Sales Training

This page is a database of articles and downloadable white papers on many different aspects of sales training. You can search for any particular topic (e.g. "cold-calling") by typing it into the search box above the list of contents to the right. If you use the productivity tools in Connect (Calendar, Contacts, Workshop, Dashboard) you can use your dashboard results to see which areas of selling you have the most weak spots and then come to this page to find training resources to help you improve.

Busting The Book

Today in a training session with a sales team in Alaska I mentioned the Yellow Pages and casually swept it aside as irrelevant because it wasn't an 'advertising medium'. This is not to say that I don't understand how strong the Yellow Pages can feel as a competitor, especially when trying to persuade many service-oriented industries that radio would be more effective for them.

Yet, treating the Yellow Pages in your area as if you are in direct competition is, I believe, a mistake. The effect of doing this is to confirm in the minds of your potential advertisers (all those smaller businesses, service companies etc.) that your medium and a telephone directory exist on the same level and have potentially the same effect on consumers.

Throughout any given year I meet literally thousands of local business people, and talk to all of them about advertising in general and (hopefully) radio in particular. Naturally, certain responses and attitudes occur again and again. One of the most common is the small business' opinion of the Yellow Pages. It usually has three parts:

a) I spend what is, for me, a large chunk of money each month on my "Yellow Pages ad".
b) I resent the amount I have to spend and also the aggressive attitude of the Yellow Pages' reps while getting me to renew
c) If I don't advertise in the Yellow Pages I won't do as much business.

The encouraging aspect of this is that most of the businesses I meet would gladly take another option, if they could be persuaded that it would be effective. The key to persuading them of this is to show them how advertising really works; on them, on you, on all of us.

To do this simply, ask yourself the following, using, say, a new computer as an example:

"Where's the first place you'd go to buy a new computer?" The answer you come up with will be the company that has most prominence in your mind. What's also likely is that it will be a company who has invested heavily in broadcast advertising.

Now ask yourself this:

"If you can't think of anywhere to buy a new computer, what would you do? Wouldn't you ask someone at work or at home to recommend somewhere?"

If your answer is yes, you are seeing the true meaning of "word of mouth". Again though, it is likely that any company recommended by a friend or colleague has invested heavily in broadcast advertising.

Now ask this: "If no-one you know can recommend anywhere, what do you do?"

It's now likely that you mentioned the Yellow Pages (or the Internet) for the first time. And that's the truth; the Yellow Pages is a 'third stage' medium. You only use it if you can't think of a business without it.

The job of media like TV and radio is to make sure companies appear inside their customers' heads automatically, whenever those customers need their products or services. And radio is the only medium that can do that on a decent-sized Yellow Pages budget.

If you want proof of this, look no further than the Yellow Pages themselves. Choose a category like "Computer Dealers" and see which companies have the biggest, most colorful, most expensive ads. It's highly likely they will be made primarily of companies you've never heard of. Now look for the "CompUSA" ad, or the ad for "Office Depot". It'll be tiny. Actually, it's a fun exercise. Not only that, but you can use this as a way of persuading your prospects of the errors of their ways.

Matt Hackett, CEO, ARIA Inc.

Sales Training