- Knowledge Center
Some people think all you need is a good personality and persistence to make it in the world of sales, but most seasoned sales professionals know they need to sharpen their selling skills by continuously learning and practicing.
Learning how to apply what you know and adapt as needed in changing economies and social environments is essential if you want to succeed in selling.
Just like any professional athlete will tell you, they get a serious amount of coaching and practicing to achieve their top performance, shouldn’t your skills as a sales professional be as sharp as those athletes?
In sales as in sports you need to stay current with the skills you need to succeed as well as to stay current with the new technology that will be of great benefit to your sales career.
Having the internet and information technology at everyone’s finger tips makes things even more interesting for the world of sales. Salespeople benefit from all new technology and developments but at the same time they have to be very well informed to be able to handle a prospect that has all the information available online about the product or service he is interested in.
Nowadays making the sale requires something more than just smooth talking, it requires the salesperson to be in tune with current information technology to be ready to handle any questions, objections or any inquiries the prospect has for them.
But no matter how informed the prospect is about your product or service, the salesperson’s primary goal should be to develop a good line of communication and gain that prospect trust, because without it closing the sale will not be an easy task.
This is one of those phrases you have to take out of your vocabulary; you have to realize at some point that what worked for you five years or ten years ago has become obsolete.
Your willingness to keep your skills sharp and keep your game plan fresh is what is going to make you more successful. Do you think successful companies use the same programs or routines year after year after year?
Make sure that you as a salesperson stay as sharp as possible and in tune with technology to make sure you are always at the top of your game. “Continuous Improvement, that’s what it’s all about” says Nick Terrenzi from SELLability.com
If you google sales training you will find a whole variety of programs that promise to make you a better salesperson, the question is: Do you want to be the best salesperson they want you to be? Or would you like to find out what strengths you already have and improve on the ones you need to?
This is the secret of SELLability! You find out what your exact strengths are and what you need to improve on.
You might already be excellent at developing good communication, maybe you are a good storyteller, or you are a good listener or a good negotiator, but there could be something that is holding you back from your true potential, aren’t you curious what that could be?
No matter where you decide to do your sales training, start by taking the Sales Skills Assessment at Sellability.com to find out what your strengths and weaknesses are exactly. You will be glad you did!
Selling is an exchange where both parties win. Being more prepared means you will have more chances to help more customers get exactly what they need and close more sales.
From time-to-time, almost every company needs a quick revenue boost for a quarter, a year-end, or a number of other reasons. However, you don’t want to do it at the expense of longer term growth or by jeopardizing profits. How do you go about doing it without throwing a lot of money or time into the project?
This relatively short program for boosting your sales can buy you time to execute your strategy for sustained growth, while leaving you in a better position to achieve it. The sequence of the actions is important, so follow the steps in order to maximize its effectiveness.
Find out from your sales executive what barriers or problems he considers he has that are preventing him from creating higher sales. This could include problems from other parts of the company, from competition, or some other factor. Almost invariably, you’ll hear many reasons external to sales, such as shortcomings in marketing, product quality or a down economy. Get a list of those external barriers, but be careful not to accept these reasons as THE reasons why they don’t have higher sales.
One of the big mistakes in sales is ascribing low sales to someone else or something else other than what you can control. Once you “give over” that control you suddenly find yourself without the ability to really handle your own productivity; and what a trap that becomes!
Start by prioritizing these items and immediately set about getting the barriers and inefficiencies addressed by those whose job it is to handle the parts of the organization where a problem has arisen.
Now start addressing the quantity of customer touches by increasing the effort and efficiency of your sales reps. Gather and examine those numbers in detail. First, look at the combined numbers for the whole organization and work your way down to the individual reps.
Appeal to the sales reps’ competitive nature and challenge them to keep up with their rival reps. Get each area and individual to increase their output to at least the levels of the comparison point you identified.
