When the original founder of DEI – Stephan Schiffman – would get asked how his training company’s approach differed from everyone else’s, he would say this: all the others try to teach salespeople how to sell. We teach them how to go about hitting their number. Underpinning this approach were 4 guiding principles:
1. Success in sales is not only about having selling skills. It’s a combination of a whole range of activities, approaches and moves. Before you ask if your sales team have the right selling skills, look at how they go about managing their own productivity. Essentially, how they spend their time. A salesperson’s routine has a far greater impact on their income, than their skills do.
2. Selling is a poor word for what salespeople are actually being asked to do. (Try defining it sometime!). The job of a salesperson is to manage the prospect (buyer) through a buying – selling journey, against the clock. Selling is mainly about getting reactions and scheduled commitments from buyers. Selling is managing the prospect.
3. We need a language to describe our progress in sales. If two salespeople are working on the same deal, they will typically judge the health and the value of that deal quite differently. That’s why we need a common language across the sales organization, that measures the commitment of the buyers we’re working with. The common language becomes the foundation for a sales reporting architecture.
4. The manager’s number one tool for effective sales management is the committed forecast. No other metric communicates nor identifies progress, gaps, holes and risks as effectively.
Top Sales Teams focus on income-producing skills, and not just selling skills
The DEI approach does not discount selling skills by any means, but until you can show people how to produce more income, selling skills don’t make that much sense. Besides, most salespeople already see themselves as being able to sell. So they remain unexcited about selling skills content, until they can set it in a context of producing more income and winning more deals.
What is far more helpful to a salesperson in terms of generating income is a big picture of their overall progress that tells them how much progress they have made to date, what’s on the horizon, and what they need to do to make their number and move each individual prospect forward. That’s why DEI pioneered the “Board” system, for managing prospects, pipeline, and forecast. The system has been deployed by over 10,000 companies and can be implemented inside a range of CRMs nowadays.