Boundaryless selling for General Electric


General Electric (GE) is one of the largest companies in the world with operations ranging from financial services to fleet car leasing, and from jet engines to gas turbine manufacture. Huthwaite International has been working with different parts of GE (GE Information Services and Avis Fleet Services) to develop sales and account strategy skills.

The corporate business unit, GE International, provides corporate support and consultancy to all GE’s operational businesses. International Sales Leader Carole Plant has recognised the need for GE sales people to understand the full range of products and services and to be able to leverage the complete portfolio. This has required a change of focus away from rigid product and service areas to a broader approach which requires an additional set of skills and knowledge.

Huthwaite’s work with GE Information Services established the value of the SPIN® Selling Skills programme and the research based methodology. GE International wanted to build on this framework to demonstrate how the skills can be used to uncover needs in a sales environment which is unfamiliar to the sales person. “Boundaryless Selling” or selling across a range of products requires a consultative approach — listening to customers’ needs.

Understanding the cycle

Commenting on the programmes, Carole Plant said: “Huthwaite’s researchbased models are powerful training tools. The objective results provide clear insights into behaviours and how these can be developed. The flexibility of the models has enabled us to customise the programmes to meet our aims in making it relevant to a disparate sales force.”

Huthwaite is also working with Avis Fleet Services to develop its salespeople and establish common structures. Avis Fleet Services wanted to take a fresh look at the way in which it managed the sales process, especially “long cycle selling”. A key criterion in their choice of training provider was a comprehensive understanding of sales managers and long cycle selling, especially for multiple European cultures.

Huthwaite has introduced sales and sales management tools which have been incorporated into daily practice as well as providing a common language and approach across the company’s European operations.