Posted on / Uncategorized

What and how to teach sales staff?

Does your sales department have qualified and competent salespeople who professionally establish contacts with customers and easily find a way out of any difficulty? You are very lucky! But what if the picture is not so rosy? Find out what prevents your employees from getting results…


Successful implementation of the company’s product is the basis of the life of the company, the meaning of its business.

And a strong headache…

What and how to teach sales staff

Marketing units (and in their sad absence – the owners and directors of companies) with varying degrees of success predict market behavior and the niche in which they will promote their products. But, even having correctly defined the circle of their consumers, each business faces the problem of realization of the goods in frequently changing conditions of the external environment, demanding constant adaptation of the goods and methods of its promotion.

One of the usual and quite successful and leverages to promote the product is the sales department. And it seems that with the right organization, its employees, and in the end, the entire organization must be successful…. But…

Good sellers are not born

It’s a given! And those who occasionally – no more than one in 500 thousand – are born, create their own business and do not go to you to hire. This means that different people can come: able and not so, suitable and passing, active and sleepy, inventive and lazy…..

What should we do anyway?

How do you find a good salesman

To start with, decide – who do you need?

A young, but not very young, with experience in your field or at least with experience in sales, who received real results that can be confirmed, preferably with the recommendation of the head, of course, with education not below college, preferably read, with a competent speech, able to logically think and plan their work, special requirements for the availability of a driver’s license and knowledge of foreign languages and so on … Possible additions, but I named the main. It seems to have taken into account everything or almost everything.

Place a vacancy on websites, recruiting agencies, and resumes flowed down the river. There’s no one there, nothing to be praised. It’s just not clear what all this has to do with the job.

For example, we placed a vacancy “sales manager”, specified the selection criteria and received the following CV from a specialist with higher education (Institute of Economics and Finance), age – 27 years. A family man writes about his job duties – “counting money per shift” (gambling business), and in the key skills and achievements indicates: “I am engaged in business – there is a point in the market”. Exercise in your spare time: “Favorite sport is rowing, I did well, there was no good sponsor to achieve more”.

No comments are required.

And how to choose?

You can competently, which means a long test, looking closely into the eyes, catching on mistakes and repetitions, and sometimes on deception. You can buy a pleasant handling and attractive appearance, correct speech forms, subtracted in training materials and heard from experienced people. Alas, all this will not protect us from wrong choices and disappointments in the near future.

What should we do anyway?

Yes, to recruit people,
Yes, to test them,
Yes, consider their education and previous experience,
Yeah, looking into the eyes.
And don’t be seduced!

Because after you have chosen, in your opinion, the most worthy, and they – you, the most interesting begins!

You start building your own trading family!

How do you create a good salesman

As in any family, there is a division of responsibilities in your trading family.

You, as the head of the family, empower everyone: the elders, as the more experienced, load more, and the younger ones – bring up, train, support, encourage and, if necessary, punish, explaining why.

So, what and how to teach sales staff, or

A good salesman is…

Competence, qualification, professionalism in establishing contacts, ability to effectively cope with obstacles and competent completion of the transaction.

Competence is the knowledge of the subject or service offered to the buyer.

It seems so obvious…

However, how many times have you encountered the incompetence of sellers, which not only discourages the desire to communicate with them, but sometimes distracts from the store or office to sell services!

Every good seller is interested in the subject (product or service) that he is doing. He is constantly studying his product/service and you are helping him to do so.

You can’t just give an employee a booklet with a description and expect him to become a professional after reading it. At best, he or she will study the material from cover to cover, but he or she will not become competent until he or she is tuned in to the product, until he or she feels the confidence coming from you that you are proud of the product, that the buyer is really getting the benefit and opportunity to solve their problems with it.

