Sales training is the process of helping salespeople or those in client-facing roles improve their essential selling skills, techniques and knowledge. The goal of sales training is to help salespeople become more effective at selling and improve the overall sales performance of the organisation.
Sales training is applicable for all kinds of sales and can cover a wide range of topics. Whether it’s inside sales, outside sales, service sales or even sales management — anyone can benefit from learning essential selling skills like how to identify and qualify leads, how to have effective presentations, how to handle objections, how to negotiate and close deals and more.
76% of organisations see an increase in sales between 6% to 20% when they engage in sales enablement strategies. When done right, sales training can absolutely have a positive impact on a company.
Benefits of Sales Training
Sales training is key to growing a business. Equipping your sales reps and client-facing executives with essential selling skills can give you a huge competitive advantage over other organisations in your industry.
The honest truth is if sales training didn’t increase revenue, no business would bother implementing it. Like a rising tide that lifts all ships, sales training enables even low or average performers to hit better numbers and improve the performance of your sales team overall.
Sales training isn’t just limited to selling skills, it can include how to optimise administrative tasks like lead generation and prospecting. Since these tasks can eat up to over 50% of a sales representative’s time, automating them or coming up with a better process can free up their day to focus on what matters — selling.
Improved Employee Satisfaction
Sales training doesn’t just help employees perform better, it can lead to higher levels of job satisfaction too. A 2020 survey by ValueSelling Associates found that training had a positive impact on employee satisfaction, motivation and retention. This was attributed to employees feeling more supported, valued and fulfilled when given the tools to perform better at their jobs.
Increased Buyer Trust and Customer Lifetime Value
Sales training teaches both sales representatives and client-facing roles how to adopt a customer-first mindset. The result is a customer-focused organisation that provides excellent service at all touchpoints in a buyer’s journey. This increases buyer confidence and trust in your organisation and can lead to more repeat business for better customer lifetime value.
Methods of Sales Training
There are various methods and ways to implement a sales training programme in your organisation. They can be further classified into individual training, group training as well as on-the-job and off-the-job.
As the name implies, classroom training involves imparting sales techniques and knowledge in a traditional classroom setting, either in-person or online. This method of sales training is most effective for teaching new concepts or techniques to a large group of trainees in a short amount of time.
Because many sales representatives can be taught at once, classroom lessons can be a very cost-effective method of sales training. The structured environment also ensures doubts can be cleared on the spot with the trainer. However, one of the downsides of classroom training is that communication is mostly one-way and the learners are mostly passive.
Coaching typically involves a sales representative learning by actively working in their job under the guidance of an experienced mentor. This is particularly effective for helping salespeople learn within the actual job environment and training can be customised to the specific needs of the salesperson.
This can be done one-on-one or with one mentor assigned to a handful of trainees. Because the mentor works closely with the trainees, he or she is able to provide immediate evaluation and feedback. The downside of coaching is that the mentor (who is often also a working salesperson) has to devote a significant amount of time to guiding the trainees, which can impact their sales performance.
Role-playing sales training involves using simulated sales situations to help sales representatives practice and improve their skills. Trainees will practice their sales techniques and human interaction while playing roles such as sales representatives, sales managers as well as customers.
This method of sales training is effective for helping salespeople learn how to handle different types of sales scenarios. It requires a high level of involvement from the trainee and gets them used to the idea of human interaction in a business environment. The downside of role-playing as a sales training method is that it can be time-consuming and not all trainees are comfortable with acting.
Top 10 Essential Selling Skills Every Sales Rep Should Master
Now that we’re familiar with what sales training is, its benefits and methods of delivery — which essential selling skills should sales representatives focus on to become a top performer?
Successful salespeople have a core mix of 10 soft and technical sales skills that enable them to excel at both the relationship-building and selling aspects of the job.
The best salespeople are able to communicate effectively with prospects and clients. They have a knack for explaining concepts, persuading people and putting them at ease. Active listening and storytelling are two key communication skills shared by all top sales performers.
This enables them to understand where their customers are coming from, ask good questions and present information clearly in a manner that addresses the customer’s challenges.
Salespeople need to be able to build and maintain strong relationships with customers and clients, which requires good interpersonal skills and the ability to connect with others.
The top sales performers are empathetic and have a high level of emotional intelligence that helps them understand how others are feeling. By putting themselves in the prospect’s shoes, they uncover inner lying motivations, address pain points and develop meaningful relationships with their customers.
Negotiation is an essential selling skill that needs to be a part of every salesperson’s arsenal. Top sales performers are able to negotiate effectively in order to find common ground, overcome objections, close deals and reach mutually beneficial agreements with customers. They know how to read verbal and non-verbal cues, as well as how to phrase things to tip the scales in their favour.
Additionally, negotiation skills can help salespeople to secure better deals for their company and to negotiate more favourable terms for themselves.
