Sales Moments

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Last week, I attended a conference call with the top sales management of one of my clients, to discuss ways to more deeply embed the culture and practices of consultative selling techniques that we’ve introduced to their sales force, including sales call planning, questioning, understanding customers’ needs, etc.

Before we began the formal agenda, the COO began the call with a safety moment. For those who are not familiar with the concept, the leader of the meeting usually invites anyone to share a specific topic or incident that relates to safety. Someone will speak up and tell about something they may have observed in the plant; maybe it was a new idea that someone suggested, an accident averted, or unfortunately sometimes an incident where someone got hurt.

The immediate purpose of safety moments is to share a useful lesson and to get everyone to focus on the importance of safety. The long term purpose is to foster a culture of safety, where everyone at all levels makes safety a priority and a natural part of their business day.

What I’ve found interesting in listening in to these safety moments is that everyone takes them seriously. You would think that a practice like this might become routine, or cause people to roll their eyes and tune out during this automatic part of the meeting, but I’ve never observed that. People seem to be eager to share their stories and to hear others.

As soon as one of the participants began sharing his safety moment during the call, the (now) obvious thought hit me: if a safety moment can be used to create a specific culture and change behavior, why not have a consultative[1] sales moment?

Why not lead off every one of your meetings by having someone share a specific instance they have seen of someone successfully using the ideas learned in your latest training class, or publicizing an important win, or of developing a C-level relationship, or so many other possible topics?

One of the major reasons that sales training loses its effectiveness is the lack of management attention after the training event. There’s a lot of attention and fanfare devoted to the concept of a new sales approach before the training, but it’s human nature to turn attention to something else after that particular box is checked. After the initial learning curve, the forgetting curve begins to kick in immediately, unless everyone maintains focus.

Safety is paramount, but for many companies, an effective sales culture is also critical. Consultative sales moments may be an easy way to keep everyone’s focus on a topic that should be front and center in everyone’s mind.

Has anyone tried this, and if so, how has it worked for you?

[1] Call it a solution sales moment, or challenger moment, or insight moment, or whatever you want to.

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