Published On: Mon, Apr 25th, 2011

The Different Segments of Sales Training

By: Gerald J. Sherman

Today sales training is more important than ever. However, today, sales training is not  concerned only with methodology and techniques of selling. Here are a few basic areas that also must be stressed for any sales training program to be successful.

Product Knowledge

Our clients have become more savvy. They understand what they need and when they need it. They have an incredible amount of information and are aware of the competition. This does not mean that the salesperson is not needed. On the contrary, it increases the need for a well informed sales representative. Chances are the client will come armed with lots of questions and issues that need to be addressed and you need to have the answers. Training which offers product knowledge is therefore vital and must be continually updated for the sales representative to be successful.

Gerald Sherman

Relationship Development

We must also consider training in developing a relationship. The sales representative  must be taught the importance of building a relationship with the client and the methods needed to grow this relationship. As we know, the seller represents the company and is responsible for creating good will for the organization by being reliable and honest. S/he should understand what motivates the client. Training in the human factor will pay dividends in understanding the mechanics in the buyer/seller relationship.

However, sellers must be equally skilled in the area of people knowledge. The first part of people knowledge is relationship development. The salesperson should understand the need for building a business relationship with the client, and the methods to develop and grow this relationship. We cannot underestimate the role of the today’s seller as an ambassador for the company. The seller who is aware of the dynamics of the selling situation, understands what motivates the buyer, and recognizes the importance of reliability and honesty in a business relationship, will not only enjoy success as an individual salesperson, but will also create tremendous goodwill for the company within the industry. Training in the human factor will pay dividends in understanding the variables in the buyer-seller relationship.

Communication Skills

Last but not least, training in communication skills must also be considered as part of sales training. The seller is constantly interacting with the client as well as management. If s/he is unable to express or understand what others are saying then how do you expect the seller to get the message across? Presentation, articulation and persuasion are invaluable to the salesperson and form the foundation of all sales methodology. Without a command of the language and familiarity with terms used in the trade, these skills cannot be effective. Attention should also be given in the proper use of written communications such as sending follow up E mails, thank you notes and making short telephone conversations to stay in touch with the client.

In my experience in conducting sales training programs I have found that there is no such thing as a ‘one time fix.’ The programs should be ongoing and updated to reinforce the skills of the seller by keeping up with the changing conditions in the marketplace.

Excerpts from the book, The Real World Guide to Fashion Selling & Management, Gerald J. Sherman & Sar S. Perlman, Fairchild Publications, Division of Conde Nast, (N.Y.).

Gerald J. Sherman, of Sherman & Perlman LLC., is a marketing and public relations consultant, sales coach and author who has written several books and articles on these subjects. 561.715.2788
































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