Top Down Selling: Give the People What They Want

top down selling

Most Sales Training companies have adopted the top down selling, “give the people what they want” approach. They meet with the company’s Sales Executives and Leadership, listen to their needs, and then propose a solution based on precisely what Management thinks they need.

The expression “Give the people what they want” is based on an old show business story that involves the funeral of a hated studio executive. Someone comments on the size of the crowd at the church, which causes another person to state, “Well, if you give the people what they want’85they are sure to turn out.”

Top-down selling. Give the people what they want.

But this makes sense, doesn’t it? Aren’t we all trained to listen to our prospects and offer solutions based on their needs?

This may work to get the deal, but it is also the reason why most sales training initiatives fail. Why?

Too often management makes a dictatorial decision about the type of training needed for their sales reps. They will tell the training company they need skills training such as prospecting or closing. Happy for the opportunity, the training company will then propose a program targeted to those exact needs. The training sessions will be scheduled, the Reps ordered to participate and it will happen.

It will also fail.

The Sales Reps are only attending the session because it is a prerequisite for their employment. Failure to comply means negative repercussions. They have no ownership in the sales process therefore they will do only the minimum. It is simply how human beings are wired.

If there is no personal win in it…if the Reps do not think it is in their best interest…they will never embrace it.

Successful Sales Training initiatives must incorporate both top-down and bottom-up approaches. Sales Management, Executive Leadership, and the Sales Training Company need to recognize the “customer” in this situation…is the Sales Rep.

  • How was the decision made about Sales Training Programs you’ve been involved with?
  • If you were planning a Sales Training Program how would you build up momentum for it?

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