Why Reinforcement Is Necessary for Sales Success

Why Reinforcement Is NecessaryWhy Reinforcement Is Necessary for Sales Success is a subject discussed by other serious sales trainers as well. It's not just me. You hear me say, "Ongoing reinforcement is needed for getting results in selling." That a one-time seminar or lecture won't get you results.

Why is that?

Let's deal first with the lecturing. Why doesn't hearing a sales technique once at a seminar work? The answer is because actual learning did not occur. The salesperson goes into congnitive overload. They become defensive. The message is tuned out.

"I already do that."

"This guy isn't telling me anything new."

"I'm already a great salesperson."

Even if the salesperson does accept the new idea, after a couple of weeks they'll forget it. Back to their old comfort zone. Back to their old techniques.

Why Reinforcement Is Necessary: How It Overcomes Inertia

But the sales manager/trainer/leader has to have a playbook. The playbook can be a consistent sales process. It can be objections and rebuttals. It can be an equation to be applied to the customer's business--can we reduce their costs or increase their revenues? What is inside the playbook doesn't matter as much as having one.

Without the playbook, you don't have a target to aim at. If you don't have a target, will you have consistency? If you don't have consistency, can you manage your results?

The Three Learning Phases Showing Why Reinforcement Is Necessary

The plain truth is the way we learn is why reinforcement is necessary for sales success. Some approaches are based on studies of adult learning. Effective coaching simply bolsters that adult learning process. So how do we do it?

First, we perceive. We assess a situation and perceive which variables are critical to our success.

Second, we decide. Which course of action should we take? Thank goodness we have that playbook handy!

Third, we act. We practice, we roleplay, we rehearse--but most of all we use the new technique in real life.

The salesperson can practice. The coach gives ongoing feedback. That feedback can come in the form of ridealongs and a debriefing chat right after the prospect visit. It can come in the form of simulations. And it can be in the form of team coaching, where peers work with one another.

But the common key is that you need to see the new technique over and over again...interacting with real life. That's how it will stick. You must first perceive the need for it. Then decide to use the techique. And then really use it, taking action with the new technique in live selling situations.

Sounds simple? Doing this consciously is not nearly as easy as talking about it. That's why having a coach who will keep showing you why reinforcement is necessary helps so much.

Update: Is Ongoing Re-Learning of Sales Technique Still Needed In 2022?

Many years have passed since the first version of this post was written in 2014. Have people gotten any smarter? Are they more effective at learning and retaining information?

Of course not!

The belief that "I looked the course over one time, and now I know everything forever" remains an extremely common one. But let me remind you that * I * have to go over my own material several times a year—or else I'll forget the techniques just as easily as anyone else. And I'm more familiar with these concepts than anybody!

Humanity has a belief that just because we read or heard something and it seemed good, we must now know that thing and retain it for all time. You know just by reading the previous sentence that the idea is ridiculous; however, you go on acting as if it is true.

Don't fall for this unthinking belief. It's not just silly: it's harmful to you. Get a coach and a continuous sales training program in place to support your success.

>> If you're ready to become supported by the greatest sales and business owner training on the planet, SALES ON FIRE, go here <<


When Should I Fill Out the CRM Info?

When should I fill out the CRM info for a prospect?

This common question needs a clear answer—and sales managers, you'll appreciate this post as a place to point your people to for the solid answer.

Over the years as a consultant to sales departments large and small I've seen two different answers to this question in action.

when should i fill out the crm info confused salesperson question business development staff woman raised hands struggling

Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels

The first has the business development or sales person putting the data entry off until later.

The second features the bizdev or sales executive getting that data into the CRM right now.

Having worked with countless organizations and seen the difference in effectiveness of these two approaches, I can tell you this:

Put the info in the CRM as you go.

Hazards of Not Entering the CRM Data Immediately

Don't chicken scratch it on a pad and then think you'll go back later and dump it into the program. You won't. Do it now and get it done and out of your mind. You'll thank yourself for developing this habit.

