4 tips to help your sales team develop communication skills
Sales is all about communication. Good communication is important for building trust, speaking persuasively about the benefits of your product or service, and maintaining a positive client relationship after the sale closes.
But because communication skills are considered “soft skills,” it may seem challenging to teach them. The best salespeople seem to have an innate ability to strike up a conversation with any prospect and get them to buy. These skills aren’t magic, though. Even junior salespeople or more introverted team members can pick them up with practice.
Here are several tips to help you develop your sales team’s communication skills.
Tip 1: Get clear on which types of communication skills are important.
Prioritize the types of communication skills that will have the greatest impact on your business. For example, salespeople who spend their time cold calling prospects need a slightly different skill set than those who receive warm leads. And salespeople who work the phones will need a different skill set than those who meet with customers face-to-face.
Tip 2: Talk about the “why.”
Salespeople tend to be extremely busy. They become really good at filtering information to only the most useful nuggets. You need to be prepared to sell your training to the sales team. That may sound intimidating, but it boils down to connecting the dots for them. For example, telling your sales team that they need to be more empathic is less likely to resonate than if you tie the trait to a specific sales scenario and sales goals. If possible, invite a respected sales professional who has successfully used your training to close more sales to share their story.
Tip 3: Give salespeople opportunities to experiment.
It’s important to give salespeople space to try different techniques without the pressure of being in front of a live customer. Realistic scenarios are one way to provide that type of practice. In a scenario, you present salespeople with a situation and several possible responses. Then, you share feedback based on the option they choose. You can augment this approach with in-person activities, where your sales team applies what they’ve learned and help to build each other’s skills.
Tip 4: Coax salespeople into your training.
If you find you’re up against some tough cookies—salespeople who are unwilling, for whatever reason, to engage in communication training—try to include helpful sales-enablement assets in your course. For example, call out that one of your lessons includes a post-call checklist to help the salesperson tie up loose ends and reflect on their performance. Folks who weren’t engaging initially may find themselves curious to learn more about your course content and how it connects to such helpful resources.
By creating communication skills training for your sales team, you’ll help them work more effectively and positively impact the company’s bottom line. What’s not to love about that?
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