Sales staff who are not trained properly are usually not very productive, and this is not good for either the staff or the company. Like all training, though, it needs to be exercised on a regular basis to become and remain strong.
Here are a few exercises that will help any sales staff feel confident in front of a client. The keys to making them effective are to keep the staff doing them until they are able to do them comfortably and naturally, and to repeat them on a regular basis to ensure they are not forgotten while in the field.
Feature and Benefit
Every salesperson should understand the "Feature and Benefit" part of a sales call. It is important to provide the customer a benefit for each feature of the product or service. For instance, if the carpet comes in 18 colors then it is easy for the family to pick the right color to match their existing decorating.
Have a number of common objects in a box on the desk. When one is picked out of the box the sales staff have 60 seconds to write as many features about the object, paired with specific benefits, they can come up with. Do this until the box is empty.
Salespeople who allow customers to distract them during their presentation find that it becomes almost impossible to close in that situation.
Create indistractable salespeople by setting them up to do their presentation during training, and involving them in a constant parade of distractions. Role-play the customer who constantly interrupts, or the phone rings, or people wander in and out. Every time the salesperson gets distracted or starts over, they get a penalty, with a reward for each time they continue to the end.
"I've Got a Secret" was the name of a TV show, and it makes a great sales training exercise also. Every potential customer has something that he doesn't want to reveal to the salesperson. Wiggling this out of them is an important part of sales because it is often critical knowledge that will cause the customer to buy.
The sales trainer sits before the sales staff with a secret. The staff, with simple conversational questions, must attempt to deduce the secret. With sufficient practice it becomes a simple task of knowing which direction to dig with questions to reveal what is hidden.
Tie downs are for more than holding luggage to the top of a car roof -- they are one of the most powerful tools in a salesperson's kit. But if used poorly they can greatly offend the potential customer.
A tie down is a simple affirmation of what was just said so that the inclination of the customer is to agree, which then moves them further along the path to accepting the product/service. The sales manager should have the sales team practice by giving factual statements to one another and then following up with tie downs such as "wouldn't you agree" and "isn't that so." Work until they become natural sounding instead of a sales technique.
Answering customers' objections and overcoming their anxiety is a necessary part of every sale, but new salespeople often feel less than confident in their ability to do so.
After giving them an opportunity to study the most common objections and their answers, the sales manager should role-play with the sales team, going over and over the proper answers until the team knows them by heart and can answer them naturally.
- Photo Credit sales manager checking the sales image by Peter Baxter from Fotolia.com
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