Deficit Learning, and The Rise of the Just-in-Time, Situational Salesperson

26 June 2018


Do you remember the last time you had to change a flat tire? (Okay, maybe you just called AAA, but let’s just imagine you’re going to address this roadside crisis on your own).

Chances are, it’s been many years since you had to do this. As a result, the next time it happens, you’ll probably need to refresh your knowledge by dusting off the old owner’s manual or looking it up online.

And that’s okay. Why? Because let’s face it: you learn best when you’re in a deficit. You learn best when you need to learn something – not when knowing something might just help you, but when it absolutely will.

Salespeople are no exception. And, there’s a term I’ve developed for this baptism by fire approach to learning: I call it deficit learning. This is the learning approach that salespeople need when they have a skills gap or an acute performance need that they can’t afford not to address now.

After all, messaging and skills training that’s inflexible and event-based won’t be of much help when you need to respond to a challenge right away. Those challenges might include:

  • A troubled sales territory that’s up against a newly aggressive competitor
  • Weak pipeline or stalled deals that you’re on the brink of losing
  • An emergent threat to a dominant product or service that makes defending, retaining, and protecting your position paramount
  • A new product or go-to-market strategy launch, where you’re entering a new geography or trying to take some competitive share

Research shows these different situations call for dramatically different messaging, content, and skills training. One-size-fits-all messaging won’t cut it today. After all, it’s the buying situation and circumstances your buyers and their companies are facing – not their role or responsibility – that dictates their buying decisions. And that’s why “just-in-case” messaging and skills training- which reps may or may not need – will have limited impact. What they really need is just-in-time training that’s flexible, situational, and tailored to the key buying situations your prospects and customers are up against.

The technology to make just-in-time, situational learning a reality has been ready for a while. It’s the messaging, content, and skills – and the research to validate them – that have been lagging behind…until now.

In this webcast – Coaching the Just-in-Time, Situational Salesperson – I discuss what it takes to get salespeople the training they need, right when they need it. You’ll learn what it takes to get reps situationally ready and fluent to have the right conversation at the right moment – so you can be at your best no matter what selling challenge you face.

About the Author

Tim Reisterer is chief strategy officer at Corporate Visions, a marketing and sales messaging, content, and skills training company. Tim is responsible for Corporate Visions’ thought leadership, positioning and product development, and has more than 20 years’ experience in marketing and sales. He is the co-author of The Three Value Conversations: How to Create, Elevate, and Capture Customer Value at Every Stage of the Long-Lead Sale, published by McGraw Hill.

About the Author
Tim Riesterer

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