Whether you have a small or a larger sales team, chances are your salespeople are not on the same level. For instance, some of your team members may have just completed their onboarding training and are now getting familiar with the company’s product, tools, and processes. Meanwhile, others are already experienced in reaching out to customers and feel more confident with their quotas.
Regardless of where your salespeople are standing, they’re likely overwhelmed with their everyday tasks and, therefore, neglect to grow their selling skills. In this article, we’ll focus on some practical and essential selling skills to include in your training program so each of your team members can turn into a successful salesperson.
Selling skills from theory to practice
While it’s essential to develop selling skills for job success, the way you develop those skills matters, too.
Some sales training programs might fail to engage salespeople. Lengthy presentations or outdated training materials won’t help with day-to-day tasks. To be effective, sales training programs should focus on practical activities that salespeople can easily relate to. For example, role-playing exercises, case studies, and interactive workshops can be highly effective in helping salespeople develop their skills.
Additionally, training programs should be tailored to the specific needs of the sales team and delivered in small, bite-sized portions.
A sales training course should be broken down into manageable chunks that are easy for the sales team to consume and apply on the job. For instance, instead of conducting a full-day training session, the training could be divided into shorter, 30-minute modules that are easier to absorb and fit into the salesperson’s busy schedule.
Lastly, the training program should provide ongoing support and follow-up to ensure salespeople are able to apply the concepts they learn on the job. This could include providing coaching and mentoring, access to resources and tools, and regular feedback on their performance. By keeping these factors in mind, you can start picking the sales training topics and organizing your L&D programs.
Selling skills to include in your training programs
The sales training topics you’ll pick depend on your company goals and the skills gaps you want to cover.
For example, you can include some basic selling skills in your sales onboarding plan. And then, create a more advanced course to upskill your salespeople. Or, you can host a workshop on negotiation techniques if you find your team is lacking in this particular area. You might even want to create different learning paths based on salespeople’s roles and career plans.
Here are the most essential selling skills and topics to add to your training mix:
1. Effective sales techniques for closing deals
Closing a deal is not just about pushing products or services to customers. It’s about building trust, understanding their needs, and providing solutions that address their pain points. Here are some effective sales techniques that can help your salespeople close deals:
Solution selling: Solution selling means understanding customer needs and offering customized solutions that address their pain points. By knowing the ins and outs of the product or service, your salespeople will have a deep understanding of its features, benefits, and limitations. This will help them explain how the product or service works, its key features, and how it can benefit the customer’s business.
Also, this will help your salespersons decide whether your product or service is a good fit for the customer or not and direct them appropriately. At the same time, by identifying the customer’s pain points and challenges, salespeople can demonstrate how the product or service can address those problems.
Upselling and cross-selling: Upselling and cross-selling involve offering additional products or services that complement the customer’s initial purchase. When your salespeople listen carefully to your customer’s pain points, they will be able to see if there is anything more to offer that may work for them. This not only increases your revenue but also helps build a stronger relationship with the customer.
Sense of urgency: Creating a sense of urgency can help move the customer toward a decision. One way to create a sense of urgency is by offering limited-time promotions or discounts. For example, teach your salespeople how to offer a discount that is only available for a few days or weeks. By creating a time-limited offer, the salesperson can encourage the customer to act quickly to take advantage of the discount before it expires.
2. Advanced sales strategies for B2B selling
B2B selling is a complex process that requires a different set of strategies than B2C selling. Here are some advanced sales strategies that can help you succeed in B2B selling:
Account-based selling: Account-based selling involves identifying key accounts and tailoring your sales efforts to meet their specific needs. By taking this highly targeted and personalized approach, account-based selling can help sales teams to stand out from the competition through a true demonstration of caring for the customer’s case.
Sales enablement: Sales enablement involves providing sales teams with the tools, resources, and training they need to succeed. By ensuring your sales teams have the right information and support, you can increase their productivity and help them close more deals.
3. Communication skills for successful selling
Communication skills may be the top selling skills and, at the same time, the ones that we often neglect as we tend to rely on people’s natural talent. Here are some soft skills your sales training program can target to improve your team’s communication abilities:
Active listening: Active listening involves paying attention to what the customer is saying and responding in a way that shows you understand their needs. Note-taking during meetings with customers is an effective way to gather valuable information. And that’s a skill you can grow in your sales team. When salespeople learn how to filter information, record important details, and use them in future interactions with customers and prospects, they can provide better customer service.
Empathy: Empathy involves understanding the customer’s perspective and showing that you care about their needs and concerns. With role-playing activities, you can show salespeople how to
- nod their head while customers talk to show they’re engaged in the discussion
- use the appropriate tone of voice while speaking
- reflect customers’ feelings with the right words and expressions
Techniques like that can go a long way in building a strong relationship and closing the deal.
4. The psychology of persuasion in sales
Understanding the psychology of persuasion can help influence customer behavior and close more deals. Here are some tips that will help salespeople improve their persuasion techniques:
Use of social proof: By using testimonials, case studies, and other forms of social proof, salespeople can show customers that your product or service is trusted by others.
Authority: By positioning themselves as an expert in the field, salespeople can build trust and influence customer behavior.
5. Negotiation skills for successful salespeople
Negotiation is a critical selling skill for successful salespeople. Here are some tips for developing effective negotiation skills:
Preparation: Effective negotiation requires preparation. This involves understanding the customer’s needs, setting clear objectives, and anticipating objections. Your training should help salespeople not to be taken aback by a customer’s hesitations and instead make sure they have a response. Or, when not, they should learn how to be transparent and get back to them with an answer.
Win-win mindset: Effective negotiation involves finding a win-win solution that benefits both parties. By approaching negotiation with a win-win mindset, sales team members can build strong relationships with customers and close more deals.
Measuring selling skills and the effectiveness of training
Measuring a sales team’s selling skills and the effectiveness of a training program for selling skills can be done by evaluating several key performance indicators (KPIs). Here are some examples:
- Sales performance metrics: These metrics track the performance of the sales team in terms of sales revenue, conversion rates, average deal size, sales velocity, and quota attainment. Measuring these metrics before and after the training program can provide insights into the effectiveness of the training program.
- Customer feedback: Gathering feedback from customers on their interactions with the sales team can help evaluate their selling skills. This can be done through surveys, customer reviews, or feedback from account managers.
- Sales coaching and feedback: Providing regular coaching and feedback to the sales team can help identify areas where they need improvement and track their progress over time.
- Sales skills assessments: Conducting assessments to evaluate the sales team’s skills and knowledge can provide insights into their selling skills and identify areas where additional training may be needed.
- Sales team engagement: Measuring the engagement and participation of the sales team in the training program can indicate how effective the training was in motivating and inspiring them to improve their selling skills. To make your life easier, you can consider online training software and its built-in reporting.
Creating an efficient training program for selling skills
Once you identify your learning objectives, you can develop a training plan and create your training content making sure it is relevant and includes interactive content. But to build truly successful sales training, your program should also be as standardized as possible.
Standardizing your training materials ensures all salespeople get the same quality sales training. This means using consistent templates, formatting, and branding. It also means ensuring all training materials are up-to-date and relevant. This helps eliminate confusion and give all salespeople the same level of knowledge and skills.