Generational Spotlight: Selling to Millennials

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While some may describe them as self-centered, spoiled, or even just plain lazy, millennials are rapidly increasing their influence in the business world.

While some may describe them as self-centered, spoiled, or even just plain lazy, millennials are rapidly increasing their influence in the business world. Estimates suggest that millennials will comprise half of the U.S. workforce by 2020, yet some companies continue to struggle finding ways to evolve to meet the needs of this generation.  Here are a few ways companies can try to expand their customer base and inject some youthfulness into their brand name and marketing strategy.

Tech Savviness

Obviously, the millennial generation values technology more than any other, but it’s important to use technology only when it makes sense and only when it works. Showing presentations on your iPad of tablet can engage the millennial customer.  Nothing is a bigger turn-off for millennial consumers than […]

Generational Spotlight: Selling to Baby Boomers

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No doubt, sales is hard.  To succeed, you really have to know your customer. Here are some tips for connecting with Baby Boomers.

Born between 1946 and 1964, Baby Boomers make up the second-largest portion of the U.S. population (having recently been overtaken by millennials), which means that they are a crucial part of any business market. Understanding how to sell to this generation and knowing the key distinctions between this and other generations can mean the difference between a sale and a polite declination. Take a look at some overarching qualities of the Baby Boomer generation.

They Value the Salesperson

A common refrain when talking about Baby Boomers is that they must be comfortable with the salesperson before they can become comfortable with the product. This entails face-to-face interaction, paying attention to body language, and small talk, at times. Baby boomers are known to quickly categorize and make decisions about people and […]

What is Business Acumen?

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Does your team understand business strategy? Do they know why costs are cut? Do they know your industry’s trends? Teaching business acumen provides all employees confidence and understanding in today’s business world.

The phrase “business acumen” may seem like an industry buzzword, but in fact it is an increasingly important part of communication and effectiveness in the business world. Financial Times Lexicon defines business acumen as “keenness and speed in understanding and deciding on a business situation”. Moreover, business acumen can help your company cut costs, reach a broader audience, and successfully integrate and streamline ideas for a more efficient business strategy.

Steve Jobs is a great example of a strong business acumen. A college dropout with no formal business education, Jobs’ ability to make snap decisions and understand the “language of business” made Apple into one of the most valuable companies in the world. It is […]

Six Situations Where It Makes Sense to Outsource Sales Training

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Choosing to outsource sales training can feel like a big decision if you’ve never done it before, but sometimes outside help is exactly what your sales team needs.

Outsourcing training may not be the right choice for everyone, but here are six situations where I feel you can benefit most from a bit of outside help.

1. You’re not happy with your current team’s performance.
When your existing sales team isn’t performing as well as you’d like, you have two choices: find new sales people (who will need training to ensure they accomplish what your original team could not) or train the ones you have so they can improve.

2. Your lead sales person has no formal sales training.
Most salespeople were never trained how to sell. And most sales managers were promoted because they were the best sales people, without any specific managerial training. Put these two ingredients together and it’s rare to find a sales manager […]

5 Steps for Ensuring Customer Satisfaction in Agricultural Sales

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Remember that every customer call is an opportunity for you to help solve a problem for someone. And if we are honest with ourselves, that is the real reason we enjoy sales so much!

So you are walking along freshly-tilled furrows on the way to meet a grower and potential customer in the field, when your cell phone rings. Time is short after you got turned around at the entrance, machinery churns loudly around you, and the sun is making you regret your choice of long sleeves this morning. You can see by the number on the screen that it’s a new grower you just signed up last week. Quick: how do you respond?

Stop, take a breath, and remember that when a customer calls, it is an opportunity for you to help solve a problem for someone. Here are 5 easy steps anyone can follow to ensure great customer service on every call, every time.

Step 1: Say Hello
Thank your customer for calling. Keep a “smile” in your voice by keeping a smile on your face. State your […]

How Training Affects Employee Retention

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Employee retention, it seems, isn’t just a nice idea—it’s good business. But it’s also clearly going to require a plan if you want to keep your best employees long-term.

Employee turnover is expensive. How expensive? According to a review of 30 case studies taken from the 11 most-relevant research papers on the costs of employee turnover done by the Center for American Progress, it costs businesses about one-fifth of a worker’s salary to replace that worker.

And, according to another survey (this one by Linkedin), 85% of the workforce is either actively looking for a job or open to talking to recruiters about relevant opportunities; even the […]

What is Mobile Learning?

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Mobile devices are everywhere, and companies are still figuring out how best to leverage mobile technology as part of a comprehensive training program. But what is mobile learning, and when should it be employed?

Mobile learning is using a mobile technology, such as a cell phone or tablet, to consume educational content. Leveraging mobile devices to learn has become almost second nature as the sheer number of devices has exploded. Despite the proliferation of mobile technologies, there are learning situations in which devices make sense, and other situations where it may be best to stick to more traditional classroom, eLearning, or blended learning solutions.

Mobile devices are everywhere.

According to CTIA’s 2014 Annual Wireless Industry Survey, there were 355.4 […]

Overcoming the Generational Gap in Today’s Workplace: Easier Said Than Done

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In an earlier time, the workplace was dominated by one or two generations and it was often possible to do business mostly with people close to your own age. Not anymore.

Good leaders know we’re all more comfortable working with people from our own age and background. Every generation sees the world through a filter shaped by its formative experiences. Thus, generational peers are likely to “speak the same language.” Sending the wrong generational signals creates a generation gap. Today there are four major generations in the workplace:

  • Matures (born before 1946)
  • Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964)
  • Generation X (born between 1965 and 1979)
  • Millennials (born between 1980 and 1997)

 Connecting with Matures

Duty and sacrifice are at the heart of the Mature mindset. Matures usually do not have an inflated ego or sense of self-importance and they don’t expect special treatment but they […]

What is Blended Learning?

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Tightly integrating online content and classroom instruction can pay off where it counts: In the minds of those learning and on your company’s bottom line.

Also known as hybrid or mixed-mode training, blended learning is the combination of traditional face-to-face instruction, as old as Aristotle’s first tutoring session with Alexander the Great, and online instruction where the pace, place, and path are controlled by the learner.

Through a blended learning approach, overall classroom time can be reduced while simultaneously reducing expenses related to instructor travel. Learner engagement increases as more time is spent “on task” through pre- and post-class follow-up work. The advantages of in-person instruction, including all of the the rigor, personal interaction, and real-time Q&A, combine with the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of online instruction to make for a potent learning package.

Online + Offline […]

3 Reasons Why Cutting Your Sales Training Budget is a Mistake

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Corporate profits are now at an all-time high, so it’s not as common to see companies trimming sales training budgets as it was between 2009-2011.

But it is still happening as the economic recovery meanders along in it’s fifth year, and companies face real peril when sales training goes on the chopping block.  Before that sales training budget gets trimmed, take into consideration the top three reasons why it may not be the wisest move:

 1. Customers notice and will go elsewhere.

Customers sense when a salesperson is not armed with the right knowledge and skills. Think about the last time you walked into a Best Buy and went looking for a specific flat-screen TV. If your experience was anything like mine, the sales associate began reaching for answers to questions about the features of model X over model Y, and then started making up answers entirely.

As a customer, we notice these lapses in knowledge (and training!) and often take our business elsewhere. […]