If you are a sales professional, it is important to continually learn and improve your craft. The obvious ways to learn sales is either through training, coaching, reading books, etc. And. Did you know that you can also learn a great deal by experiencing bad selling approaches as well? Let me explain…
One of the best ways I learn how to sell and continually improve my pitch is to take note on how others sell. I usually ask my sales training class or reps when was the last time they took a sales call, or listened to a sales rep give their pitch, prospect you, qualify you, send you emails etc. I take notes and collect case studies on effective approaches and great selling experiences from the customer’s perspective. I take note on how I feel during each phase of the sales process. What makes me think. What makes me want to continue listening. And most importantly, what makes me want to reach into my wallet and make that purchase. I usually copy and analyze sales emails and allow those who pique my interest to give me their pitch. Now, I am open and honest with them about my position and where I am in terms of decision maker or if I am interested, but if they are willing to give me a pitch, I am more than happy to listen. I even answer the door for the door to door sales person and listen to their pitch. Believe it or not, being a trainer and love to help others learn sales, I actually asked the door-to-door sales person if I could give him some feedback and some tips on his approach.
Now how about those sales approaches that suck? Well, you can also gain valuable knowledge from those experiences as well. You learn what NOT to do. Take notes. Experience how it feels when a sales rep asks questions a certain way, or just talks too much, never asks questions, closes too soon, obvious that they didn’t plan the call, fumble on their call, have no direction on their presentation, etc. Learn from those experiences, let the salesperson give you their pitch.
Now the only cost to you is time, but I think this is the best way to get the customer’s experience. I am that guy who accepts sales calls. I also copy email pitches and make notes on the ones that are great, as well as the ones that suck. I take that knowledge with me when I sell, and now as a sales trainer, I use the knowledge to train others. Give it a try and “lend an ear”.