Online Class: Mastering Sales Skills 101
with CEU Certificate*
have taken this course
Sales are the lifeblood of any business. Every business transaction you have from buying milk at the grocery store to buying your house or investing in new products and services involves sales. "Mastering Sales Skills: How to be a Successful Salesperson" is designed to teach you the principles of the selling process so you can add value to your company or organization from day one. This course is beneficial to all businesses. This course will assist you in identifying the key traits of a successful sales personality, the critical factors necessary for success in sales, and how small differences can lead to exponential growth. The objective of this course is to offer comprehensive information and lay the foundation for mastering sales skills for a person of any age to apply in any situation for a variety of motives, whether personal or professional in nature.
In this course, you will understand how to sell with purpose, connecting fully to your customer's desires and wants, while understanding the nuts and bolts of a typical sale. This includes learning how to assess a sales opportunity; recognizing a buying cycle and creating an appropriate sales cycle; developing a sales strategy; and navigating competitive and political forces at play. Through this course, you will be able to recognize and seize new opportunities that will put you ahead of intensifying competition. You will learn how to leverage your sales skills in building up a winning team for even more sales. Finally, you will learn about the customer experience and how customer-centric marketing leads to long-term customer loyalty. This course will introduce you to important tools that you can use and utilizes a mixture of sales theory, examples, exercises, quizzes, and optional reading resources for further study.
Course MotivationSelling is one of the oldest professions in the world. It involves a means of exchange, whether in products or services. A sale is based on the desire for change or improvement in some aspect.The best salespeople are individuals who understand, connect with, and engage this basic need in people.
The Purpose of a Salesperson
A salesperson is essentially an individual who creates and keeps a customer. A salesperson finds and connects with a prospect or potential customer, presents a product or service that offers a solution to a problem, and then follows up with the customer to complete the sale of this product or service.
Top salespeople tend to think and act quite differently from the average salespeople. Being highly successful in sales requires a positive mindset.
The Pareto Principle is an economic principle defined by an Italian economist, Pareto. According to the 80/20 rule -- or Pareto Principle -- 20 percent of your effort accounts for 80 percent of your results. This powerful and insightful principle can be applied through every aspect of sales, particularly in sales psychology. Eighty percent of sales success is dependent upon psychology. The way people think affects the way that they walk, talk, feel, and act. When you change your inner world, your outer world changes as well. To have more in your life, you must be more; and when you change your thinking, you change your life.
Top salespeople are ambitious and determined to be the best in their fields. They recognize that the Pareto Principle applies to salespeople themselves, meaning that 20 percent of the salespeople make 80 percent of the sales. Hence, they work diligently to be in that top 20 percent and narrow the gap to reach into the highest sales category for their industries.
Top salespeople recognize the success of previous salespeople and learn from their principles. By doing what other successful people do, they know they also will achieve similar results. They view sales as a way of achieving all their other goals.
Qualities of Top Salespeople
In general, top salespeople have the following qualities. Some of these qualities may be innate, but all of them are always cultivated and expanded upon to achieve their maximum potential.
Top salespeople also recognize and follow the three essential keys to high performance.
High Performance Drivers
1. Definition: Define clearly what characteristics and qualities are necessary to develop within yourself.
2. Education: Learn what you need to learn to become the person you want to become.
3. Practice: Practice these new qualities, thoughts, and behaviors again and again until they become part of your personality.
Cultivating Positive Relationships
Happiness is the major focus of most people -- and for most people, happiness is derived significantly from fulfilling relationships. The happiness of an individual is linked to relationships, yet a person is not responsible for the happiness of another. By being happy and positive yourself, you are able to have positive relationships with others.
One of the great aims of life for a person in sales is to build and maintain better relationships with more people. Throughout your life, you will develop more and more relationships, and you must work on increasing and enhancing the value of those relationships. Do not take your relationships for granted.
Your success in life will be largely determined by the number of people you know, and who know and like you.
Study after study shows that the most successful and influential people are those who know and are known by the greatest number of other influential people. As you expand your network of contacts, friends, and relationships, you actually expand the dimensions and quality of your life.
