Front-line experts

by: Anthony Demangone

You’ve been at your “work bench” for years, perhaps decades. You’ve accumulated a mountain of expertise surrounding your organization. Your products. Your services.

But you’re not out with the members anymore. You have colleagues who are your front-line touch-points with your members.

Are they experts?

I’m asking that because of this article from Inc.

There are probably a ton of similar articles, but I think this one framed the issue pretty well.

Every person on the sales team should be comfortable enough with his products to sell on the spur of the moment. Every Monday, in our weekly sales meeting, either my partner, our sales manager or I randomly ask a rep to sell us a specific product as though we were a customer. We ask hard questions, raise objections, and force them to think about the product in ways they might not have if they weren’t being put on the spot. And we do this in front of the whole sales team, so that everyone has the chance to listen and learn from one another. Not surprisingly, most people on the team will first draw on the selling points they have been provided on product info sheets. The exercise gets far more interesting, however, when the rep starts to think creatively about how and why the product is valuable, drawing on customer feedback, her own experience, or the product’s relationship to something else she sells. Setting up a weekly opportunity to test team members in roleplay scenarios gives me the chance to hear where the team lacks knowledge, and help them to shore up their expertise.

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