If a rep can do 100 touches in the best of conditions while working very diligently but they are only doing 80, you are losing 20% of your potential revenue from them. Get every incremental gain you can from each rep and team. This can add up fast across an entire Sales organization.
Now you need to improve their skills to increase the quality of the touches. Ensure you maintain the higher quantity you achieve from the above actions while you turn your focus to quality to maximize your gains. If the quantity slips, go back and fix it fast before moving on with the quality steps.
Listen to their phone calls, read e-mails, go with them to meetings or whatever means allows you to inspect the communication your reps are having with prospects. Correct them with constructive feedback. Just knowing that you are checking or accompanying them will cause many to step up their quality and perform at their best. Inspect for such things as:
Use the materials from your Sales training and show them precisely where they misapplied it or didn’t apply it. If you don’t have training for the Sales team, you should remedy this fast. SELLability can help with that.
You’ll find some reps have multiple points that need to be corrected, but don’t try to fix everything at once. Pick the most important point and correct that. Ensure that point is fully corrected before you move on to the next point. Don’t overwhelm them with criticism and remember to validate them for what they are doing well.
Share the most effective customer touches made by your best reps with the rest of the team so they see examples of doing it the right way and the great results from doing so.
You should see some fast results from the above steps and buy you some time to dig into the other areas of the company for further improvements and sustained growth. The best news is that your work in sales will better position them to capitalize on the improvements throughout the rest of the company.
CEO, SELLability LLC
As salespeople, we truthfully love the sale, the whole sales process and all of the challenges that culminate in the CLOSE!
Each close brings us happiness, a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction for a job well done, but how long does this last? Depending on how big the close was or how strategically important it was, the sense of accomplishment lasts for a certain time or as most salespeople say, “not long enough!” We all want the “Close feeling” to last for as long as possible so we try to stay connected to the sale somehow.
For example, salespeople try to get involved in the delivery or customer service end usually justifying it because “I need to ensure my customer is well taken care of” or “It’s a complicated sale. I want to make sure it gets done right”. Etc. The reality of it is that this is NOT the job of the sales person. Furthermore, salespeople LOSE MONEY when they are not working on creating a sale, selling and closing deals.
As salespeople we are only truly happy when we are closing. There always should be a nice acknowledgement when the sale is closed and then the delivery team should take over the client and service them extremely well. By doing so, sets up future sales for you! As long as the delivery team does in fact take care of your customers well, you can then take your attention off of that closed sale and put your attention on new potential sales that can then be closed.
Salespeople who consistently close are very happy salespeople indeed! Salespeople caught up in delivery and customer service issues are not happy and tend to create internal conflict by trying to take over another department’s job, such as delivery.
One of the key functions of management is to keep salespeople consistently focused on selling and closing. It is only in this way, that you can have consistent expansion. This is the only real way to handle the ups and downs of your income. Go ahead and graph your income for the last 3 months. The pattern is most likely up and down.
Do you want to have consistent, expanding income? If so, make sure you have good delivery and customer service departments that are 100% focused on taking over the completed sale and creating perfect service for every one of your clients. Then get onto closing more and more sales.
For sales management personnel and business owners, make sure the above happens and your salespeople stay focused on selling and watch the “Ups” get higher and the “Lows” get higher and the company have consistent income!
We look forward to your feedback and sharing your success from the application of the above.
It was a little more than three hundred years ago when the only way of communicating with each other was face to face or with elaborate hand writing. In the late 1600’s the United States Post Office was created and now people could mail letters to each other, even though it would take a long time to get to each other. In the past we usually communicated to each other face to face. Business was done at lunch meetings and we flew or drove to meet our clients in person. In this way we felt we really knew each other and could maintain our business relationship.
Fast forward to today, and you can surely see the benefits of our communications advancement with the emergence of the internet and mobile technology and this will only continue to grow. There are good benefits as well as problems that come from this advancement, but whether we like it or not, we all must learn to use the new technologies well if we want to keep up and communicate with others.
