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Excellence in Sales Starts with the Right Approach

Aug 17, 2007
Sales training. What exactly is it? Is it really helpful? Actually, it is so and more than you think. Sales require two parties. It is not a monologue, it is supposed to be a dialogue. It is also supposed to be a customer-centered exchange of information that begins and ends with the customer whose needs must drive the conversation.

You surely must have a sales approach you use consciously or unconsciously every single day. But are you really open to looking at your sales talk up close? If you are open, this article can help you assess yourself, even if for a little bit. Then you will be able to spot your strengths and weaknesses, and change your sales talk.

You need to start using your natural skills, leverage your knowledge, and sell more by creating compelling dialogues with your customers. You must think you already do all that. Probably 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?

Relying solely on product knowledge or technical expertise doesn't work in today's environment. The Internet has become a free and convenient source of knowledge, 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 - once the key differentiator - are the equalizer, they don't 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 customer needs.

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

Most salespeople believe that they know their customers' needs. They believe they are positioning solutions, not products. They indeed believe they are customer-focused. These beliefs are actually the biggest obstacles 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 have 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 real sales training if you think that's the case.
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