You always like people better when they are genuinely interested in you, when they listen closely to what you have to say.
The Law of Indirect Effort
There is a law of indirect effort that says you always get things better in life indirectly. This is apparent in relationships.
If you want to impress another, be impressed by them. If you want people to like you, like them. If you want to have a friend, be a friend. If you want to be influential, then do the things that make people like and respect you more.
You always listen most to the people you value and care about. You ignore those whom you do not care about or value.
When you are in a social situation and when you meet several people, remember that every single person there considers herself or himself to be the most important person.
In fact, a mistake that people make is they greet four or five in a group of six or seven people in a social setting, and ignore the others. What this does it devalues and insults the ones left out. Hence, being cognizant of all the people around you, and acknowledging them, shows both tact and appreciation -- two qualities the value of which cannot be underestimated.
Everything counts. Everything helps or hurts. Everything adds up or takes away. In life, everything counts.
How Do You Listen?
The way you listen or fail to listen sends a message that affects the way people think about you, feel about you, and trust you and your ideas. In general, people do not trust people who talk too much and do not listen.
On the other hand, most people like and trust people who listen really well when we talk. The most popular and effective people in every area are good listeners. Listening is a key quality of leadership.
In fact, in a recent study, researchers found that the average top sales leader or manager spends 40 percent or more of the time listening.
Talking Versus Listening
When you are talking, all you can hear is what you know already; but when you are listening, there is a good chance that you will learn and hear something new and different that you do not know.
How Do You Listen Effectively?
Listen without interruption. When you are with a prospect or potential customer, shut the door and eliminate outside distractions; act as though that person is the only thing in the room.
Lean forward and face the person directly. Leaning in when another is speaking enhances and impresses the person that you are fully attentive. Nod, smile, and agree; be fully engaged in the listening process.
This is in direct opposition to the person who listens without any motion or sound. Instead, you look at the person, pay attention, nod, smile, and agree. Look at the person's face, eyes, and mouth. Pay attention as though you are really hanging on every word.
Avoid interjecting or interrupting when you listen. The worst kind of listener is constantly interrupting or mouthing what he or she is going to say without any consideration for the person speaking. He or she already has gotten a response ready and fails to pay any attention.
The best listener listens attentively without any effort at all and any interruption. Instead, he or she just listens.
Rapt attention is the highest form of flattery. When you give a person total attention, you flatter people by telling them that what they say is valuable and important. This in turn means implicitly that they are valuable and important, as well.
Attentive listening raises the blood pressure, respiratory rate, self-esteem, and feelings of value of a person listened to.
When you listen to others intently, they actually feel physically and emotionally good about themselves. When you ignore a person, it is exactly the opposite. Hence, listen closely to the important people in your life.
Listening builds trust, while talking does not.
Build trust by listening attentively to everything your prospect is saying, as though what he or she is saying is the most important thing in the world.
Pause Before Replying
Allow moments of silence before replying. Every great conversation has three aspects: a period of talking, a period of listening, and a period of silence.
You must allow silence to develop in the conversation. It is only in the pauses that people can absorb and reflect on what is being said by the other person. Do not be uncomfortable with silence, especially in business or sales conversations. Sometimes the silence is the most effective part of the communication.
Pausing avoids the possibility of interrupting, just in case your prospect is organizing thoughts and preparing to come back to you with a response. Pausing enables you to hear better. If someone says something and you respond immediately, you miss some or all of what he or she says. When you pause, the words that the person said to you soaks into a deeper part of the mind and you hear that person and understand better in the silence.
Question for Clarification
Asking questions shows genuine interest in the speaker. It helps the speaker expand upon his or her thoughts and ideas. Be careful to avoid the assumption that you understand completely. Asking questions creates engagement and demonstrates your curiosity, passion, and excitement in the work that your prospect does. It validates your prospect and takes your conversation to another level.
Asking questions also eliminates doubts and confusion. If you are not entirely sure what the person said, or what the person means, you probably did not understand it at all. Pausing and questioning for clarification is a tremendous conversational device. This can make your interaction much stronger and effective.
