People who are good at making connections are often described as natural born salespersons, but the fact is investing in the development of a company’s sales force will help provide a competitive advantage and improve profitability.
Successful sales training programs provide essential tools that help employees build stronger relationships with clients and close more deals. Employees tend to stay in positions where they feel successful, so this improved success may lead to improved employee satisfaction and loyalty.
One mistake businesses make when looking at sales training programs is investing in new or junior employees and ignoring more seasoned professionals. Seasoned veterans may be looking for support that will take them to the next level in their careers, or they may need support with ever evolving technology that comes second nature to the up-and-coming generation.
With that in mind, comprehensive sales training programs need to address the basics for the newbies and the finer points for those with years of experience. In addition, it needs to be flexible enough that team members can engage in it without cutting into the time they need to spend with customers and closing deals.
In this guide, we’ll explain everything there is to know about sales training programs including:
There’s a lot more to finding new clients than just picking up the phone and asking to speak to the person who does the buying for your product and service. It’s useful to train sales teams on sales prospecting, finding quality leads, and questioning techniques that lead clients all the way through the sales process.
If a salesperson isn’t prospecting - or looking for new clients - they won’t make their sales quotas. For salespeople, the purpose of prospecting is to create a pipeline of qualified customers. Training should focus on consultative selling techniques that help potential customers see that they need a company's products and services.
It's important that salespeople develop the skills to identify quality leads. Do they have the need, decision-making authority, and budget to purchase? If so, proceed. If not, it's likely time to move on.
Advanced questioning techniques help salespeople dig into the heart of a potential customer’s business. Training should include the art of asking open-ended questions that allow for a fact-finding dialogue that leads to a fuller understanding of a customer’s business and leads them toward a “yes”.
Customer service should not just be about fixing problems; it should be about continuing and strengthening the relationship between your customer and your company.
As mentioned before, sales is about making new connections -- and part of that is understanding what makes each customer tick. A useful skill in sales training programs is teaching team members how to identify a prospect or customer’s personality type.
In 1928, William Moulton Marston published a book called “Emotions of Normal People,” outlining the DISC personality system. In it, he defined four quadrants of personality that determine how people react in their everyday lives. Later, Walter Clarke took the theory further and created the DISC personality profile that is still in use today.
Training that helps salespeople understand the different personality types enables them to tailor their selling technique to hit the customer’s sweet spot.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all sales technique. Businesses should adopt and train staff on a sales methodology that enhances their strengths and addresses customer demands. Think of it as a playbook that guides and informs tactics throughout the sales process.
Sales training programs that include different methodologies can enhance a sales team’s effectiveness. Some popular methodologies include cyclical selling, field, sales, and tiered selling.
Changes in economic or seasonal conditions, and other factors, can impact sales cycles. Understanding these cyclical swings can help salespeople plan and design a better process for any industry. With proper training, a sales professional will understand what forces impact the sales cycles of the different industries they serve.
Tools to help them plan their approach:
Once a sales forecasting method has been adopted, sales training should include a template for tracking the data and the details.
Field sales or outside sales is a type of selling strategy where representatives meet prospects face-to-face or outside of the office - for example real estate. It’s important to train outside salespeople to manage their time effectively. The tools of the trade to keep them on track include:
Research has shown that outside sales reps are more effective at closing big-ticket purchases, so training in effective sales techniques is imperative.
Tiered selling is a way to bundle features into multiple packages where each package is sold at a different price. This targets customers either with varying budgets or those who value features differently. Bundles are common for software as a service subscriptions, or credit cards. These tiers are often given names such as:
The benefits of this technique are it encourages existing customers to upgrade, while giving new customers an opportunity to trial the product with a lower cost of entry. Studies show that when faced with multiple options, customers make a quicker purchase decision and use the remaining time to focus on which option they are going to purchase.
No matter which selling methodology a business uses, closing strategies are essential for a salesperson to master, and therefore should be featured prominently in sales training programs. Customers will give both verbal and nonverbal buying signs, such as nodding and answering questions in the affirmative -- basic positive feedback. It’s imperative that each member of the sales team knows how to spot these signs and close the sale using one of the following techniques:
With proper training, a salesperson’s closing should make the customer feel confident in their decision, so they don’t get struck by buyer’s remorse after the sale.
In today’s climate, companies must use every communication method available to make the sale. Recently, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, companies put greater emphasis on phone selling and virtual presentations to replace face-to-face meetings. It’s not ideal to have to make the switch to distance selling without training, but many companies made it work.
With phone sales, it’s important to set an objective before dialing the phone. Prospects are not inclined to listen to a lengthy sales pitch. Once a salesperson has established the purpose for the call, they must be trained to:
Virtual presentations may require more preparation than in-person presentations. In addition to creating interesting content, the presenter must master the technology used to deliver the information. In order for a salesperson to make the best use of their time, they require training to help them design engaging material that will grab the attention of their audience and get them to respond to a call to action.
Knowing they won’t experience the same type of nonverbal cues as they would in-person, salespeople should encourage interaction through an online Q&A or chat for real-time feedback.
Moving forward, as technology advances and companies find cost savings through these techniques, well-rounded sales training programs will include these valuable distance selling skills.
Partnering with ej4 allows you access to an entire Business Skills library that utilizes best practices in adult learning theory. You’ll find more information on the topics covered above, plus additional sales training topics that will give the novice skills to begin a successful career and help experienced team members reach the next level. In addition, ej4 offers a comprehensive library of soft skills training modules that can benefit anyone on your team.
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