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Matt Nettleton | Indianapolis, IN

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One of my favorite movies is The Princess Bride. It's funny and filled with great lines delivered with impeccable comedic timing. Billy Crystal throws out one of my favorite lines, "Have fun storming the castle," as he waves goodbye to his friends he believes are heading off to a certain death. This is the line I think every sales manager should use to end sales meetings.

Over the past 13 years, I have watched the world of sales go through a revolution. Buyers are now buying very differently than they have previously. Studies show that in both B2B and B2C sales, more than 95% of all prospects begin their buying process with an internet search. Even more troubling is the fact more than 60% of the buying process is complete before the prospect actually wants to speak to a salesperson. But sales teams and their managers are continuing to fight this change.

In response to this new reality many sales teams, and the managers who lead them, have chosen to change only the tempo and force they use to reach out to prospects. In other words, buyers have decided that they can hide in their castle and get the outcomes they want. Unfortunately, many salespeople have decided that rather than learn new approaches to these buyers, it makes more sense to use battering rams and siege towers. Battering rams and siege towers rarely create lasting relationships.

When the call from a prospect comes in, most salespeople are not ready to answer it. Many sales teams are taught how to storm the castle, but they have no idea what to do when they get invited in the main gate. Today's buyers already know how to get answers; they use Google. The same studies of buyer processes clearly show the reason buyers call salespeople is to find information they do not know how to ask for.

High performing salespeople welcome prospects into the sales process armed with nothing but focused questions. They help prospects discover unique insights about their current situation. They tailor their sales process to discover the customer's specific reasons to change. Finally, rather than simply performing as requested by their prospects, they are assertive and push back when necessary to earn control of the sales process.

Are you tired of watching your sales team try to storm the castle? Would you like to see them get invited in? Do you have a nagging suspicion the market may have changed? Do you suspect your sales process needs to change just as much?

We should talk. Contact Matt Nettleton, Sandler Training, DTB at or 317-695-8549.

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