Those who leave the data entry until later run the risk of constant low level, nagging worry. The job is out there, still needing to be done. And what if your boss needs that info? If it's not in the system, it doesn't exist. Remember that. No matter how deep or powerful the information you discover about a prospect is, if no one else can access that data, you may as well have never uncovered it.

So get it into the CRM, now.

An Alternative Answer to "When Should I Fill Out the CRM Info?"

This is for salespeople, especially outside salespeople: if you are an awesome closer, and hate doing this "paperwork stuff", consider asking your boss to hire you an assistant. No kidding—it could save you and them a ton of expensive time and frantic worry. That data HAS to be in there so your manager can quickly see progress and status, and know when to ask questions and offer help. If your time really is better spent talking to prospects, then it should be a no-brainer for your boss to get you an inexpensive assistant to help with the data entry.

If you're an independent hired gun, consider hiring a VA for yourself. You'll probably be shocked at the time and energy they recover for you, doing tasks you believe are dull but they find rewarding.

>> Need help with your business development, sales or CRM process? Book a problem-solving consultation with Jason by clicking here <<


The Dummy Curve In Selling

The Dummy CurveThe Dummy Curve is a curious concept most salespeople have never heard of. Yet it is extremely effective in lowering the natural skepticism and other barriers of the prospect. We must accomplish this during the complex sale if we're going to have a true conversation. Remember, if we don't find out anything about our prospect's world, we probably won't make the sale.

Easy Sales and the Dummy Curve

What the Dummy Curve pictures is the accidental ease with which a new salesperson makes sales...then the trouble selling once they begin to mature in the role and collect knowledge of features and benefits...and then the potential return to effective, productive selling by consciously practicing the very methods they used at the beginning of their career.

Technical knowledge about the product or service you offer can block you from making sales. As soon as you drop into the technical patter, your prospect tunes out. You may feel comfortable, because it's comfortable to know and share technical facts; however, those things are not why prospects buy.

Prospects buy because their underlying needs or wants are met. Sometimes this can happen because somewhere in the blast of features and benefits coming from the salesperson is hidden the one thing that satisfies the prospect's hidden need. But wouldn't it be much more effective to deliberately uncover that need or want, so we can take it out into the sunlight, turn it around and really know what it is?

Especially since our competition will be using the features-and-benefits firehose?

The secret to the Dummy Curve is in questioning. We revert to being a newbie in our sales role on purpose, and ask the "dumb" questions a new salesperson would ask. And in doing so, these hidden needs and wants of the prospect pop to the surface without resistance.

Sandler trainer Jeff Schneider acknowledges that we human beings are not very good at listening. Then he shares a number of simple "Dummy" questions

The Dummy Curve In Action: An Example

A fictional character--a police detective--is fully competent with the Dummy Curve and this kind of deliberate questioning. Yes, the rumpled, seemingly-bumbling Columbo.

Watch here as Columbo disarms his suspect by his apparently disorganized manner, "reaching" for questions, and literally going away and coming back--things you can do as a salesperson.

The suspect views Columbo as an amusing annoyance. He shakes his head in disbelief that the detective could ever be closing in on the truth.

Questioning Skills from Jason Kanigan on Vimeo.

A salesperson who is genuinely interested in helping the prospect, rather than just making the sale, will ask questions that uncover why the prospect wants to buy.

Doesn't that sound incredibly simple and right? Yet what do salespeople with a dash of technical knowledge do? Revert to "show up and throw up" with those features and benefits!

Columbo is genuinely interested in solving the case. And the effective salesperson is genuinely interested in helping the prospect.

How have you been conducting your sales conversations?

>> Jason Kanigan is a sales force developer. Want proven expertise to help you or your sales team be more effective? Click here! Questions about how you can use the Dummy Curve in your sales conversations? Comment below to let us know! And for more details on effective sales processes, check out our books on Kindle. Like or Share if you know someone who would be helped by this info! <<