Why Behavior-Based Sales Training Comes Up Short

Lauren Williams's picture
Friday, April 5, 2013

Sales training and coaching strategies that focus primarily on behaviors aren’t adequately preparing sales professionals to connect, persuade and win in today's tough environment. The reason, according to Herrmann International research, is that selling approaches and buying decisions are rooted in thinking, not behaviors. By embedding thinking into development strategies, companies will be able to improve sales training results and generate higher revenue, account penetration and client loyalty levels.

“Our more than 30 years of research on the brain and business performance has shown that thinking styles impact how we process information, how we buy and sell, what we pay most attention to, and how we make decisions,” says Ann Herrmann-Nehdi, CEO of Herrmann International. “Behavioral approaches can help the salesperson manage a sales conversation in an efficient way, but they don’t reflect the mental processes that actually drive sales activities or purchasing decisions, so they don’t provide the complete set of tools to be persuasive, effective and responsive. Particularly in today’s demanding world, many external factors are impacting behavior; thinking is what’s constant.”

Herrmann-Nehdi says the company advises clients to look at the entire sales process for opportunities to maximize efforts through a framework of thinking, including:

  • Mapping the mental demands of the sales job to find alignment and uncover gaps
  • Using thinking preference data to maximize time spent in training
  • Optimizing coaching strategies by taking into account the thinking styles of the manager/coach and the salesperson • Providing training and tools to uncover customer thinking preferences and communicate, present and sell with the customer in mind

“The best part is this doesn’t require throwing out everything you’re already doing or slowing down the process,” Orin Salas, VP of Sales at Herrmann International, adds. “It actually helps salespeople get prepared, proficient and closing larger, more profitable deals on a faster pace. In fact, one client reduced training time from 24 months to 7 using this approach. It also allows the salesperson to focus their attention in the most high-value way, which is especially important in today’s noisy, pressure-filled environment.”

Herrmann International has compiled best practices, research and tips for using a thinking-based framework to improve sales performance in the free white paper, Wired for Sales: Supercharge Sales Professionals’ Performance in a Demanding World. The paper explores the reasons traditional behavior-based sales training comes up short, the role thinking preferences play in buying decisions and selling approaches, tips for assessing and applying thinking to sales development strategies, and techniques to quickly build the proficiency and performance sales professionals. Additional tools will be available at the Herrmann International booth at the Sales 2.0 Conference, April 9-10 in San Francisco.

For more information, please visit: www.herrmannsolutions.com.

About Herrmann International

The originator of the Whole Brain® system and the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI®) thinking styles assessment, Herrmann International works with organizations around the world to help them put their full brainpower to work to outthink, outpace and outperform the competition. The company’s Whole Brain® Thinking framework, which includes a variety of learning solutions, facilitation resources, job aids and business tools, has helped nine out of 10 of the Fortune 100 harness their collective intelligence to sell more, spend less, innovate faster, and develop and retain the best talent.