Advice Blog: Is it time to change your sales methods?
This month I would like to offer some advice on keeping yourself and your company at the forefront of sales techniques and the changing face of sales.
In such a rapidly changing economic environment where resources including budgets, personnel and time are being stretched to their limits it is becoming increasingly important to make sure you make the most of those sales meeting opportunities. Previous tried and tested sales methods, techniques for developing a relationship and gaining a customer’s trust may not be so effective now and so you must learn to adapt and improve whenever possible, throughout your career.
Although it may seem obvious, it can never be emphasised enough how important it is for sales professionals to listen to both their existing and potential customers and to ensure that they have a comprehensive and thorough understanding of what their needs really are, not to just assume that they know what they are, especially if their needs are not apparent from the outset.
Despite the whole concept of sales being based around building and sustaining relationships it is sometimes not easy to realise the importance of preparing for a sales meeting or the effect of a lack of it or even how you really behave once face to face. Whether you have a habit of saying “erm” a lot, simply not giving enough eye contact, or even just not asking enough or specific enough questions to establish their current situation or requirement, it can often be the small but very important details that make all the difference.
Role plays, such as those used as an assessment on the ISMM’s Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Sales & Marketing and the Level 5 Diploma in Account and Sales Management, provide an ideal opportunity to evaluate your approach and discover ways to improve your performance. Although it may initially be a little embarrassing or awkward, once you have overcome this it can become a very effective tool.
The purpose of the role play is to assess the individual’s practical skills in a simulated sales meeting for a company and product/service and customer of their choosing and are an ideal way of bringing together much of your experience with what you have learnt from the other modules as it covers such a range of practical skills and techniques. The qualification assessments focus on all aspects of the scenario including preparation, introduction, identifying the customer’s needs, presentation, objection handling, closing skills and verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
As you progress through the qualifications your level of knowledge and understanding not surprisingly should increase with you being expected to incorporate a greater level of understanding such as applying marketing theory such as segmentation and positioning to your customers. We have found that for most students, even those who are experienced sales professionals and have been involved in and led many, many sales meetings that they can still identify skills gaps and find new ways to improve.
But don’t just take our word for it, students from all industries benefit from the role plays such as
Phil Robinson, Senior Business Development Manager for Oxley Group
“In business development it is very easy to lose sight of nuances and just focus on the objective of the meeting. Often overlooked, it is the small details that have given me both the confidence in the course content and helped me look at the way I and the team of business development managers operate.”
However, it is not essential for you to study for an ISMM qualification to be able to do a practice role play; it may be worth suggesting it to your manager or colleagues to be involved in as they will obviously have a solid understanding of your company and its products and services.
You may be one of a number of companies that your potential customer is meeting with, especially if it is for a particular project and so it is essential to make sure that you perform your best and that you stand out from the other sales people for the right reasons.
If you would like to sign up for an ISMM Qualification you can find more information over in the Sales Courses section of the Professional Academy website or if you feel your company could benefit from an improved sales training structure please feel free to get in touch us about in house company training.