7 Must-have Skills for a Sales Person and the Role of Training


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  • Welcome to the presentation, “7 Must-have Skills for a Sales Person and Role of Training”.
  • According to a research by Harvard Business Review only 1 out of 250 sales people exceeded their targets. Only 9.1% of the sales meetings result in a sale. Why is it that some sales people succeed and some don’t?
  • Experts attribute this success to certain skills that winning sales people possess that distinguish them from others. Let’s look at some of these skills.
  • Developing good listening skills is part of developing good communication skills, as communication includes listening as well. Sales people need to assess the needs of their customers accurately, to judge if the person is a good prospect, or not. They also need to listen well, as customers might be passing on valuable information, which can help in making a sales pitch. Therefore, a good sales person needs to have good listening skills.
  • Asking correct questions and at the appropriate time is an important skill required by a sales person. Questions can be a powerful tool to persuade people or in building relationships. They need to know about different types of questions such as - open and closed end questions, funnel questions and more. We use all these types of questions in our day to day life but a sales person needs to be conscious and know when to use which type of question.
  • Sales people should know the product being sold, inside out. Only a thorough knowledge about the product will enable them to talk convincingly to prospects, which in turn ups their chances of selling.
  • Sales people should recognize the various steps involved in a sales process. Identifying the prospects, preparation for the meeting, product presentation, handling objections, identifying the buying signals, closing the sale and follow-up are important steps in the sales process. Breaking down the sales process ensures that sales people build up on where they are comfortable and work on the areas they need to improve.
  • Sales people should know what are the typical objections raised by customers. This helps them to handle objections such that it does not come in the way of closing a sale. Sales people need to be up to date with information such as offers from competitors, market trends and updates that might help tackle customer objections.
  • Buying signals indicate that a prospect is willing to invest in the product he has just been introduced to. Buying signals could be in the form body language, questions or statements that the prospect makes and sales people should be smart enough to identify them during their course of conversation with clients. Based on this they will be able to help customer make choices and also reassure them of the decision.
  • Negotiating and closing skills are essential prerequisites of selling. Sales team need to know about discounts that can be offered, the clauses that are non-negotiable and circumstances where they can make exceptions, the conditions that govern them and so on. Sales people need to have the ability to use this information judiciously to conclude the sale.
  • Let’s look at all the skills that a winning sales person possesses. [Pause]Is it possible for sales people acquire these skills in a 2-3 day training program? These skills can only be developed over a period of time.
  • 2-3 days training can only bring awareness about the need for these skills. Sales people cannot become experts at the end of the training program. Sales people develop their skills over a period of time.They fine tune their abilities either from their peers or while on the job. Can organizations providea formal structured help at hand for them to take it forward instead of just relying on ad hoc possibilities?
  • Organizations can facilitate the development of these skills for the sales personnel by creating a collaborative learning environment within the organization. It helps sales team to continue learning even after their initial sales training program. This learning platform can be a catalyst that helps Sales people develop these skills over a period of time.
  • Let’s see how a collaborative learning environment is different. Learning snippets can be bite sized. Information can be accessed either through laptops or smartphones. Knowledge can be packaged in multiple formats such as videos, podcasts or simple PDF documents. This collaborative environment can have chats and discussion forums which enables sales people to interact with their peers not just within their region but across different regions. Content can be pushed to the sales people when there are important updates and sales people can pull up the relevant content when needed from this single platform.
  • Let’s now look at some ideas how this collaborative learning environment can be used to build essential skills in a sales person.
  • You can develop a bite-sized modules – not more than 2-3 mins of listening comprehension. A sales person will have to listen to a customer, client or prospect talk and then answer questions based on what they have just heard.
  • What are the right questions to ask? Scenarios developed for the purpose can help sales person understand the use of questions and their application. These can be in the form of short clips or quizzes. Alternatively, a scenario can be given and sales people can be asked to choose the right question in a given situation. It then becomes and interactive exercise.
