There are still plenty of companies whose sales strategies involve pushing a message in front of as many people as possible, hoping to attract prospects who need what they are selling. But the time has come for outdated sales techniques to be left behind – according to research, 90 percent of B2B decision makers don’t respond to cold sales outreach at all, and only 1 percent of cold calls result in meetings. In fact, 79 percent of business buyers say that it’s absolutely critical or very important to interact with a salesperson who is a trusted advisor and adds value to their business.
In order to address shifting customer expectations, organizations around the world are adopting more personal and engaging methods of selling. One method that is especially powerful is solution selling – but it requires a different skill set than other sales methods, and as such, training is essential both to adopting this strategy, and ensuring its ongoing success. To help maximize the effectiveness of sales training, consider incorporating experiential learning into the program. Here’s why.
What Is Solution Selling?
Solution selling can be defined as learning about a client’s business – their needs, pain points, and frustrations – and then showing where and how a range of possible solutions can satisfy those needs and reduce those frustrations. It requires salespeople to be able to listen, hear, and understand the customer. It also requires them to be knowledgeable, and strategic thinkers who can demonstrate their understanding and clearly advise on how their solutions help the customer with their specific needs. Successful solution selling results in better customer relationships, improved engagement, and an improved customer experience from start to finish.
This approach may be challenging for sales professionals who have never been asked to sell this way, but fortunately, the skills they will need are all things that can be practiced and mastered. If your organization is committed to adopting solution selling, training and development may be necessary to get the sales team aligned, informed, and confident in the technique.
A Brief Introduction to Experiential Learning
Experiential learning is the ideal training method to prepare sales teams for success. This methodology has people learn by participating interactive learning scenarios that mimic the workplace. The key differentiator of experiential learning is that it builds conviction within salespeople to think about the customer in a new way and adapt their behavior accordingly.
Here’s how it works: The training is contained within an engaging, immersive experience that pulls participants out of their typical workplace roles. This creates a safe environment to test theories, see the results of their actions, and immediately learn from their mistakes and successes so they can make corrections. At the end, a skilled facilitator draws the connections between the lessons in the experience and the realities of the workplace – so participants can see how these new skills and behaviors can be applied immediately on the job.
Benefits of experiential learning include:
- Practice with the skills you’re trying to teach
- The opportunity for participants to see the impact of their own behaviors
- A strong connection between theory and practice
- Measurable outcomes with strong ROI
- Appeals to a range of learning styles
- Can be delivered in-class, virtual, or blended
- A fun and engaging way to learn