On a recent sales training course I was asked what are the key points the salespeople should consider spending time on to help the increase sales
I found that a difficult question as I suppose everyone’s perception would be different. Being involved in sales and sales training for a number of years in all areas of sales, I suppose there are a few common areas people need to be aware of, so I put my thoughts together and came up with this list.
Overall there are probably a numerous amount of areas but for the purpose of this article I am concentrating on 7 main points that come up time and time again on sales training course.
1. People Buy From People They Like and Trust
I suppose the first point I always say in sales training is that ‘people buy people’, this is so important. It goes without saying the product you are selling is important and so is the price but if someone does not like you or relate to you or indeed trust you it is unlikely you will get that sale over the line; people buy on trust.
So how do you create that trust, I believe that putting people at ease is a massive skill that salespeople need to learn and develop. This is a skill that is often very neglected on sales training courses. It is all about getting good at building rapport and making them first few moments count. Trying to find something you can talk about that will put people at ease.
We have all heard sayings like ‘you only get one chance to make a good first impression’ or sayings like ‘first impressions are lasting’ and the first 30 seconds of a sales call are the most influential.
In my early days in sales I had the opportunity to work with another sales person and watch him in action, he always managed to somehow get the prospects trust in the first moments of the sale.
When he worked Business to Business he always somehow found something good to say about the prospects office or location or reception etc. The when he worked selling direct to consumers in their home he would always admire either the car in the drive, the flowers in the garden, the location they lived in, or the medals and trophies in the sitting room.
He was amazing and he did this in such a natural way that he came across as such a nice genuine person. I often say on sales training courses that I would love to invent a drink that would mean when the salesperson took the drink they would have these automatic sales skills that are so hard to teach in a sales training environment.
So whether you are new to sales, or a seasoned sales professional who has attended advanced sales training courses, always remember People buy people.
2. Asking Relevant Questions
I suppose the second key area for salespeople which can be taught on sales training courses is the importance of ‘asking relevant questions’
We need to remember in sales that selling is not about forcing things on people or even telling people what they need. I remember a telephone sales training course many years ago and the trainer said always remember ‘selling is not telling’
What he meant was that selling is all about asking relevant questions and then listening effectively to the answer and providing a solution. I use the word solution because generally selling is about solving a problem for your customers and providing solutions for their problems.
I was told in sales training over 30 years ago to use the acronym A.L.L.A. which stands for the following:
Ask relevant questions
Listen to the answers
Learn from the answers
You ask relevant questions to establish the need, show you care, show interest, find people concerns and finally to put yourself in a position where you know your product will suit their need and if you do this the sale is inevitable.
Obviously it goes without saying that when you ask relevant questions you must then listen effectively, we all think we listen but often we don’t really take on board what someone is saying and when that happens we miss numerous sales opportunities. This is extremely important for people involved in telesales as quite often telesales people are working in an open plane call center type environment.
We can miss buying signals and areas of concern for the customer by not listening effectively and on telesales training courses and all other forms of telephone sales training all over the country this is an area that needs to be addressed as well as areas such as managing sales objections etc.
3. Sell Benefits Not Features
This is like that old chestnut that keeps coming up in every sales training in the country we must remember to talk benefits not features. Yet when I am running sales training courses I am amazed at the amount of times people still get this wrong and try and sell features. We need to remember people buy what the product will do for them not the product itself.
People buy beauty they do not buy make up, they may purchase the make up but their reason for buying is beauty. I remember many years ago the Volvo car had an excellent reputation for safety, one of their safety features was the introduction of integrated car seats for babies and children. The salesperson selling the car said to me ‘If you had your best china tea set which was worth a lot of money in the back seat of your car, would you secure it? The obvious answer has to be ‘yes’ he then said ‘well your children have to be more precious than the china tea set, would you not agree? To be honest it was a no brainer, he was correct but at no stage did he talk about the features of the car seat it was all about the safety of the children.
It is so important on sales training courses that people understand the difference between features and benefits. The easy way to think about converting a feature into a benefit is as follows:
When you mention a feature, example ‘this Volvo car has integrated car seats’
You then should follow up with ‘which means’. If you do this you are likely to end up talking about the benefits. On our telephone sales training courses we always cover a module referring to the importance of using ‘which means’ to convert the feature into a benefit.