Top Staff Sales Training Tips That Will Also Improve Workplace Productivity

9 December 2016

It can be tempting to think of sales training as a simple quest to achieve the highest numbers; learning the ins and outs of how to sell, sell, sell. But reducing it down to such a simplistic definition is doing the art of sales a big disservice. In truth, training your staff in sales techniques can have benefits that stretch far beyond the line on the sales graph.

Here are just a couple of sales training principles that, when taught correctly, can also have a big impact on your workplace productivity.

The Problem of Over-Talking

The stereotype of the smooth-talking salesman that gets a sale over the line through sheer force of will is a classic one. But it is also a misleading one. Many salespeople feel as though it is their job to do all of the talking, as if they are re-enacting some sort of live version of a late-night infomercial. But as consumers get savvier and information becomes more attainable, the salesman with the machine-gun voice is turning out to be less and less effective.

Leading sales training agencies now teach the art of the sale as more of a conversation than a presentation. The Sandler Sales Institute’s 70/30 rule is a great example of this: in their eyes, a customer should be explaining their needs for most of the sales process (70%). The salesperson should use the remaining time (30%) to ask the sort of questions that help them understand the prospect’s situation even better.

Listening intently to the other side of the story and understanding other people’s drive and motivation is just a good habit to be in, period. In the workplace a team of attentive listeners will better understand the tasks at hand, and will better work together to operate in an efficient and productive manner.

Staying Quiet on Potential Issues

You have got a big sale on the horizon, but then you spot something. This something has the potential to make your product or service the wrong choice for your customer. You may have discovered that your product does not meet a required standard, or may not fit the client’s budget in the long term.

The temptation is to obviously stay quiet and to accept the sale. Your monthly figures will be through the roof, and a nice little bonus will be on its way. But in this situation, short term gain equals long term pain. When the issue is discovered, your credibility will be shot, and your client could be lost forever. An extra figure on a months bonus is not worth forgoing potential years’ worth of steady sales from the client.

In the workplace, as in sales, it is vital that any issues you identify are brought to the organisation’s attention as soon as possible, no matter how much short term pain it may cause. Long term productivity will skyrocket by dealing with potential issues as early as possible. No good has ever come from crossing your fingers and hoping the problem does not come up.

Solve Problems, Not Symptoms

In sales, in can be tempting to take a prospect’s word on face value. They have an issue, and they want your help in resolving it. You naturally assume that the exact issue that the prospect communicates is the problem. But what if it is just a symptom of something deeper?

Before offering our help in addressing a prospect’s challenges, we first need to find the root cause of the problem. This can only be done by asking questions, and by developing a deep understanding of the factors at play. From there, like a doctor who has run exhaustive tests on a patient, we are best placed to offer a solution.

Another principle that is just as important for workplace productivity as it is for sales, developing an understanding of the underlying cause of a problem is paramount to solving it in the long term. And by asking questions and performing a deep investigation, you may also find other potential problems in your workplace systems and procedures that are affecting your organisation’s efficiency.

At its core, good sales principles are based on solid, overarching business principles. By educating your staff on good sales technique, you will soon see the fruits of this training drip down into other areas of your business.

In sales as in the workplace, if you get the process right, the rewards will follow.


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