Middle of last year I wrote about sales training and social media and in particular the impact on car dealerships and their sales teams. In particular, their tardiness in responding to online leads.   Well it seems this is still a problem – only the other week one of my coaching clients told me about his dealings with a prestigious car brand where he contacted a dealership to arrange a test drive only to have someone get back to him 7 weeks later, well and truly after he had bought another car from another brand elsewhere.

The feedback I received from car sales industry sources in 2010 was that if a warm online lead was not followed up within 6 hours they were lost to that dealer.  Well how things have changed. This isn’t just   an issue for car dealerships, it’s now an issue for any business who is generating online customers leads. Harvard has highlighted this issue in their article – The Short Life of Online Sales Leads.

So are you confident that your company is effectively handling potential customers’ online queries? Think hard. Harvard research shows that most companies are not responding nearly fast enough.

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‘Sales Pioneer’ was voted as the Number 7 Sales Trends for 2011. As the business world and selling become increasingly complicated, the Sales Pioneer is emerging to help us all map a pathway to the future.

Unafraid to ask the hard questions, uncover new opportunities and challenge the precepts and ideas of their clients and companies alike, the 21st Century Sales Pioneer is not afraid to stand up and be counted.

The 21st Century Sales Pioneer works in healthy and dynamic collaboration with clients including procurement, internal teams and allied suppliers. Above all these pioneers are educators, teaching clients how to improve their businesses.  If you’re thinking about refreshing or realigning your sales team in 2011 consider finding, developing and retaining the Sales Pioneer to give you an edge this year and beyond.

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After over 4300 shows in 25 years, Oprah’s final show aired recently where she mentioned that of more than 30,000 people she has interviewed, they all had one thing in common; the need to be validated.  Oprah claims that the common three questions they needed answered were:

‘Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say matter to you?’

I propose that these questions are at the heart of 21st Century sales training – the principle of exchange of value.  How well a salesperson validates their clients and prospects through skills such as listening, questioning and verifying are key to their success.  How good does it feel when someone really listens to you and understands you?  Just great!

Usually in sales, training or coaching mode I find myself doing the bulk of the validating. The other day however, was an exception. I received a delightful surprise from a guest after speaking about High Impact Selling at a Women’s Network Australia luncheon. Sandy McDonald, a specialist in social media, sent me the following article validating me and the Barrett message. Here’s her take on ‘everybody lives by selling something’.

Read more at Barrett's Sales Blog ...

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