Sales Queen Jill Konrath Talks Industry Change with SocialHangout

According to Jill Konrath, the sales industry is undergoing fast-paced changes. It’s no longer enough to simply find clever ways to pitch your company’s products and services to your target audience. Now, customer expectations are higher, your salespeople must develop deeper two-way relationships via social media so that customers view them as trusted advisers and they must use social media tools to harvest valuable data about customers.

Jill was a guest of the #Fab4 SocialHangout team of Eric Mitchell, Kevin Thomas Tully, Gabe Villamizer and Jack Kosakowski on Feb 6, 2015. The REAL Queen of Sales, Jill Konrath is a leading sales acceleration strategist, sales coach and keynote speaker. She’s also the award-winning author of three best-selling books, “Agile Selling: Get up to speed quickly in today’s ever-changing sales world,” “SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers,” and “Selling to Big Companies”. Jill has taught over 125,000+ sales professionals through videos, ebooks, webinars, videos and other tools.

During SocialHangout, Jill credited her classic sales training at Xerox as the root cause of her success. This training involved how to distinguish top sellers from average sellers and to ask good analytical questions.

The SocialHangout team asked Jill, “Have you seen the sales process evolve? Is there a different type of shift in all those old-school techniques? Do you see those kinds of things working or do you see different, new, innovative things going on?”

She responded, “Tried-and-true techniques like asking good questions will never go away. But what I see is that you have to come into an organization with knowledge and you can’t ask those questions without having done your homework. Then, the buyer doesn’t feel like they’ve having to educate you. They feel like they’re working with somebody who’s a pro and who truly, truly knows who they are and can bring value to the conversation.

What I really see is that the buyer has upped their expectation of the salesperson, that they be knowledgeable about where they are. They should be bringing that knowledge into the conversation as well.

You can’t sell today without social. LinkedIn, Twitter, all those things are out there…those are data sources for any intelligent salesperson. Failure to leverage social resources and using them to gain information, to connect with people, to showcase your own expertise…it’s foolhardy to not be leveraging what’s available right now that can differentiate you and make you more intelligent, more worthwhile to your clients.”

Jill said that the need for sales training is never-ending. Because of all the changes in how customers are buying and educating themselves prior to buying, sales managers need to be coaching and training their salespeople, providing feedback, having regular sales meetings where they examine what’s right and what’s wrong, and learning from those meetings. “Every day is a training day.”

Rapid learning and the ability to quickly adapt to market changes are master skills for both salespeople and upper-level leadership, Jill observed. “It’s a lifetime skill that will serve them well, anywhere.”

Relationship building, collaboration, and storytelling make a difference in successful sales. “I’m seeing some really new technology that allows salespeople to practice stories. I’m seeing it coming…it’s about sharing and institutionalizing stories in an organization, because I really feel that one of the biggest lacks that salespeople have is knowledge.

It’s like there’s a tribal knowledge that an organization has, but any new salesperson coming on board doesn’t understand it. And how do you get salespeople to really understand what your stuff does and share it in a way that is of interest to a prospect? With apps and feedback…you really expand a person’s ability to have a conversation with prospects.”

When the SocialHangout crew discussed the widespread epidemic of the lack of employee engagement, Jill noted the need for more training and better onboarding. “Salespeople are not disposable commodities. A good salesperson is worth their weight in gold. To invest in somebody at the front end is crucial.”

For a replay of the broadcast or to hear additional SocialHangouts, visit YouTube, iTunes or SoundCloud.

Contact Jill Konrath on Twitter at @jillkonrath or on LinkedIn. For her books and other resources, visit her website.

SocialHangout can be found on Twitter @socialhangout, Google+ and Facebook.

SocialHangout’s Fab4 contact info:
Eric Mitchell: @EricLMitchell, LinkedIn
Kevin Thomas Tully: @kevinttully, LinkedIn
Jack Kosakowski: @JackKosakowski1, LinkedIn
Gabe Villamizar: @gabevillamizar, LinkedIn

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