To be able to sell better, sales advisors should of course be trained and coached and many companies do provide comprehensive training programs. But the best sales advisors do not only follow the corporate program. They are able to find their own ways to train and prepare for better selling. Let’s see what the best practices for self-preparation are.
• Learning from colleagues
An English tea merchant offered me this beautiful story:
"As a merchant, I import from India and buy from different tea producers. There is one producer in particular that I always have a great pleasure to visit because the hospitality is great. During the different tea tasting, selection process and negotiations, there is one young man who everyone calls "Tea Boy." He is there to help pull the water, change teas and is always smiling and available during all the buying sessions. At all times, Tea Boy was there and patiently assisted us.
One day, I arrived at the office and was greeted by Tea Boy, who was dressed in an immaculate suit. "Well! Tea Boy, you got a promotion! Congratulations!" "Yes, Sir, I have in fact been promoted to the position of Commercial Director."
"Actually, it's my father, the owner of this company, who had this idea...He asked me to learn how to converse with buyers by learning from the different sales persons. And, I did actually did learn a lot during the last two years of serving tea. He was right." "Well," I asked him, "how does your father know that you are ready to sell?" The new Director said with a large smile: "Actually, he made his decision based on the quality of tea I managed to make!"
Each ofyour colleagues holds the keys to best practices for acquiring know-how: proven success keys. They are better than any other advice than I can ever offer you, simply owing to the fact that in your own selling environment you can test what works, how it works and can therefore learn very quickly. This book will help you recognize the key to learning from your colleagues, by alerting you to what to observe. The best way to learn from each other is to assist each other.
• Learn from the competition
It is also very interesting to learn from competition and it’s free! You have double the benefits at no additional training cost. The first benefit is that you can be in the shoes of the customer. As a customer, were you welcomed properly and spoken to in the same way as you have been practicing? How did it make you feel? How do you feel about the way the sales advisor dealt with your objections—were you be convinced? The second benefit comes from learning the selling techniques of your competition and bench-marking them against your own practices.
• Learning from different industries
You can also be inspired by other types of product and service. As a car seller observe how a watch seller works and compare their techniques with your own practices. There are certainly many ideas that can be borrowed from other selling professionals.
By being curious and taking the time to observe, you can learn a surprising amount from different industries even those that you had not imagined you could learn from.
We certainly do not recommend the following selling process, yet we can still learn from what we observe. The carpet merchant:
- 1. Raised the client’s interest quickly (not easy in a touristic place, lack of time)
- 2. Allowed the client to first select the product
- 3. Presented the product
- 4. Negotiated the price