Develop effective selling skills and you will prosper
Ongoing training is a must for any professional, but especially salespeople. I watch for relevant programs, and recently had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Mike Theisen, president of Sales Management & Marketing Solutions, LLC, of Waukesha, Wis.
Mike has decades of sales and sales coaching experience. His seminar, “Building an Effective Sales Team,” covered a lot of ground in roughly 30 minutes. Here is a recap of just some of my notes.
Veteran salespeople remember the famous ABC “rule”: Always Be Selling.
Mike offers an improved version:
Attunement: Being in tune with customer needs
Buoyancy: Able to handle rejection and other challenges
Clarity of your message: benefits, product information, and such
You notice how the contemporary sales technique takes a softer and customer-centered approach.
Mike’s suggestions for successful selling include:
1. Develop rapport with your prospects.
2. Probe for and uncover client needs and pain. Have your client determine the cost of not following through.
3. Discover the client’s decision-making process. Is it by committee, or does one person have that authority? (To which I add: make sure you’re meeting with the decision maker.)
4. Present a solution to eliminate those pains or needs. You’re not just selling a product or service.
Salespeople are trained to be observant and to adapt their comments accordingly. Mike suggests salespeople use this sales technique, offered in the acronym FORM.
F- Learn about the client’s family. A few details about spouse and children can help you.
O- The person’s occupation. How much do you know about the person’s day?
R- What does the person like to do for recreation? Can you relate to any of the hobbies or interests?
M- What kind of message or “vibe” does the person project? Can you tune into that and show genuine interest and understanding?
As a professional sales trainer, Mike strongly encourages ongoing training for salespeople. Areas to focus on include:
1. Listening skills
2. Strategic sales skills
3. Prospecting skills: make sure to include social media
4. Improvisational skills: sharpen your ability to think on your feet
5. Probing skills: Asking the right questions
Effective selling requires reviewing and using sales training techniques. Mike offered a lot of good information; I took more than two pages of notes, and intend to review them regularly.
What sort of sales training program does your firm offer? Do you feel it properly enhances your selling skills? What sales techniques, good and bad, have you observed? Feel free to comment below.
For related reading, see “Consultative selling leads to selling solutions” and “6 more tips to generate business this year.”
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