Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The ABCs of Sales - L is for Learning

What worked yesterday many not work today, and all bets are off for tomorrow. Sales people have to constantly be seeking new knowledge about their products, services, clients, industries, etc...  But that is not all they must learn.  Studying the art and science of selling is also key to sustaining a long term career. 

Sales professionals must be life-long learners if they want to win more business.   

Years ago it was the sales person who controlled the conversation about their product or service.  In a sales call they were their to introduce the buyer to what they had to sell, and guide them to making the purchase.  I began selling in a day where I would bring a folder to a meeting and paper sheet by paper sheet I would expose the prospective client to the features and benefits of what I was selling. They did not have many options to learn about me, my company or my product until I came in the door.

Today, before a sales person ever sets foot in the meeting the information is available online and the understanding of the products and services people buy are much higher.  Buyers are more sophisticated and a sales person who is behaving as if the buyer is not up to speed will find themselves wasting their time. Conversations have to begin at a much higher level and being a successful sales person means honing your skills all the time.

There are many ways to learn and the most successful are always trying to get better at their craft.  Reading books and articles, listening to podcasts, and attending training classes are common activities for those who work in sales.  Most who sell turn their cars into mobile classrooms and listen to books on tape instead of music while driving to appointments.  They want to maximize their skills and do not like to waste time.

The School of Hard Knocks is also a powerful way to learn.  Those who are aware and honest of their own failings are usually able to discover the areas where they have come up short and improve for the next time. After every sales, win or lose, doing a debrief about how you handled the situation will help you get stronger for the next opportunity. If you lose a sale, don't blame or pout, use it as a learning experience.

Knowledge is power in a busy and noisy world. The sales person who wants to win more deals dedicates time to learning. They are sponges who are actively soaking up nuggets of information and new ideas that will help them be more effective.  They talk to their peers about what works, and are open to fresh ideas.  There is no place for stubborn in a fast changing and competitive environment. 

Learning never ends for those in sales, and if you have not worked on advancing your product knowledge, understanding of your market, and fine tuning sales skills in the last week, you may be falling behind your competition. 

Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies.  He talks regularly to corporate audiences in competitive industries that are sales focused and whose people are seeking greater success.   http://www.EngagingSalesSpeaker.com

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