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It’s hard to get back to basics if you don’t know what the basics are. Sales training is a good start.

It’s hard to get back to basics if you don’t know what the basics are. Sales training is a good start.

‘Human Behaviour flows from 3 main sources, desire, emotion and knowledge.’ Plato

Without studying antiquities it’s hard to comprehend the life of a philosopher 2,500 years ago and what might have prompted Plato to describe the path of human behaviour in such a way.

It is suggested that us humans are programmed with fairly simple software that has changed little since the earliest of times – fight, flight, freeze or collapse and as our journey continues as a species regardless of what we surround ourselves with, our responses are limited.

Those human instincts have been challenged over the last 24 months. The fear of COVID is being replaced by the threat of unwarranted aggression from Moscow but the truth is, there will always be something for us to be concerned with and all that matters is how we respond.

Enquiries for sales training usually peak in January when business owners and sales leaders have had a time to reflect on sales performance and look ahead with optimism (or fear) at the year ahead.

Often we are asked to come in and motivate a sales team or individual, to spice things up a little yet motivating a sales team occasionally is the equivalent of applying a defibrillator to someone who’s lifestyle has caused some heart-related anomaly.

It might solve the problem once but it’s usually an unsustainable fix.

With the proliferation of channels, AI and myriad technologies we could easily be fooled into thinking that selling has been made easier, I fear that the truth might be a little more pessimistic.

Blue oceans are few and far between.

Everyone seems to be shouting in the same direction, at the same time, at the same volume.

Let’s not kid ourselves with technology either – it’s not all beneficial and not all of it works as well as that presentation deck might have had you believe.

And regardless of what anyone tells you about AI, humans still have a very important role to play and might well do for some considerable time.

Back to Plato and the 3 main sources of human behaviour: desire, emotion and knowledge – in order for us to move forward should we go back to what we know best?

Suggesting a return to basics is not to trivialise the needs of business owners seeking change in their sales function but more to re-enforce what the basics of sales actually are.

Are you providing an environment and the optimum conditions for growth? Great if you are yet most companies don’t. When you think environment do you think plush furniture and décor and the very best technology or do you think access to natural light and fresh air?

Yes / no?

Never mind table tennis and pool tables…do you offer fresh cool drinking water, drinkable coffee, fresh fruit, etc…?

The environment is everything that surrounds your people. The physical stuff as well as the intangible. It’s not a lick of paint or a quote on the wall.

Do you think it’s worth investing in or would you see it as an expense?

Does your current physical environment sap energy or generate energy for your sales team?

According to Maslow, it’s a basic human need – you should sort it out.

Not what business owners want to talk about when all they wanted was a bit of motivation for their team. The big challenge is awareness – knowing how a change in behaviour and attitude can transform a business. A 1000 mile journey doesn’t begin with the first step – it begins with awareness. And a plan.

If your culture isn’t right why should you expect any kind of improvement?

Do you have a clearly defined sales process and do you have proof that it works? Over time new people will join your business and should they happen a find a gap in your sales process, they will take it.

I guarantee you.

Onboarding will point them in a direction but what happens after that needs management and ongoing training.

If the sales process doesn’t need changed then try not to change it. Fine tuning a well-oiled engine is less costly than a complete overhaul.

It’s a basic sales management.

Customer retention
The Hypocratic Oath – ‘First do no harm’ is basic. Look after your existing customers. Give them no reason to leave and every reason to stay.

Often when the focus goes on new business lead generation, existing customers can be left wanting. Don’t create a pointless energy flow.

Quality over KPIs
The management of data is important – what gets measured gets done – but not when it is at the expense of quality. Turning the heat up on call volumes may not be the solution if there are fundamental flaws in the quality of the calls, presentations, proposals or the content in general. Turning up the heat is also unlikely to improve the confidence and desire of the sales team.

Get the basics right and you can change the pace any time you like.

Value creation, delivery and communication
A repetitive process that creates and delivers something of value at a price customers are willing to pay to satisfy a need. All done profitably.

A basic definition of a business but made more difficult if your sales team are unable to communicate that value but internally and externally.

Sales training. For ever.
So this is a sales pitch…what did you expect. Education doesn’t end at school or university, it’s only the beginning and if you believe knowledge to be a critical human behaviour then training should become an integral part of what your business does. CONTINUOUS. PERSONAL. DEVELOPMENT.
Product knowledge, market knowledge, sales skill development, competition knowledge, interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.

It sounds basic but it’s important.

Recently I stumbled upon a sales book – Sales Cybernetics. Written in the early 1970s.

Everything within the book is basic, simple and effective.

And relevant.

It recommends what you should eat to be energetic and effective throughout the day. The basics in energy management.

It suggests the sort of language we should use daily to ourselves – positive affirmations. Basics in self-motivation.

How you should dress for appointments.


What being a sales professional looks like.

It gives you tips on how to prospect. Remember that?

Trying to generate leads from newspapers, directories, friends and family or wherever instead of waiting for inbound leads?

How’s about a good mixture of both?

The basics.

Most of the problems we are facing today, in my opinion, are as a result of our desire to improve at a faster rate than we need to.

If you want to motivate your team and inspire them to improved sales performance you might need to look backwards before you look forwards.

To find out how Shift Control can add value to your business development and sales team with a bespoke sales training programme, email info@shift-control.co.uk



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