The Sales Coach Richard White 2015

I found myself near a wonderfully modern library boasting one million books. How many do you think were on Sales?

Sixteen.

The heart sinks.

Actually, it’s slightly worse. Only fifteen. Because one book had the honour of two copies.

Naturally, I was keen to pick out the doubly-featured.

I do have a problem with these all encompassing how-tos which claim to give coverage of the entire subject.

Reading the very first page (“meet the coach”) my alarm duly honked. The author stating that they are “a Certified Master NLP Coach”.

Thumbing through, I lament to report nothing extraordinary. I appreciate to craft a volume which acts like a student course syllabus can be straightjacketed and rendered impractical. Especially as in this case. When it must keep in tune with a range of such “Teach Yourself” instructionals to which this belongs. Yet by way of illustration, here’s a trio of sample ‘lessons’.

With an ear always perked for such ‘insight’, here is a brief synopsis first of Chapter 6 of 17; cold calling.

First up. Score yourself 1-5 on the self-assessment criteria:

I have designed my campaign before calling

I always have a compelling business reason for making a call

I script my introductions

I have scripted answers to each likely response

I practice my script before making any important calls

Not a total train-smash but misguided nonetheless.

Then understand the “mistakes people make when cold calling”.

These omit to discuss procrastination, avoidance and distraction. Let alone targets and objective setting. Instead we again have a list that whilst honourable, continues to fall short of underpinning quota busting performance:

No compelling business reason

Sounding like a sales person

Asking for a face to face meeting (as opposed to say a further ten minute phone call)

Lack of scripting

Avoiding gatekeepers

We then get close to quality, with the core of the “compelling business reason” cited as;

“…you want to know two things;

1. Do they have the business problem?

2. Do they want to fix it?”

Before we finally see a sample “introduction script” followed by a collection of five response scripts to the common, (fob-off, pats) objections.

This call intro by the way, is recommended to be 15 seconds, which equates to about 40 words. Here is the author’s:

Hi, my name is Richard and I am calling from The Accidental Salesman. We provide business development masterclasses for consultants and trusted advisers and I just wondered if you are open to fresh ideas in relation to winning more business.

Oh dear. Secondly, from “making your proposals more compelling”, chapter 10. How about these six for “the structure of a compelling proposal”;

  • What’s it all about?
  • What’s the problem and why should I care?
  • What do you intend to do about it?
  • How much is it going to cost me?
  • Why should I trust you to fix the problem for me?
  • Where do we go from here?

I despair…

Finally, I can’t help but show these three bullets from Chapter 11, ‘concluding the sale’. We begin and seemingly end with these “trial close” questions, because “you do not need to use any fancy or manipulative closing techniques…;

Would you like to go ahead?

Shall I book you in?

Do you have any questions or would you like me to organise the paperwork?”

Like I say, soup to nuts manuals are tricky to write, yet this one falls down the trap of many if not most if not virtually all such efforts.

Language textbooks no longer begin with how to conjugate a verb coupled with declension of various related nouns. So why do such Sales book insist on repeating this same flawed back-to-front, upside-down approach?

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