A poorly trained salesperson is one of the biggest mistakes your company can make.

Unfortunately, many companies look to hire talented sales people without considering all the unique nuances of their industry--and how those nuances can and will impact this new hire's performance. See, while someone can be incredibly talented at sales, have great social skills, and be able to speak well on the phone, the specifics of your business can will trip them up.

Unfortunately, a "Welcome" document and a company email address isn't enough for them to successfully turn prospective leads into paying customers. You'll spend all this time hiring people with sales experience, only to send them off without the tools and proper training.

You'll sit in your office, frustrated that this new hire isn't bringing in enough business. Either the sales rep will get frustrated and decide to quit, or you'll lose faith and decide to fire them. Either way, it's a net loss for the company, and everyone goes home unhappy.

That's why I've always spent a considerable amount of time training my new hires in the sales department with one very specific skill:

Anticipation.

Why Anticipation Matters

This is something I talk about a lot in my book on entrepreneurship, All In: I fundamentally believe that anticipation is the difference between a talker and a closer. When you're able to anticipate what the prospect is going to ask, you're more equipped to answer their question--and you feel more confident in the process.

That confidence isn't the false confidence I see a lot of people try to get by with on the phone. It's the sort of confidence that's deeply rooted in knowledge.

So, how do you teach this?

It's pretty simple, actually. It would be an unreasonable request for a new sales rep--or even a manager or executive--to effectively speak to a prospect's questions without first knowing what those prospects are most likely to ask. It's crucial for them to know what they're most likely to face "in battle," so that's where we begin. And then one by one, we'll go down the list, talking through all the different ways to answer each individual question.

When I say anticipation, I don't just mean anticipating what questions the prospect might have. It also means anticipating what objections they might bring to the table.

A lot of times, a sales rep will be having a great conversation with a closeable prospect, only to drop the ball in the final moments of the call because the customer revealed an objection the rep couldn't confidently speak to. You need to train your sales reps on how to anticipate and have confident answers to any and all objections.

It's Worth the Time and Resources

If this sounds time-consuming, or like a big investment, that's because it is.

It's the sort of exercise that separates highly effective sales teams from teams that go through a considerable amount of turnover. This is how you make your team members more effective. It's how you can get an accurate read on whether someone is the right fit for the role.

Wthout this type of intensive training, especially in an industry that's either new to the individual or an industry that's just plain old complicated, it would be unreasonable to expect a sales person to be able to field all the questions a prospect would bring to the table. And sure, some might be able to get by with conviction and a strong tone, but that's a bandaid solution.

If you want to build a team of closers, this is how you do it.

It all starts by getting them acquainted with all the different questions they should be prepared to face in a sales conversation. If they can answer every possible question a prospect might have, then there will be very little need to "pitch."

They will speak confidently from experience. That will always be a more effective sales approach than reading a sales script.

Published on: May 7, 2019
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