Ongoing training for experienced sales people is just as critical as for newer sales persons starting in the profession, especially when it comes to the steps to a sale, and fine-tuning interpersonal skills.
Here are some great suggestions for resources and tools for training to develop interpersonal skills and improve presentation skills.
How to Win Friends and Influence People an Excellent Book for Interpersonal Sales Training
Dale Carnegie's timeless classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People (Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster, 1936.) is considered by many top performers and experienced sales people the "Salesman's Bible." Some re-read the book every year to refresh on basic interpersonal skills.
The book's language is somewhat colloquial, as it was written in the 1930's, but the advice is still pertinent to today's business relationships. The book is an easy, enjoyable read, as it breaks up Dale Carnegie's advice into short chapters revolving around personal, powerful stories and anecdotes illustrating each interpersonal "lesson."
Lessons are subtle, yet powerful. Here are a few examples:
- Importance of a person's name
- Never argue, you will always lose
- Power of true listening
Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive Full of Interpersonal Skills Wisdom and Advice
While there are thousands of books on topics such as sales skills, business communication skills, closing skills, and selling, one more book stands out as a classic specifically for interpersonal skills in business: Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive by Harvey Mackay. (Ballantine Books, 1988.) Swim with the Sharks is an intense, but easy read, also following the format of short lessons containing anecdotes of years of personal selling experience by the envelope magnate.
Strong Presentation Skills Necessary for Credibility, Control, and Self-Confidence
Confidence in the field comes with practice, but so does consciously refining the presentation itself. It is important to have polished vocabulary during the entire demonstration and presentation.
Polished vocabulary is important for several reasons:
- The message is not diluted by filler words or crutch words (e.g. "um," "ah," "you know.").
- Industry-related knowledge is communicated clearly to establish credibility.
- The prospects do not get confused with technical terms and thus lose interest.
Great Resources for Polishing Presentation Skills and Communication Skills
The Dale Carnegie Institute and Toastmasters both provide a platform for practicing, honing, and fine tuning presentation skills. Neither is a book or manual to be checked out of the library, but rather interactive, participatory programs to develop better speaking and listening skills.
The Dale Carnegie Institute provides intensive courses with a finite duration. Graduates receive certification and recognition. The advantage to the Dale Carnegie Institute is that there are dozens of classes to choose from, all tailored specifically to business communication, some specifically designed for improving communication for salespeople.
Toastmasters International provides a self-paced program with supportive peer evaluations. As the structure of the organization is ongoing non-profit clubs, there is no set graduation time-frame, but there is recognition of achievements. The advantage to joining a Toastmasters club is that the monetary investment is negligible. The slight downside to the Toastmasters programs is that they encompass more than just business communication and sales skills.
Presentation skills and interpersonal skills are important in any industry, but can be especially critical for salespeople in the home improvement industry who conduct in-home demonstrations on a daily basis. Face-to-face interaction with homeowners for 30 minutes to over two hours calls for a highly polished, confident salesperson to garner enough credibility and respect to close the sale.
In addition to developing these business communication skills, closers, top performers, and sales people should develop and fine tune a defined sales process for increased success in closing.
The Sales Process for In-Home Demonstrations
There is a natural progression of how people buy and it is mostly witnessed in the sports betting site in the Philippines. Following these initial steps increases the odds of closing success and will allow the sales force to make more money. Understanding the steps and following them in order will result in consistency of sales success and make honing the in-home presentation skills easier. This short sales process also lays the groundwork to establish a buying environment, and increase the chances of closing the sale in a solution-selling framework.
A sales process is a road map for success in sales. These steps to a sale are an example of the isolation of elements and skills needed for in-home demonstrations.
Increase Sales Opportunities
The first step is the entry. Getting in the door and sitting down with a prospect may seem obvious, given the well-known sales adage, “it’s a numbers game.” The more prospects a salesperson sees, the more contracts he/she writes. This is a separate step because being denied at the door can be overcome, thereby increasing sales opportunities. By focusing on this as a stand-alone step, salespeople can hone their skills to get into more homes.
Gain Control of the In-Home Presentation
It is a challenge to schedule both homeowners to be present at the in-home demonstration. Now that they are both home, they both need to be attentive and involved. In the next step, the warm-up, use of a printed set of situation questions inquiring about the product or service can serve as a tool to draw in both homeowners and gain control of the appointment.
Establish Credibility as an Expert
The next step is the inspection. Inspect the house for visual confirmation of its current state. This establishes the salesperson as an expert who knows what he/she is looking for.
The next step involves uncovering problems. For the water conditioning industry, this step is the water testing. For vacuum sales, this step would be the cleaning demonstration. Each industry has its own unique way of dramatically revealing issues in the home. Intelligent questions delving deeper into the implications of the problems should further establish credibility and arouse curiosity in the homeowner about the solution.
The final step before selling the solution, establishing a buying environment, and closing the sale is the book presentation. Give the company story to build confidence that the company is reputable and established, and assure the homeowners that the company will do a good job for them.
A 3-ring binder filled with the Better Business Bureau report, local articles and easy-to-understand research facts helps establish further credibility. This step validates the seriousness of the problems discovered and impresses on the homeowner the extent of the issues involved at a societal level.
The sales process for in-home demonstrations for home improvement products is an established set of steps that builds on itself mirroring the natural buying process of prospects. Taking each sub-skill of in-home sales skills as a separate, unique step helps the salespeople hone skills individually.
This short sales process works well for the one-call close for home improvement products and services.