Obviously, the introduction of the new technologies, including; cell phones, the ability to text, social media outlets such as Facebook, LinkedIn and twitter has altered the way we communicate with each other greatly as well as the speed in which that communication takes place.
An additional problem the technology has brought upon us is the ability to use it anywhere. I am sure you have all experienced meeting someone for the first time, only to have them be immersed in their cell phone, talking, texting or emailing on it. This exasperates the problem because of the constant interruptions making it all but impossible to have a real communication with each other. Even the face time that we supposedly have is not really quality face time because it is a continually distracted face time.
In the end, there really is no substitute for real live communication between two or more people. However, if the user of the technology controls his use of it well, he can reap the benefits of it without causing or allowing interruptions and/or distractions to enter into his conversations making the one he’s in that much more effective.
Implement a system where you put importance on each one of your communications, whether it is a conversation over the phone, in person, a meeting, a seminar, event etc. by not allowing any distraction or disruption to occur during each of your communications. Insist on this with others as well and get it being used within your entire organization for more effective communication and overall productivity.
Every day, salespeople deal with resistance because the sales process is an emotional one. I would like to help mitigate and make less of that resistance and possibly even make the whole sales process enjoyable! Here are a few actions you can adopt, make your own and work into your sales selling habits to help you turn your prospects resistance into a desire to purchase.
It’s hardly a shocking revelation to say that sales people are an independent-minded lot. Being able to determine your own income directly through your own efforts is one reason people gravitate to sales as a profession, but self-determination requires self-reliance, and self-reliance, as observation of any 2-year-old will demonstrate, can sometimes be taken a little too far. We can all use a bit of help now and again. Now, if those artsy types over in marketing would skip the fancy stuff and just bring in better leads, we’d be fine, right?—We’d make our sales calls and that would be that.
Meanwhile, over in the Marketing Department, people are scratching their heads wondering how it is that their latest campaign brought in more leads than ever before, but the complaints from the Sales Department are as loud as ever. Sales doesn’t talk to Marketing and Marketing isn’t talking to Sales other than the occasional meeting to brief them on the latest campaign.
Sound familiar? You bet it does. We find some variation of this scenario every time we’re called in to turn around a low closing ratio or boost a company’s bottom line. It’s a damaging state of affairs for any business, because Marketing and Sales are not independent departments, they are both part of a single process whose only purpose is to persuade more people buy from you than from the competition. Marketing grew from advertising, and advertising is a direct descendant of salesmanship; all three are different views of the same subject.
Marketing Collateral and Sales
The seminal book on advertising, Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins, was published in 1923. It’s not in print any more, but you can find it online in various places such as <ahref=”http://scientificadvertising.blogspot.com/”>this website. It’s worth your time to read, whether you’re in marketing or in sales. Advertising legend David Oglivy has this to say:
“Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times. It changed the course of my life.”
Chapter Two of Scientific Advertising is called “Just Salesmanship.” It opens with: “To properly understand advertising or to learn even its rudiments one must start with the right conception. Advertising is salesmanship. Its principles are the principles of salesmanship.”
Printed Marketing Collateral.
So here’s a radically new, old idea: why not have printed marketing collateral that directly aids the sales person and guides the prospect through the sales process for that product or service? Pipe dream? Not at all. One of the key pieces of the sales puzzle is the marketing collateral we create for the sales force, and the training we provide in its effective use. Properly done collateral makes an immediate emotional impact on the prospect, engages their attention, and keeps both the prospect and the sales person focused on the essential steps of the sales process. It “amplifies” the sales presentation, making it more effective and making it harder to be lured into interesting conversation that doesn’t move toward a close. (Admit it; we all let ourselves get side-tracked, so something that gently guides us in the right direction is a Good Thing.)
