Two Minute Drill

Old-fashion Selling Skills

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Dear  ,
The Sales Coach
There has been much talk about selling solutions and partnering with customers. Although these concepts are important, there is still the need for good old-fashion sales technique.

I refer to these skills as the "blocking & tackling" of professional selling. Once you've mastered them, you are ready to employ a more advanced sales approach.

So here's two minutes worth of hard-hitting, proven techniques you can put to use right now!

Let's be smarter, stronger, and faster,
MJG Signature
Michael J. Galante, The Sales Coach

Coach's Message
Sales 101
Professional salespeople have to internalize some basic selling concepts before they can be truly effective on a consultative level. For example, you can consult with a client or discuss his problem all you want, but:
     a) if you are not "actively listening" during your consultation, you are going to miss critical information or key selling opportunities;
     b) at the end of each meeting you still have to close for something. The sale, a next meeting, or at least: "Are we on the right track?"
With that said, I work with customers to use good old-fashion sales technique to create selling opportunities; then we develop a value based sales approach based upon the needs of the customer.
Six Fundamental Selling Skills
By segmenting opportunities when "prospecting," you can align yourself with the best potential customers. Those that fit the specific aspects of your offer and sell on value, not price.
"Probing" is a skill broken into two parts. The first is to know how to "qualify" customers. This is the ability to identify Decision Maker(s) or significant influencers who have the authority, budget and a defined timeline.
     The second part is to figure out each customer's specific needs. Plus any ancillary issues you can impact. (Clearly there is more to this than can be stated in a short article.)
"Listening" is a fundamental communication skill. One that transcends sales yet is invaluable when probing, qualifying and selling solutions.
"Presentation" is your ability to inform and persuade. Whether it is a one-on-one, trade show or group presentation, you must connect the benefits and solutions of your product to the customer's needs.

A customer of mine once said, "Salespeople are really in the objection handling business." I completely agree and believe that many salespeople are ill-equipped to handle even the most common of objections.
"Closing" in my opinion is a lost art. Now I'm not suggesting high-pressure selling, but if you don't ask - you won't get! There are many soft selling and professional ways to advance the sale.
Coach's Replay
Example 1 - Joe sells a high grade product that lasts longer and needs less maintenance than his competitors. But of course, its priced higher. So Joe segments his potential customers to find the right fit, and qualifies the people he needs to meet with. Then, he actively listens to the customer so he can build a powerful, customized presentation. Joe's track record of exceeding his quota is an example of basic selling skills meeting solution selling.

Example 2 - Mary represents a payroll services company. She works in a big city so there is plenty of opportunity, yet a lot of competition. She spend approx. 50% of her time prospecting for new business. Since her company is relatively new to that market, Mary has to address customer objections on a daily basis. As a top producer, she credits her success to the basics. "I learned some good techniques in my first month of training," Mary says. "They kept reminding me to always trial close after an objection. I just love turning prospects into customers," she adds.
Coach's Practice Drill
The best way to hone your skills is to practice. Salespeople, just like professional athletes and musicians need to prepare.

During the hundreds of training sessions I have conducted over the past 19 years, by far, both experienced and new comers alike, have said that our Role Play sessions were the must fun and productive. Sure at first some people grumble, but when it's all over, everyone agrees they learned something. Besides, what better way to get ready for your next sales call then to test your skills on your manager or co-worker. Think of it as a friendly scrimmage before the game.

I like to use three people for each Role Play. One person plays the customer, one plays the salesperson and one is an observer. You can Role Play one selling skill or an entire sales call. Ideally, each person will take a turn at each role to gain a different perspective. Notes are taken and comments shared to identify best practices and successful techniques.
Attention Sales Managers - why not discuss this topic at your next sales meeting?
(C) Galante & Company. All rights reserved. Reprint by permission only.