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Sales Training for Success with Customers Today

Aug 17, 2007
What exactly is basic sales training? If you already are a sales person, do you really need that? Actually, you will be surprised about how many sales persons do.

Many people don't understand that sales require two parties. It is supposed to be a dialogue, not a monologue. It is also supposed to be a customer-centered exchange of information that begins and ends with the customer and his/her needs drive the conversation.

Any sales person has a sales approach he/she consciously or unconsciously uses every single day, and probably you are the same too. But are you really open to looking at your sales talk up close? If you are, you will be able to assess yourself, even if for a little bit. You will also be able to spot your strengths and weaknesses, and change your sales talk for the better.

First of all, you have to understand that you need to start using your natural skills and your knowledge, and sell more by creating compelling dialogues with your customers. You must think, "I already do all that," and it's likely that you do. But how are you keeping up with the changes that are occurring everywhere around you - with your customers, your competitors, your markets, and your own organization?

Long gone are the days when you could rely solely on product knowledge or technical expertise. The Internet has become a free and convenient source of information, giving customers more information than ever before. Salespeople face a tough business climate in which they need to win all the good deals that are out there.

In this environment, products which were once the main difference are the equalizer now and they don't really count as much as they used to. Instead of talking about products, your role is to communicate a message in which you add value, provide perspective, and show how your features and benefits apply to and satisfy your prospective customer's needs.

Most salespeople (unfortunately for them) use the same model for selling that has been the predominant selling model for decades. Few really realize that times have indeed changed. If you were to ask 100 salespeople whether their approach was customer-centered or product-centered, what would they say?

Most salespeople are absolutely positive about the fact that they know their customers' needs. They truly believe they are customer-centered. These beliefs are actually the biggest of their enemies and they keep them from making the changes they need to make in their sales talk. You need to constantly strive to perfect yourself, and this is true for any field of activity.

Some salespeople use their charisma and they rely on their interpersonal skills and charm. Others are technical experts, substantive in content but weak in customer focus. There are the "killers," always rushing to the close, often at the expense of the relationship.

These characterizations of sales types are extreme, but they set the context for thinking about how salespeople approach sales. Whether you belong to one group or another or not, review your technique and begin a real basic sales training if you think that's the case.
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