Of all the sales training classes that I have ever taught, by far the most popular one is my “Top – Down Selling” program. I am asked to speak about this one subject more than any other by all sorts of groups and sales organizations. Before I get into this topic, some information about my background might be in order.
Prior to starting McCann Motivations in 1998, I spent six years in Navy nuclear submarines where I served as a nuclear-trained machinist mate. Following the Navy, I spent seven years with New York Life, including five years in sales and two years in management where I hired and trained sales people how to sell life and health insurance. After the insurance business, I spent twenty years with Johnson Wax Professional. Fifteen of those twenty years were spent in the training department, which was the best job I ever had. I loved it!
My training responsibilities involved training new Johnson sales people, as well as distributor sales representatives who were selling our product line in the Northeast. That later expanded to the entire east coast. In addition, I conducted motivational speaking programs for large end user customers like Kodak, US Air and Notre Dame University.
We would offer supervisory training and other motivational programs to these larger customers at no charge as a value-added benefit for their having bought our products. As a trainer I learned a tremendous amount of information about how our products were manufactured and how they performed, and about selling techniques. I was also constantly reading books on selling and management topics in order to stay current with supervisory topics to help our customers in training their staffs. I would also speak and interact with our technical service and marketing departments so that I could learn more about all these subjects. As our VP of Sales once said, “You have to learn it before you can teach it.”
Some examples of books related to sales topics that had a great impact on my training and future sales training programs are:
“Selling to VITO – Very Important Top Officer,” by Anthony Parinello,
“Question Based Selling” by Tom Freese,
“Spin Selling” by Neil Rackham and
“Secrets to Power Negotiating” by Roger Dawson.
I have read dozens more books on selling, but these four were very impactful to my selling career.