When you ask a question, you help the person to go into the idea or thought more deeply, which gives the speaker the opportunity to think about more than what he or she just said. Questioning thus offers depth, and also a platform, for deeper conversations. This builds trust, which in turn makes the prospect more comfortable and open to your influence.
A good example of a clarifying question is "How do you mean?" or, "What do you mean?" You can use this question when you are uncertain, but also to deflect concerns or objections such as, "I am not interested," or, "It costs too much." By asking this question, you leave the prospect with no opportunity to refuse. It becomes impossible to not answer, and the person will expand or explain in order to reply or come back with a suggestion.
In addition, you can ask questions such as the five "Ws" and the "H" -- or who, what, when, why, where, and how. For example, a few potential questions are:
- What are you doing about that now?
- When will you be taking action?
- How is that working for you?
- Who is involved?
Questions like this cannot be left unanswered, so they prompt the prospect into replying.
The person who asks questions has control. You can take control by asking clear questions. When you listen attentively to the answers, you build trust.
You can feed the responses back, paraphrasing them in your own words. Before you begin to respond in any way, check in with your prospect by paraphrasing. You can say something along these lines: "Let me make sure I understand exactly where you are coming from." This helps to ensure that you and your prospect are on the same page. You can also ask questions such as, "Is that correct?"
After the prospect has confirmed that your paraphrased interpretation is indeed correct, only then can you respond effectively and address the real need.
In many ways, paraphrasing is the acid test of listening, as it proves to the speaker that you were really listening.
A salesperson who fails to truly listen ends up having the opposite effect and thus polarizes the prospect. This is very insulting and makes the person feel as though you are trying to manipulate. On the other hand, paraphrasing puts you in a position to reply and present your case effectively.
Every relationship involves the ability to influence, persuade, or negotiate. These aspects are very similar to a sales presentation.
A sales presentation involves the following four parts:
Forty percent of good selling is building trust. In every relationship, trust is the foundation; build it and then rebuild it at the beginning of every situation.
2. Identifying Needs
Thirty percent of good selling is accurately identifying needs of your prospect, tuning into his or her genuine problems and concerns.
Twenty percent of selling is presenting your ideas as the best way for the other person to achieve his or her goals.
By building trust, and clearly defining the person's situation, the final 20 percent of actual selling is far easier and more effective.
The final 10 percent involves checking for understanding, agreement, and commitment. You can ask clarifying commitment questions, such as, "Does it make sense to you so far?" and, "Would you like to go ahead with this?" Asking good questions is important at every stage of the process, especially when you want to influence or persuade the person in some way.
Practice the 70/30 rule in every conversation. This means you spend 70 percent of your time listening and 30 percent of your time talking. When the other person talks 70 percent more, you let that person dominate the talking while you dominate the listening. This shows your attentiveness. While it is easy to talk yourself out of the sale, it is difficult to listen yourself out.
Areas Where Listening Helps
There are many areas where listening skills can be very powerful communication devices, such as interviewing, giving feedback, dealing with complaints, and in selling. In interviewing, you can ask questions to encourage other persons to talk. Avoid selling your idea, whether it is hiring that person, or telling the person your opinion, until you are ready to buy from that person. In a performance review, when a person is not doing the job well, state your area of concern first and then ask questions. Avoid dumping your concerns on the person. Instead, ask for feedback such as "How do you feel about this situation?" and "What do you think is the next step?" By asking good questions, you can avoid jumping in before you get the true facts.
When you are dealing with complaints from customers and bosses, listen completely without defending. Remember that the person who asks questions has control. If a situation comes up, ask questions, such as, "What happened?" and, "How do you mean?" or, "Can you expand?" Another good, clarifying question is, "What would you like me to do?"
In selling, when you experience any resistance, ask questions and listen intently to the answer.
There are four important styles to listening that you need to practice in your everyday life to fully learn them, and practice them in all of your relationships.
Listen to understand, listen to help, reflect on your listening by paraphrasing, and actively listen. When you listen attentively, you can become one of the most influential, appreciated, popular, and successful communicators and salespeople in the world.
