Training programs should take place over a three-month period, incorporating weekly meetings designed to achieve pre-determined objectives.
The first step is to establish exactly what a sales team is expected to learn. Many so-called training programs fail because they only deal with specific company agenda items, such as product knowledge and financing. Although these are very important, they are only a small part of what must be mastered.
Specifically, some of the areas on which the effort should be concentrated include:
- Communication skills — the essence of selling
- Personal motivation — a must for any sales professional
- Knowledge of the competition — salespeople must know the competition as well as they know their own product
- Overcoming objections — total awareness of the method of overcoming all objections
- Planned presentation skills — the ability to make a qualified presentation in five minutes on your company and its product, giving at least six key features
'Training sessions should be focused and fun'
Kick off a sales program by exposing staff members to the correct concepts and techniques to be mastered. This can be accomplished in several ways. The sales manager or marketing director can create and present a seminar of approximately 12 to 16 hours. Videotapes and books may be acquired to assist in the process. You may also consider a professional sales trainer to present the program. Weekly meetings, conducted by the sales manager, should then be held to reinforce the material that is presented.
A typical weekly meeting may include: a motivational message from a member of the sales team, perhaps gleaned from a tape or book; a “key features and benefits” presentation; a presentation on “overcoming objections;” a role-playing situation; and a presentation on the “anatomy of the sale.” Each of these sections should last from five to eight minutes.
This format can be modified to include product knowledge, financing and other items. An agenda for each meeting should be established at least six weeks in advance, with each salesperson assigned a presentation responsibility.
Other tips on these meetings: start them on time, keep them focused, tape record them for later review, bring in outside professionals as needed, keep them fun, and make sure each salesperson participates in the teaching process.
Sales education is vital. As someone once said, “It’s what we learn after we know it all that really counts.”
Bob Schultz, MIRM, CSP, is president of New Home Specialist Inc. and is an expert on home sales and management. He is the author of two best-selling books available from BuilderBooks.com, "The Official Handbook for New Home Salespeople" and "Smart Selling™ Techniques." For more information, click here or call 561-368-1151.
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