  • Sales people receive training about the sales process of an organization when they join the organization. However, it is useful to revisit the process and reinforce its relevance and importance from time to time. This can be in the form of refresher training which can be taken online at the time convenient to the sales person.
  • eLearning and mLearning can be effectively used to train sales people on products. Videos or animations of the product features could be prepared and used to reinforce knowledge of the sales staff about products. Online format is best to provide product updates and market information to sales people who spend maximum time on the field.
  • Training for handling customer objections, identifying buying signals and tips for negotiating and closing skills can be done through scenarios, real-life examples and case studies.
  • A lone sales person working in a distant territory might have his or her downtimes. It is during these times that an online community will help pep up a sales person’s spirits. It could be in the form of an informal platform where sales people can learn from each other’s experiences. This helps share information, exchange note and build on their skills while learning from each other.
  • Winning sales people are said to possess certain specific skills-set. These skill sets cannot be build over night. It needs continuous and ongoing effort both on the part of the organization as well as the individual. Online training methods can be creatively used to build these essential skills effectively in a sales person.
  • 7 Must-have Skills for a Sales Person and the Role of Training

    1. 1. Source: http://hbr.org/hb/article_assets/hbr/1012/F1012Z_A_lg.gif
    2. 2. Skills of a Winning Sales Person
    3. 3. Skills of a Winning Sales Person Listening skills • Essential for good communication • Helps gain valuable information from customers.
    4. 4. Skills of a Winning Sales Person Questioning skills • Essential for persuasion • Building relationships Who? What? When? How?
    5. 5. Skills of a Winning Sales Person Knowing the product • Helps convince customers • Prepared to answer customer queries
    6. 6. Skills of a Winning Sales Person Recognizing the process • Helps identify their comfort zones • Can work on areas they need to improve
    7. 7. Skills of a Winning Sales Person Understanding customer objections • Based on market trends • Competitor offerings
    8. 8. Skills of a Winning Sales Person Identifying buying signals • Enable customers to make a choice • Reassure the customers of their decision
    9. 9. Skills of a Winning Sales Person Negotiating and closing skills • Offers and discounts possible • Clauses non-negotiable
    10. 10. Skills of a Winning Sales Person • Listening skills • Questioning skills • Knowing the product • Recognizing the process • Understanding customer objections • Identifying buying signals • Negotiating and closing skills Can sales people acquire these skills in a 2-3 day training program?
    11. 11. Skills of a Winning Sales Person • Training sales people on all the skills they need for selling is difficult through a classroom training session. • Limited time • Limited reach • Can there be a structured continual support? Can there be a structured continual support?
    12. 12. • Collaborative Learning Environment acts as a catalyst that fosters learning on a continual basis.
    13. 13. Collaborative Learning Environment Features of a collaborative learning • environment • Bite-sized learning modules • Access through multiple devices • Available in multiple formats • Interaction with peers through chats and discussion forums • Push and Pull content for learning
    14. 14. Collaborative Learning Environment Ideas for skills building through a collaborative learning environment. • Resource pool that can be populated on the learning portal
    15. 15. Listening Skills Develop listening skills • though bite size modules of listening comprehension
    16. 16. Questioning Skills • Get them to ask the right questions  Use scenarios, short clips and quizzes
    17. 17. Sales Process Knowledge • Reinforce process knowledge  Online refresher training
    18. 18. Product Knowledge • Product Knowledge through eLearning & mLearning modules
    19. 19. Selling Strategies • Handling customer objections • Identifying buying signals • Negotiating and Closing Skills
    20. 20. Social Learning • Wikis, Discussions Boards, Forums etc.
    21. 21. Conclusion • Winning sales people are said to possess certain specific skills-set. • Online training methods can be creatively used effectively, to build these essential skills, in a sales person. • A collaborative learning environment with all the essential resources can be a useful learning platform for a sales person.
    22. 22. To read more such articles, please visit blog.commlabindia.com