- Completely Online
- Printable Lessons
- Full HD Video
- 6 Months to Complete
- 24/7 Availability
- Start Anytime
- PC & Mac Compatible
- Android & iOS Friendly
- Accredited CEUs
Lesson 1: Developing a Sales Personality
- Lesson 1 Video
- Lesson discussions: Sales Skills; Reasons for Taking this Course
- Complete Assignment: An Introduction
- Assessment: Lesson 1 Exam
Lesson 2: Why Confidence Makes the Difference
- Lesson 2 Video
- Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment: A Positive Attitude
- Assessment: Lesson 2 Exam
Lesson 3: Seven Critical Factors for Success in Sales
- Lesson 3 Video
- Complete: Lesson 3 Assignment
- Assessment: Lesson 3 Exam
Lesson 4: How Small Differences Accelerate Growth
- Lesson 4 Video
- Complete: Lesson 4 Assignment
- Assessment: Lesson 4 Exam
Lesson 5: Knowing What You Have
- Lesson 5 Video
- Assessment: Lesson 5 Exam
Lesson 6: Visualizing the Sale
- Lesson 6 Video
- Lesson discussions: Visualization
- Complete: Lesson 6 Assignment
- Assessment: Lesson 6 Exam
Lesson 7: Helping Others Get What They Want
- Lesson 7 Video
- Assessment: Lesson 7 Exam
Lesson 8: Knowing the Nuts and Bolts of a Sale
- Lesson 8 Video
- Assessment: Lesson 8 Exam
Lesson 9: Overcoming Objections
- Lesson 9 Video
- Complete: Lesson 9 Assignment: Techniques for Dealing with Objections
- Assessment: Lesson 9 Exam
Lesson 10: Knowing What Questions to Ask
- Lesson 10 Video
- Assessment: Lesson 10 Exam
Lesson 11: Successful Closing Techniques: Part 1
- Lesson 11 Video
- Complete: Lesson 11 Assignment: Closing the Sale
- Assessment: Lesson 11 Exam
Lesson 12: Successful Closing Techniques: Part 2
- Lesson 12 Video
- Assessment: Lesson 12 Exam
Lesson 13: Build Your Team for More Sales
- Lesson 13 Video
- Assessment: Lesson 13 Exam
Lesson 14: Recruiting for Talent
- Lesson 14 Video
- Complete: Lesson 14 Assignment: Who would you hire?
- Assessment: Lesson 14 Exam
Lesson 15: Designing a Winning Sales Culture
- Lesson 15 Video
- Assessment: Lesson 15 Exam
Lesson 16: Adapting, Allocating, and Retaining Sales Success
- Lesson 16 Video
- Lesson discussions: Sales Goals
- Complete: Lesson 16 Assignment
- Assessment: Lesson 16 Exam
Lesson 17: Customer Experience
- Lesson 17 Video
- Assessment: Lesson 17 Exam
Lesson 18: Tools of the Trade
- Lesson 18 Video
- Assessment: Lesson 18 Exam
Lesson 19: Conclusion
- Lesson 19 Video
- Lesson discussions: What is your opinion of this course?; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
- Complete: Lesson 19 Assignment: What Determines Success?
- Assessment: Lesson 19 Exam
- Assessment: The Final Exam
- Summarize developing a sales personality.
- Describe why confidence makes the difference.
- Describe seven critical factors for success in sales.
- Describe how small differences accelerate growth.
- Summarize knowing what you have as far as the necessary skills to be a successful salesperson.
- Describe visualizing the sale.
- Summarize helping others get what they want.
- Describe knowing the nuts and bolts of a sale.
- Describe techniques for overcoming objections.
- Summarize knowing what questions to ask.
- Define successful closing techniques.
- Summarize successful closing techniques.
- Identify ways to build your team for more sales.
- Describe techniques for recruiting for talent.
- Recognize how to design a winning sales culture.
- Identify ways for adapting, allocating, and retaining sales success.
- Summarize the customer experience.
- Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.
Additional Course Information
- Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
- Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
- Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
- View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
- Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
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