Sales Feeds Back to Marketing
One of the biggest things that Marketing people need to know is how the public react. They sweat over a new campaign, they survey and re-survey, they run focus groups and they test-market and then they survey some more. All that surveying is expensive, but surveys are essential if you want to be effective in your advertising. “Advertising is salesmanship.”—That is a clue. What marketing departments the world over constantly overlook is that they have an army of surveyors constantly in contact with new and existing customers: the sales force. Nobody knows how customers and prospects react better than sales people. Nobody knows what customers are vitally interested in better than sales people. A bit of quality time spent with each member of the sales team can give a marketing manager live, up-to-the-minute intelligence on his or her public. Marketing based on good feedback from the sales team is more productive because it addresses the exact things that the sales team needs.
The Bottom Line
When Marketing and Sales realize their kinship and start to work more closely together, the inevitable results are higher closing ratios, smoother sales presentations, better leads created by more on-point advertising, and happier (and wealthier!) sales people. If you’re not talking to your marketing people, start today. You never know how good things can get until you try.
Whether or not you enjoy talking to people, if you don’t have well-rounded communication skills, you will never achieve what you set out to. The ability to communicate well with almost anyone is universally agreed upon as a key element of both successful selling and success in general.
You’ve probably been in a conversation with someone who didn’t really care if you understood what he said or not. There was no intention behind the words for the communication to be understood by you. Therefore, the one doing the communicating didn’t get his message across and the communication cycle broke down.
Not having the intention for a communication to be received and failing to notice if the other person was ready to receive a communication in the first place are two of the biggest causes of communication breakdowns which result in a failure to sell.The salesperson is so busy talking that he never realizes the prospect tuned out a long time ago.
It is not a coincidence that the top salespeople in any industry are also good communicators. They have the ability to listen to their prospects and not just aimlessly speak. And when they do speak, they do it very well and are able to communicate their ideas and the solutions that their product or service will bring to the prospect’s lives.
Your communication skills determine your chances of a sale – from the initial contact to the closing of the deal. Developing your conversational skills will help you build on a strong first impression by gaining trust and establishing credibility.
Sales training should help to learn key communication skills such as listening to the prospect to gain an understanding of what he or she truly needs and wants as well as the art of asking the right questions during the presentation. Training should also involve learning how to effectively communicate with all types of personalities and diverse populations.
Here are a few tips to improve your communication skills:
One of the most important steps to improving your communication skills is to understand that listening well is far more important that speaking well.Practice the art of listening by controlling your desire to talk, care enough to pay attention so you don’t have the prospect repeat himself, take short notes and make sure you ask questions to clarify anything that needs deeper understanding.Always look at your prospect in the eye and always summarize the conversation to ensure you understand.
But most of all, master the art of listening.
There are many myths about selling, and one of the most common is that a salesperson is born with the ability to sell: “you either have it or you don’t”. For many salespeople success is a hit or miss proposition; some weeks are good, others poor, and many don’t have a high degree of confidence or security in their job. It is commonplace for an organization to have one or two successful sales reps and a revolving door for all the others.
Why? What are the missing ingredients?
Without question, communication is the heart of life, and the key to success in all areas of it. But what isn’t well known is that communication can be vastly improved with the proper training! In fact, simply by learning the basic principles of communication, one can markedly improve his or her communication skills. But while good communication is essential to selling success, there is much more to the technology of selling.That technology includes understanding the principles of effective control, the laws of interest, the fundamentals of human emotions, and the ability to apply management by statistics. Effective selling also requires a good knowledge of one’s product.
Salespeople are vital to an organization success.
It is often their energy, skill and intention that keep the machine running. There can be a vast difference between a person trained in the technology of selling and one who is not. A properly trained salesperson will earn considerably more money and enjoy greater job security than one who is untrained. For an organization, the difference between a trained sales staff and an untrained one can mean the difference between failure and success. Selling is a technology, and you can master it!
“Great Salespeople Are Not Born, They’re Trained”
“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.” Lee Greenwood