Not long ago I was in San Francisco with my son, and we walked past a store that had no branding or signage on it at all. We knew instantly what it was. Anybody who has ever been in an Apple store would have recognized it, too, by its layout and by the way the red-shirted sales consultants were sort of hovering around. Buying an Apple product is completely different from any other buying experience—The whole process is grounded in the Apple brand.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Jill Slupe for the Doubledare Braintrust Webinar. Jill is the CEO of Verde Martin, a sales training and acceleration company. Basically, what Verde Martin does is help companies customize the customer experience. Jill believes in incorporating a company’s core values into its sales process—as Apple already does so well—and she designs customized training programs based on the client company’s foundational beliefs.

The focus is three pronged: strategy, training, and sales growth:

We help businesses look at their sales process. Most (businesses) don’t actually document what their sales process is and drive efficiencies from that . . . The only time we ever get a call is when a company is stuck. Maybe sales have been flat for multiple years and they’re just not sure what to do next in regards to change. Usually, that’s because there’s more competition, the sales channel has drastically changed, or something about the business has greatly changed.

Jill begins the process with a number of questions, “Everything starts with understanding first, Where does the business want to go? And the next component is really looking at How do people buy? It’s that customer experience. It’s kind of looking at the need, the want, or the problems that the buyer has.”

The only way to answer these questions is to document how your customers are buying and see if it matches up with how you’re selling. Jill says we should make the customer experience a positive one—make it easier and more enjoyable to buy from us as opposed to our competition.

The Internet has changed everything in this regard, and if you don’t keep up, if you don’t understand your customer, then they’re less likely to be your customer.

Is there anything that helps increase sales success? How does Jill get salespeople to perform at a higher level? She says it all comes back to the process.

The reason they have that job is because they like people and they want the customer to have a great experience . . . When your sales process makes sense to the salesperson, they’re going to do it better. People often say to me, “You know, my own sales teams, they skip this step, or they don’t do that step” . . . And usually if you come back to why people aren’t doing something, it’s number one, they aren’t good at it, or number two, they’re not comfortable doing it.

Customized sales training based on strategy and branding is so smart, I’m surprised there aren’t more companies doing it.

Finally, Jill says exceptional sales people:

  1. Are happy and enthusiastic.
  2. Have passion for the product or service that they’re selling.
  3. Have passion for learning.

Those are some good points to keep in mind the next time you’re hiring. To learn more about what Jill can do for your business, check out the Verde Martin website.

photo credit: MFMarcelo Bookstore Lello – Porto – Portugal via photopin (license)