A few years ago I was hired by a Dutch industrial pump company. The pumps, in my opinion, were quite good, but not outstanding. In an interview, the sales director punched himself in the chest and asked me in pure English: “Do you believe that our pumps are the most-most? The second confusion that affected my face was enough for him to decide not to hire me. And it’s the right thing to do! Without a passion for the product being promoted, it is difficult to sell it successfully.

Qualification is the professional development of a salesman.

It is always possible to achieve more by starting from certain basic provisions, constantly adapting them to their conditions and personal characteristics. Basics are role-playing games in which the seller learns to work with people by playing “different sides of the grid” and using certain behavioral patterns and key techniques that you teach him at the start. Then, by understanding the current situations that took place in his practice or in the practice of his colleagues, you teach him not to accept rejection as a personal failure, honing his skills, increasing his professionalism and confidence. When teaching practical skills, you create a comfortable environment for the employee, explaining that the analysis of the situation is made in order to improve the work of the entire sales department and is not a harbinger of punitive action on your part.

As marketing director and head of sales in the absence of a training budget, I had to do my own role-playing and product training. We held product lessons at our warehouse twice a week in the mornings, when the presence of 1-2 managers in the sales area was sufficient to serve incoming customers. Having preliminary studied the description of the goods (the firm was engaged in sports goods and stock, and the price-list consisted initially of 3 thousand names), we in a warehouse physically got acquainted with the goods, examined it, revealed advantages – that is formed about it full representation. Then managers got acquainted with the organization of the ordering process – the software that they had to use in their work. This was followed periodically – first every two weeks and then once a month – by testing managers for “material knowledge”. They liked this process because they were not afraid of the exam, but could ask all the questions they were interested in and get comprehensive answers, thus expanding their horizons and increasing their self-confidence.

The role-playing games were held once a week, in the evening, for 45 minutes. As a rule, we were able to “play” two or three situations and discuss our current problems in communication with customers. Sometimes, at the suggestion of managers, we played for an hour. Sometimes we would not play, but would brainstorm to solve difficult situations. For example, what should we do if we don’t have the goods of the required quality at the moment and the delivery time of this goods to the customer is not convenient?

Professionalism in establishing contacts – is the ability to correctly assess a potential buyer so as not to waste time talking to unnecessary people, not only to start a conversation with the client, but also to be able to “reveal” him, listen to him, understand what he cares about, what he came for.

This is a very important psychological aspect of the seller’s work – the ability to establish a trusting contact. Here you need your support, the strong shoulder of the older one.

What and how to teach sales staff

In fact, the process of selling / buying can be compared with acting, with reincarnation. There is such a technique in psychology – adjustment of breathing. You adjust to the rhythm and breathing style of another person, and if the adjustment is successful, the person perceives your position and agrees with it.

The salesman’s main tool is his mouth. Words which are pronounced by people, can create contacts, and can destroy them. In the salesman’s profession, unlike many others, you constantly find yourself in new and unrepeated situations, which is equivalent to many opportunities to make new mistakes. It is encouraging that if the seller learns a lot of right phrases and concentrates on a relaxed, confident manner of talking to a promising buyer, he will have almost no time to worry about the wrong choice of words and themes.

Practice is very important here – exercises and rehearsals – before the action. The opportunity to practice conversation in pairs is priceless, but if it is difficult to organize it, it can help known from childhood habit of imagining future conversation in front of the mirror, talking for yourself and for your opponent questions and answers. The main thing is that there is no one to be embarrassed about – there is only you.

If the seller does not know what he is going to say or do until he finds himself in front of the buyer, he is already late.

Handling obstacles effectively – knowing or modelling the anticipated questions or objections of a potential buyer, what reactions and answers are best, and what suggestions a seller must make to encourage a buyer to make a deal.

It seems to be obvious, too, but ask your sellers who is ready for the buyer’s objections and how they are going to respond to them?

There are many techniques that professionals use. These are the ability to ask the right questions using the so-called tie-ups, and the method of alternative offensive (a question that involves two answers – both positive and moving your potential buyer to an important decision to buy), and the well-known “hedgehog method”, and the use of leading questions to help the buyer to streamline the decision to buy, and so on.