Time Management Skills
Salespeople need time management skills in order to effectively prioritize and manage their time in order to meet their sales goals and targets. This includes planning and organising their day-to-day activities such as prospecting, qualifying leads, making sales calls and following up with potential customers.
Top sales performers are able to organise their limited time effectively to meet deadlines, stay on top of paperwork and administrative tasks, and balance the demands of multiple clients and projects. This helps them avoid procrastination and to stay focused on their goals, which leads to greater productivity and success in their sales efforts.
Customers appreciate salespeople who can identify and address challenges that may arise in the sales process. It shows that the salesperson considers their interests and is thinking about them. This can include identifying issues with a potential customer’s needs or concerns, finding creative solutions to objections, and identifying and addressing roadblocks in the sales process.
The top sales performers possess problem-solving skills that help them connect with customers on an interpersonal level, think strategically and make effective decisions in order to achieve their sales goals. Additionally, having strong problem-solving skills can also help salespeople analyze data and customer feedback in order to identify patterns or areas for improvement.
Salespeople need to be adaptable in order to effectively navigate the constantly changing nature of the sales process and to effectively respond to the unique needs and concerns of different customers and clients. Being adaptable allows salespeople to be responsive to changes in customer demand, market conditions, and other external factors that can affect the sales process.
Top sales performers can adjust their communication style, product presentation, or even their approach to match the customer’s requirements. They can move quickly from one type of sale or customer to another, and can manage their time and priorities effectively in order to adapt to changing circumstances.
Additionally, adaptability allows top sales performers to be open to new ideas, products and technologies, and to continuously learn and improve their skills. This can help them to stay current in their field and to stay ahead of the competition.
Persistence is a key soft skill for salespeople to effectively overcome obstacles and achieve their sales goals. Persistence is necessary because the sales process can be challenging and many potential customers may take a long time to make a decision or may not initially be interested in making a purchase.
Top sales performers are persistent in the way they continue pursuing leads and opportunities even when they encounter rejection or disappointment. This doesn’t mean badgering a single prospect until they give in, but rather not giving up after a single “no” and staying engaged with the customer while finding ways to improve the value proposition.
Being persistent also allows salespeople to build long-term relationships with customers, stay in contact with leads even if they are not ready to make a purchase right away, and keep the sales process moving forward. This can help increase the chances of closing a sale, as well as help to create opportunities for repeat business.
Finally, persistence is an essential trait that allows salespeople to maintain a positive attitude, keep their motivation high, and remain resilient in the face of disappointment and setbacks.
It should go without saying that salespeople need to have a deep understanding of the products or services they are selling in order to be able to answer customer questions and address concerns.
The top sales performers have an excellent understanding of the features, benefits, and technical specifications of the products or services that they are selling, as well as the target market and customer needs. This allows them to have credible and confident conversations with potential customers, addressing their concerns and objections, answering questions, and providing solutions that increase the likelihood of closing a deal.
Industry knowledge is one of the essential selling skills because it allows salespeople to better understand their customer’s needs and the unique challenges they face.
The best sales performers have industry knowledge that allows a salesperson to speak the same language as their customers, build credibility, and suggest tailored solutions to their customer’s problems. Additionally, it can help them stay abreast of new trends and developments in the industry that might impact their customers’ businesses. This in turn helps them close deals more effectively and build stronger, long-term relationships with their customers.
Salespeople need to master sales techniques because they are essential tools for finding the right lead, effectively communicating the value of a product or service to potential prospects and closing deals. Moreover, sales techniques are not only important for finding new customers but also for keeping existing ones satisfied.
Top sales performers have a good understanding of the sales process and pipeline. This includes prospecting, lead qualification, discovery/research, pitching, objection handling and closing. Mastering sales techniques means that salespeople are better equipped to handle different types of customers, situations and objections they might face. It can also help them to adapt their approach based on the specific needs of a customer or the stage of the sales process.
Learn Essential Selling Skills with a Sales Training Course
Whether you work as a sales representative, are planning to explore a career in sales, or hold a client-facing role — you can benefit from learning essential selling skills. FirstCom Academy’s Effective Selling Skills is a WSQ-certified and SkillsFuture Credit-eligible sales certification course ideal for professionals in sales or client-facing roles in Singapore.
Practice sales techniques, get real-time feedback and the best sales tips from successful sales professionals with our in-person courses.
Learners will understand the psychology behind buying motivations, learn how to develop the right mindset for sales, gain a thorough understanding of the sales process and hone their selling skills as well as build confidence to increase sales performance
The SkillsFuture course takes 2 days, and you’ll obtain a FirstCom Academy Certificate of Completion and SkillsFuture WSQ Statement of Attainment upon passing the final assessment. As the course is under the National Infocomm Competency Framework, you’ll receive a certification that can help you secure interviews for future roles and greatly boost your earning potential!
Explore Effective Selling Skills by FirstCom Academy.
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