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The Uses of Sales Training

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 26 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Sales Sales Training Telesales

A lot of people think that selling is just about persuasion and breaking down resistance to get people to buy goods. In its very crudest form, that might once have been true, but those days are long gone. These days, selling is a science, and that’s why sales training is so important.

People used to think salesmen were born, and possibly some of the very best – the types of whom it was said they could sell snow in Alaska – were that way. However, selling has become specialised. You not only need a real in-depth knowledge of your product, you need to know the psychology of dealing with people, countering objections, and knowing when and how to close a deal.

Whilst some of that might be common sense and natural instinct, much of it can be taught through sales training, and plenty of companies have rigorous training programmes for sales staff, or employ outside consultants to train them.

What Sales Training Can Achieve

Even the best sales training can’t turn someone with no sales talent into the company’s top producer; it can’t perform miracles. But it can improve the performance of sales staff by teaching them techniques that have been proven to work. Sales training, which was pioneered in the US, has been around for several decades, and has become more refined over time. It doesn’t matter whether it’s telesales or high ticket items, the more effective a sales staff is, the greater the number of sales they’ll make. So it becomes an investment for the company, bringing greater returns.

What Does Sales Training Teach?

There are several areas within sales training, and although the focus can differ depending on the type of training offered, they all cover certain basic things that are vital to all effective selling. Communication, of course, is the key, and the training turns sales people into, not just better, but also more effective communicators - which involves very careful listening, as well as speaking, discussing objections and overcoming them and making a message crystal clear.

Big companies will incorporate presentation skills into their carefully planned sales training. Presentation skills are not only good for making a pitch but can also be useful for networking, since they help develop confidence, speaking with minimal notes and eye contact.

Smaller companies will employ outside sales trainers for all these tasks. They’ll either adapt standard sales courses or devise something bespoke, depending on needs and costs, although many sales training companies also run open courses that anyone can attend for a fee (although the main audience will be those in sales seeking more knowledge or those considering a sales career).

Areas Of Sales Training

Apart from the topics covered above, there are several other facets to sales training, covering negotiation, personal development (in other words, refining your skills and keeping them sharp), project management, team development (these are more for sales managers), as well as more general psychology and management classes.

The more you know about your product and your field, as well as about the best ways to sell, will make you a better salesperson – and by extension, a better networker.

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