You may be advised to conduct training sessions with external experts, or to learn how to sell to each other in an internal training session by first reading the training materials that you can buy online or at bookstores. Competent completion of a deal is the tip of the iceberg, the meaning of everything.

It often happens that the buyer is ready to make a purchase, and the seller says and speaks, as not everything has been told about the product. This leads to sudden objections from the buyer, and the transaction is broken. It is important to correctly assess the buyer’s readiness to complete the transaction.

For this there is such a technique as a test question. It gives the seller an incentive. Ask, “What is the most convenient delivery date for you – the first or the twelfth?” – and if the buyer answers that the item under discussion he needs to the first, then he practically bought the goods, and we are consistently moving towards a deal. Here you can also use such techniques as “erroneous conclusion”, “hedgehog” and so on.

The greatest number of dangers awaits the seller when he begins to do the calculations and leaves the buyer one-on-one with his doubts. Work with documentation should be carried out at a reflex level: do not disconnect from the buyer and do not let him get bored.

When the trial completion method is triggered, you should immediately, but gently go to the main completion method.

Most people want the goods immediately when they make a purchase decision. In this case, all talk of other options is like playing with dynamite. You need the goods immediately. It is yours. The main principle of success here is to help people make decisions that will benefit them. All actions of the seller should be based on understanding this principle.

Long-term success can only be created on the basis of personal honesty that sustains the trust of others in the seller. The reason why many people need help in making decisions is because they are afraid to make bad choices.

The seller’s actions in this case:

The seller must see the advantage, advantages and limitations of the product/service through the eyes of the potential buyer and highlight those advantages that are of particular interest to the buyer.

Seller must radiate the confidence that it is able to meet all of the buyer’s requirements.

And then…

The signal that the deal is coming to an end and the buyer is ready to buy is a slowdown or unexpected acceleration of the conversation, a situation where the buyer mainly listens and suddenly starts asking questions or when he favors the trial, and so on.

Here it is important to provide psychological comfort to the buyer – not to change the warm tone of communication for a cold business style, not to strain, not to change the manners or pace of speech. And if the buyer is distracted – you should take a pause and look at him closely until his attention is again completely focused on you.

For the loser is the one who will speak first!

The process of making a deal is a very interesting game and you can talk about it endlessly. But we are limited by time, so I would just like to stress that the inspiration of the seller, who made a good deal for both sides, can only be compared to a protracted jump and the feeling of a successful landing after all the turbulent air currents that threw you from side to side, and you still won!

And what if the result is not the same, the situation seems to be poorly managed, or even just terrible?

What if it’s not right…

When the sales volume starts to fall, it means that you have moved away from your rules and stopped doing what you should do.

And the recipe is simple – out! Tear yourself away from your chair, remember the basics of the basics and do what you have to do, without delaying or waiting for the right time to come. If there are several managers/salesmen under your supervision, remember: they look at you and follow your example. And if they see your confusion – the process becomes uncontrollable, they wander around and do not work.

My experience with a travel sales company, both for corporate clients and end consumers, has allowed me to manage this process better after I have worked in the workplace of each manager myself or with him. I got a better understanding of customer expectations, strengths and weaknesses of our firm, was able to help each manager to develop the skills they need for successful work and to evaluate our services from outside. Following the wishes of our clients, we expanded the range of services, added excursions, which, as it turned out, were expected from us, and our tours “flirted”. Thus, when visiting Helsinki in the 1990s nobody offered tourists with children to visit the wonderful zoo on the island, where many animals are kept not in a cage, but in conditions close to natural. Later, other tourist companies started offering this excursion, but we were the first to offer it and the sales volume grew by 50%. It is interesting that many adults participated in this kind of entertainment with great interest.

Try to look at the situation in a new, creative way.