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The Get Dangerous Quickly Approach to Product/Service Training

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  • Alan Rigg
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    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2005
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      Article Title:
      The Get Dangerous Quickly Approach to Product/Service Training

      Article Description:
      If you want to produce rapid sales results, redesign
      your product/service training curriculums to help your
      salespeople "get dangerous quickly" with your entire
      portfolio of products and services.

      Additional Article Information:
      497 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
      Distribution Date and Time: Fri Jul 1 04:19:43 EDT 2005

      Written By: Alan Rigg
      Copyright: 2005
      Contact Email: mailto:alan.rigg@...

      Article URL:

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      The Get Dangerous Quickly Approach to Product/Service Training
      Copyright � 2005 Alan Rigg
      80/20 Performance

      In 2000 a computer distributor hired me to help them build a
      software specialist sales team. The distributor had more than 100
      "generalist" salespeople, but these salespeople were doing a poor
      job of selling software. The distributor's management felt a team
      of specialists could help jump-start growth in software sales.

      This was a very interesting project for several reasons. First,
      the distributor had SIXTEEN software products in its portfolio.
      Second, they couldn't afford to hire experienced software
      salespeople. Instead, we needed to hire good consultative
      salespeople and train them to sell all sixteen software products.
      We also needed to write a business plan, get a budget approved,
      hire six salespeople, train them to sell sixteen software
      products, and have them working in the field�within 90 days.

      Sound impossible? It sure seemed that way at first glance; but,
      when I talked to the various software manufacturers, I came to an
      important realization. All of the software manufacturers were
      almost desperately eager for incremental opportunities. If the
      new software salespeople could identify qualified opportunities,
      the software manufacturers would be delighted to provide product
      experts to help turn the opportunities into sales. So, all the
      new software salespeople really needed to learn was how to find
      and qualify opportunities.

      I knew there was no way we could make our new salespeople experts
      in sixteen software products in any reasonable time frame. But,
      we could make them experts in the BUSINESS PROBLEMS that the
      software products addressed. And, we could provide them with
      tools they could use as "cheat sheets" in the field to determine
      whether prospects had those specific business problems, and if
      they did, to QUANTIFY THE IMPACT of the business problems.

      There was just one challenge. The software manufacturers'
      marketing departments were all accustomed to delivering very
      detailed, technical training. No matter how hard I tried, I
      couldn't get them to understand the kind of abbreviated, targeted
      training that I wanted my salespeople to receive. I even roughed
      out a sample training tool (the very first "get dangerous
      quickly" document) and sent it to each software manufacturer.
      Despite repeated conversations and lots of good-faith efforts,
      they just never "got it". So, I developed my team's training
      tools and conducted most of the training myself.

      What were the results? The six software salespeople helped the
      distributor's existing 100 salespeople DOUBLE software sales
      during their first SIX MONTHS on the job! Unfortunately, the "dot
      com bust" hit shortly thereafter, and the software specialist
      team fell victim to deep headcount cuts.

      This project taught me a very important lesson: salespeople don't
      need to be experts in specific products or services to sell them
      successfully. They do need to be experts in the business problems
      that the products or services can solve, as well as how to find
      and qualify opportunities, and how to leverage expert resources.

      If you want to produce rapid sales results, redesign your
      product/service training curriculums to help your salespeople
      "get dangerous quickly". You'll be glad you did!

      Alan Rigg is the author of How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Selling:
      Why Most Salespeople Don't Perform and What to Do About It. His
      company, 80/20 Performance Inc., supplies specialized sales
      assessment tests and consulting to help organizations build
      top-performing sales teams. For more sales and sales management
      tips, visit: http://www.8020performance.com

      --- END ARTICLE ---


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