'd love to just jump right in. So, what would you say are the biggest, most important problems that sales leaders are facing today?
Kathleen: Well, that's a really good question, Sharon. I can tell you a few things that we typically hear that we have found over the years to be really common problems that persist even until today, in spite of all our changes in technology. There's a lot of things just around human behavior. And here's what it sounds like. Sometimes sales leaders will come to us and in some cases, they're doing great. And in some cases they will tell us that they're just on a quest to do better, and status quo just is not in their vocabulary. And they're always looking for an edge or something that will distinguish them against their competition and help them boost sales. And they're just not sure how. Other times, some of the problems that we will hear will be from people that maybe they've had other successes over the years, but lately they they've hit a little bit of a brick wall and it'll sometimes sound like frustration that either they or their sales people are chasing too many prospect, get in the middle of what they think is an exciting possibility with someone who sounds very interested in what they're selling or the solution that they can provide. And then they get ghosted and they just they don't know how to how to get them back into the loop. Other times we will hear from sales leaders that their sales people are discounting too much in order to win business, and they're concerned because that's having an impact on profit margins. And then I guess the other thing that is fairly common is the sales leader. They feel a level of anxiety or concern that they don't have a very good system that will hold sales people accountable. And they want to do that in a positive way. You know, sometimes accountability has a negative connotation to it and the sales leaders that we're talking to really don't want that to be the case. And so they're struggling to find a way to put an accountability system together that gets people engaged and inspired and doing their best work.
Sharon: Thank you for just highlighting those really important problems and speaking to them so clearly. So here's my next question. And here we are face to face. But but we are by Zoom. And we've had a big shift this past year and a half with our environment becoming much more online. So, how would you say this virtual meeting environment has really change selling for both buyers and for sales people?
Kathleen: Really appreciate that question, Sharon, we do hear that a lot. At the beginning of the pandemic, we had a lot of people saying you can't close business on Zoom. And we didn't really think that that was the case. And it took a lot of conversation and education and a lot of digging into what were people's greatest concerns about that, why they were struggling with that. And as we moved through it and people realized we're not just in a shut down for a couple of weeks or even a couple months, a lot of people started experiencing a bit of a mind shift and at least our clients did that. There are certain best practices that they could put into place on Zoom. And here's just one thing I think you'll find this really interesting; what we learned pretty quickly is that if even the salesperson had their video on an assumed call where they were talking with a buyer or prospect that increased the rate of closing by 30 percent. Wow. And a lot of it, of course, as you know and as anyone listening probably realizes, there are these elements to our communication. And oftentimes we think our words are the part that matter the most. And, of course, what we say is very important, but it's also the body language, facial expressions and our tonality pacing. And the more that we help our clients to dial into listening and really getting active and engaged in their listening with that other person, the better that they would do getting things moved through the pipeline and eventually closing that business.
Sharon: So important and, you know, as we're all seeing, even as the country is reopening, a lot of businesses are continuing to work virtually because they found a lot of advantages to it. So it's for sure not going anywhere. And really great to have some tips and some understanding that it can be very successful.
Kathleen: Well, I think you're right and you make such a good point. It's virtual selling and virtual meetings are here to stay. I think, as you pointed out, people have found that there are distinct advantages and many companies are saving money in their travel budget by not training on an airplane as often or even just the time that we save, not going across town. And it could be an hour, a couple of hours driving. And I think what people are doing is they are right now, I think they are seeking what is the right balance between the virtual meeting and the in-person meeting. And there is no doubt in my mind that meeting in person makes a tremendous difference. And I think it's all about discovering what's going to work. And maybe you have one meeting in person once you've established some level of rapport and maybe you've established, hey, there's enough here that both of us feel we should have a further conversation and maybe it's worth your time and mine to get together, meet in person, do a little bit of discovery together and see if at the end of that meeting, is there something there, and does it make sense to continue our conversation. And then we go back to the zoom call.
Sharon: Yeah, I love that. That was a great example. So when people are reaching out to Achievement Dynamics, Sandler Training, what are maybe two or three of the top problems that salespeople are asking for your help with.
Kathleen: Good question, thank you for that. Well, I think sometimes people feel that they have no control over the situation. So we'll hear from sales people who are really frustrated that they're not getting people to call them back or that they're being asked to make a lot of presentations. And we're really concerned that they're wasting time doing too many presentations and maybe doing a lot of unpaid consulting, only to find that what happened is that their prospect went with the competition. So those are a couple of the things that we hear about on a regular basis. And nobody wants to waste their time chasing people who don't call them back. And they certainly don't want to waste their time sitting down in a meeting and doing an in-depth presentation or a proposal that gives away a lot of information and tells people a little bit about how to do it for themselves, only to have them walk away and take the competition's bid because it was lower. So, some of the things that we're helping our clients do, is how do you get ahead of that? We think of that as sort of the buyer seller dance and we help people put a system and a process in place so they know where they're at in the process. And they have equal stature with the prospect or the buyer, but they have a systematic approach to uncovering is there a big enough problem to solve and are we even a fit? And it's a really smart process to go through because you keep equal stature throughout and by employing active listening and going in not to convince, but to discover, to really discover whether or not there is a good fit here or not, because you may not be a fit and it's OK to discover we're not a fit as long as we do it pretty early in the process and we can just respectfully agree with each other. It's OK, not a fit. Maybe there's another resource that's better and we haven't wasted one another's time and gone through a very lengthy process to get to that decision together.
Sharon: Yeah, well, so that we don't go on too long here. I'm going to wrap things up, but I, I do know you have so much knowledge and so much experience and there's somebody watching this video thinks they might benefit from asking you some questions or just having a further conversation with you. What's the best way for them to reach out?
Kathleen: Well, we're very happy to set up a brief initial conversation. If someone would like, they can reach out to me by my mobile number, which is; 303-522-4143 or we can share my email address and happy to help people by sending them a calendar link and they can set up a time of their choosing at their convenience. And we can start with a simple 10 to 15 minute phone call. Doesn't mean we're going to work together. We can just get acquainted a little bit. And at the end of that, we would just see if it makes sense to talk further or not.
Sharon: Perfect. Thank you so much for your time today, Kathleen. It was an honor speaking with you and wishing you well.
Kathleen: It's my pleasure, Sharon. Thanks for having me on.
Sharon: All right. Bye bye.