If you’re in the role of salesperson yourself or you’re footing the bill for a sales team, how do you know what selling skills training is best? What skills are actually “trainable” and how will your investments in sales training pay off the most?
You certainly don’t want to waste your time and money on a course when much of the content may not be applicable to your situation. After all, you don’t want to change the individual’s personality, but rather equip him/her with some basic selling skills that will increase sales.
When you combine the natural personality of the salesperson, with a good sales process, and then equip him/her with the right selling skills, you set yourself up for solid success.
In our experience and based on research data from decision makers, following are the 4 selling skills that will generate the biggest payoff…
How to ask for the sale
One study I read recently indicated that 73% of the sales opportunities go by without the salesperson asking for the sale. Shameful. But, how do you ask for the sale? Every situation is different. Don’t use the manipulative closing techniques that are suggested by a lot of the sales training courses.
Salespeople should be trained to hear buying signals and to observe body language that suggests the buyer is ready to make a decision. Also, salespeople should be assisted at developing 2-3 methods that ask the customer to make a decision about next steps. Read more about asking for the sale.
How to uncover a problem and create value
Our research tells us that buyers value a salesperson’s problem solving skills. In fact, in our research when we asked what separates a good salesperson from his/her peers, “demonstrates ability to solve my problem” was most important.
In addition, when we asked decision makers what other traits they value most in salespeople, “actively listens to me” and “asks good questions” came out on top, sited by more than three-fours of the respondents.
Combining the importance of problem solving skills with questioning and listening skills, it’s clear salespeople should be trained and developed to ask the right questions, listen actively for underlying thoughts and motives, and lead a conversation with a buyer to identify and solve the buyer’s problem.
How to gain credibility with your buyer
Many call this building rapport, but I like to think of this as simply gaining credibility with the buyer. No buyer is going to buy from you unless you are trusted.
Building rapport and building credibility with your buyer comes with a variety of skills on which salespeople should be developed. These skills include…
- How to greet the buyer to gain a great first impression
- How to ask a good opening question to get the conversation going
- How to read/assess the natural communication style of the buyer
- How to adjust your communication style to match that of the buyer
Salespeople who are able to do these things well, will quickly generate an emotional connection with the buyer and develop good credibility.
How to trial close and overcome objections
One of the greatest skills to develop in any salesperson is how to trial close. There’s no way you can understand and solve a buyer’s problem if you are not good at asking trial closing questions. Training salespeople on how to trial close will reap huge benefits.
Closely related to trial closing is overcoming objections. Often when you ask a good trial closing question, the buyer may respond with some kind of objection or question that challenges one element of your offering. Developing a salesperson’s ability to acknowledge an objection, be empathetic about it and make a statement to address it, is key to sales success.
In summary, when it comes to developing yourself as a salesperson or developing a team of salespeople, invest your training dollars in certain skills. Don’t try to change the personality of your salesperson or think that you can re-engineer how he/she operates. Instead, focus your development efforts on how to ask for the sale, how to ask questions and listen to identify and solve problems, how to gain credibility with your buyer, and how to ask trial closing questions.