Star Trek Sales Training Academy: Crew of Winners (Part III of IV)

In order to traverse the galaxy successfully it is essential that every crew member be situationally aware. It is not enough just to know how to do a job, the job must be done in context of the big picture.  The same is true for the members of a selling team. To make sure that each crew member performs effectively at all times, communication is necessary. Before any encounter with an enemy or possible enemy, the captain will instruct the crew as to the level of force they should prepare to use. Terms such as Red Alert, Full Power to Shields and Set Phasers to Stun are the cadence used by the captain to raise the situational awareness for his crew members. While these terms might not work for your business (unless you are the captain of a star fleet vessel!), you need to create your own cadence to similarly raise the situational awareness of your selling team.....

Red Alert

Understanding the threat level is core to the survival of any organization. What is our competition doing? How do they do it? How do we do it better? What do we have that can be used to counteract their position? What can I learn from my competitor's strengths and weaknesses? These are all essential questions that you must answer.  Just as importantly, you must make sure every one of your employees knows exactly what they are supposed to do and why they are doing it.

I have worked in environments where management was so wrapped up in their tasks that they did not take the time to communicate the big picture to subordinates.  A simple explanation of the overall situation the company is in as well as a reminder of the value of what they are doing, goes a long way to creating an effective sales team. To truly have an effective team, the big picture must be communicated to each person in the organization so that they can put themselves, and their job, in the context of the bigger picture. Corporations often make a huge mistake not sharing a view of the big picture. Once the situation is understood, and the crew stands at the ready, it is time to act with precision.

Full Power to Shields

As we go about our daily activities and the possibility of attack becomes a reality, we must set aside superfluous tasks and enter full defense mode. This situation happens frequently to the sales professional, however, the pressure to maintain selling activities is overwhelming, so the threats keep piling up, exposing us to more and more danger. I cannot stress enough the importance of understanding that success in sales is not always just about what is sold; many times an otherwise phenomenal sales person, is hindered by the their lack of administrative skills. The torpedoes start raining in, e.g., unfiled expense reports, incomplete CRM entries, and sales follow up that need to be completed.

Sometimes, it is necessary to put shields to full power, put the head down and ward off these burdens one by one. Taking the time to follow-up on potential sales, submitting all reports on time, and generally executing on various administrative functions are the hallmarks of a crew that is situationally aware.

Set Sales Presentations to Stun

When presenting a product it is crucial to be aware of how much force to exert at all times and to be mindful of where the sales presentation fits in the big picture. It is not necessary to blast the entire sales pitch on everyone. Vary your message according to who is hearing it. Most importantly, when it is time to set your presentation to kill, make sure you are ready to seal the deal and ask for the business.

Good sales people must strive to communicate the "big picture" as they see it to their customers. In order to do this, they must assess the big picture as it relates to their customer. The sales process, like any journey, can twist and turn unexpectedly. The most successful sales techniques are applied skillfully in the context of the overall business landscape.

So you now have you marching orders:

  • Know your enemy...strengths and weaknesses
  • Know your role contextually in the current situation
  • Assess the threat level then take decisive action

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