Executive Sales Training
Companies spend millions of dollars on executive sales training each year. Businesses are getting better and better at studying market trends and are forever looking at nuances in the business they represent in order to gain a small advantage. As a consequence, competition is fierce. If the differences between products are very slight, which is true in many cases, then the edge in market share may come down to the importance corporations place on marketing education. Gaining the ear of the customer comes down in many circumstances to price, availability, quality and service. Given that those conditions are fairly even from vendor to vendor, a business transaction may be funneled down to the trust in the salesperson on the phone or the account sales person who walks through the office entrance.
Transition acquisition employees enjoy some of the highest income paid per capita of any career choice in America. There is a reason for this. Many individuals start out selling, but end up doing something else. Selling is hard work, and is not for the faint of heart. Thousands of books have been sold that attempt to boost the spirit of discouraged vending employees. Most sales managers have a stack of these books in their office, ready to pass out to the struggling account executive, who is one day from pulling the plug on his/her career because of hitting the resistance wall too many times. To keep staff turnover to a minimum, corporations have learned the value of providing superb corporate sales training, both in the initial stages of employment and as part of a continuing education plan throughout their sales forces' careers.
There are transition acquisition employees who sell products each day by traveling to different potential new customers or to reenlist established relationships in a continuing business relationship. These trading prospectors deal mostly with lower to middle management in corporations, sometimes dealing with department heads, and with franchisees in smaller business ventures or the owners of small factories, etc. These people are usually fairly easy to see, with sometimes a day's notice, or even no appointment at all. The downside for these sales persons is that the ease with which they can get in for an appointment is also the ease that their competition enjoys. In such a business atmosphere where a feeding frenzy can often be the norm, high quality and superior corporate business coaching can help make one salesman stand out over another.
Such training will emphasize different areas of salesmanship, although this discussion is certainly not exhaustive. Learning how to communicate to be heard is a very hot topic. Many educational programs use video communications to teach those tasked with acquiring new business how their communication is being perceived by focus groups. Another topic is knowing the structure of the presentation, from opening to closing and handling objections. A most important facet of corporate sales training would have to include identifying customer hot buttons before the meeting takes place, and having the ability to really listen to what the customer actually needs and not what the salesperson wants to sell, even if the product does not meet those needs.
But there is another beast of burden that corporations must grow and cultivate. This is the sales person tasked with selling to executives of large corporations. Executive sales training can be very different from the more standard corporate sales training because of one very important distinction. It can take months to get an appointment with a high level corporate executive who has the clout and the position to change the way the company does business. Selling a new copier to the mail department in the basement is very different from convincing a high company official to switch the entire corporation's copier brand or vendor to another. "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 6:24)
The topics for training to prepare for meeting with as well as persuading executives include a number of issues, some similar to standard corporate sales training. But a single fact is for certain: training must absolutely deal with how to get past the executive's personal assistant. This person is trained to guard the time and minimize interruptions for the important executive. Getting the attention and then the respect of a major mover and shaker on the corporate ladder can be an art form of its own. Executive sales training can give a novice important insight in how to make such meetings happen. This training can also major on the importance of the presentation itself and of knowing everything possible about the prospective company far ahead of a long sought after appointment.
Whether a company has a training department of its own, or hires an outside consultant to come and train from their perspective, businesses can all agree on one truth. Corporate sales training, which may also include executive sales training, is no option. Training account executives in the twenty-first century is all about teaching how to market and sell without sounding like one is selling. It is more about listening, truly understanding and giving the client a sense that the account sales person is more interested in serving the customer's need as opposed to making a quick sale. For some, this will be difficult to overcome because the lure of large commissions can be the camel with its nose in the tent: very difficult to ignore.
Executive TrainingExecutive training is a part of any business plan, in that no matter how much formal education a person has to qualify for an executive position, there are many things that can only be learned in the work place. Those who have earned an executive position through hard work over time, will be familiar with the way the company works, but will still need special training to perform well at an executive level. There are companies that exist for the express purpose of holding seminars in executive management training.
One of the most important aspects of executive training, judging from the number of seminars dedicated to the topic, is time management. Some of the titles for these seminars are: Employee Time Management; Team Time Management; Supervisory Time Management; and Strategic Time Management, to name only a few. Of course, management of time is closely linked to productivity and profit. Managers who take executive management training courses learn how to get the most out of their employees. Part of that aspect of their training is establishing an attitude of respect between management and the workforce, and respect for the company's goals. For instance, meetings that are held on time, and that address relevant topics and attainable goals go a long way toward producing a respectful attitude by those involved.
An important part of executive management training is employee relations. There are times when management gets so involved in reaching corporate goals that they overlook the needs of the employees with a "just do it or we'll get someone who will" attitude. An employee who is over worked and under appreciated is not going to be as productive as the one who feels he or she is an integral part of the company's machinery, and is valued for contributions made. While there are those employees who are more married to their jobs than to their spouses, that isn't the case with the majority of workers. Innovative management programs like time-sharing or flexible hours will, in some cases, be the answer to meeting the needs of the company and its employees. Collaboration, rather than confrontation will work wonders for attitudes, and can be included in executive training. The absolute trust between a businessman and his workers is illustrated in Scripture. "And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the wine vat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country." (Mark 12:1)
Most companies have a defining mission statement. Departmental and overall goals are designed to fit within that mission--or should be. One of the topics covered by executive training is how to manage the many goals of the company, without losing sight of that important mission statement. Another purpose of this coaching process is finding ways to solve problems generated by disorganization. A department or company that lacks organization will have trouble meeting its goals. Once employees realize how much more effective they will be with an organized work plan and desk, they will usually respond to suggestions from department heads.
An important part of executive management training has to do with team building. This isn't a skill that comes naturally to a lot of people, so there needs to be a means for them to learn. Teamwork is necessary at a lot of levels. A boss and his secretary are a team, the managers are a team, and of course the top-level executives are a team. Strong bonds of loyalty and trust are built in all of these combinations, and it's important that each member knows how to maintain that bond. The mentor group that teaches these skills, where they are weak or non-existent, is very valuable to the business.
Laws concerning conduct in the workplace are becoming more numerous all the time, so executive training in employee relations and proper business conduct is important. With complaints and lawsuits being filed over sexual harassment or discrimination of any kind, a company needs to have all of its executives and managers well trained in what the current laws are in their state, and how best to comply with them.
Interruptions by e-mails have become a big problem in offices today, and when they are combined with the telephone interruptions, they can pose a serious problem for an employee. Part of the executive management training available to companies is designed to address these issues. Having a receptionist take all the calls is one of the solutions. That method allows the caller to talk to a real person, even if the one being called is unavailable, and it also allows the calls to be returned at a time that is more convenient. When it comes to e-mails, they cannot be ignored, but answering them can be done at a certain time of day without interrupting other important work being done at the time the e-mail came in.