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How to teach your people to sell

So, you have a swanky new store pumped full of all the latest gizmos and gadgets, a top draw brand developed for you by an expensive branding consultant and it’s time to unveil everything to the world... but wait a minute... what about your staff? Are they ready to do what is necessary to make your new offer a success?

All to often, I have seen what, to the untrained eye, is a beautiful physical or digital offer let down by the people who are employed to communicate it to customers. It seems so logical to me - invest in something amazing and staff your offer with amazing people who have the skills to make sure you succeed and you will win - miss one of these and you’ll fail.

So to help you, if you have forgotten about training your staff, here are some basic principles that will get you off the ground:

  1. Look deeper: It is easy to listen to the problem your prospect communicates to you, but always try to look deeper than what they are telling you. Ask questions and try to build the whole picture of the cause, not just the outcome.

  2. Your presentation will not close the deal: You should always help your prospect discover the reasons why it is best to buy from you. Take care of them, empathise, understand and be open. Your prospect should always realise that it is best to buy from you, long before you present your final proposal.

  3. Listen: All too often, salespeople think that in the beginning of a relationship they need to do all the talking, when they should be doing the listening. Keep in mind that a prospect does not want a rundown of all your services, only the ones they are interested in. The sales process should be a conversation, open and honest.

  4. Do not over-educate: All sales begin in a conversation, to learn under what circumstances the prospect will buy from you. Ask questions first and share solutions second.

  5. Over belief: People do not simply buy or say no, they go through a period of discovery before making a decision to buy your product or service. Never ‘pressure’ a customer to buy from you. Sell by telling them the benefits your service or product offers them. Refer to third party endorsements and allow your prospect to own the decision to buy.

  6. You decide too: Remember, you should always ask yourself, is this sale worth pursuing? Is the amount of time and effort involved in closing simply not worth the investment, or vice-versa.

  7. Being a mind reader: Never make assumptions about your prospects needs. Be clear, break the problem down into manageable sizes if necessary and above all think clearly and offer clear solutions. If you are vague, so will your prospect be.

  8. Challenge yourself: Look inwards and ask yourself how can I do this better? Especially if the prospect is stalling. Refine your approach, re-align and go for it again.

  9. Hide nothing: Transparency and openness are critical in todays ‘review inspired’ marketplace. If you lie, or try to cheat your prospect, they will find out and you will suffer. It is true to say that bad service leads to a lot of comment (especially on social media) and good service leads to very little. Remember this.

  10. Learn, teach and sell: If you remember none of the nine points above, remember this, every interaction with a customer that leads to a sale, or doesn’t, is an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to teach them about your product or service and an opportunity to potentially sell. Each is of enormous value. Learning, will help you refine your product or service offer, teaching will help you spread the word about how wonderful your offer is, and selling will, of course, pay the bills.

There is obviously a lot more to this than 300 words on a page, but I hope these short notes have been useful. If you want more information, drop me a line on any of my channels.

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