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Importance of Sales Training

Reply to the following:

• New Associate Sales School, which features comprehensive training sessions for new sales associates
• Ongoing training about new products, services, and technology led by experienced trainers in a classroom setting and in the field
• Coaching and mentoring from sales managers and veteran associates
• Specialized training to suit your area's needs
• Continuing education with online Aflac Sales Academy courses, which provide product, leadership, and industry training for associates at their convenience
• Webinars and other online training materials accessed through Aflac's Web site for associates

In my experience, by going through Air Force Recruiting School, we were taught Professional Selling Skills. Some of the training taught was started with an understanding of the requirements to qualify to work with the company as well as benefits provided by the company. We learned the acronym MATTRESS:

Money-benefit of how much we make and the medical and dental benefits.
Advancement-How we are able to gain new pay levels in the job.
Travel-travel opportunities across the US and the country.
Training-what training you receive and if it is college accredited.
Education-how much the company pays toward college(Tuition assistance) or other certifications paid by the company.
Satisfaction-in the Military some people join to serve their country. When selling you can talk about what is important to the person then sell them on that item.
Security-this means job security as well as retirement benefits.

When working in sales, it is important to ask probing questions to find out what the applicant's language of needs are. For example, if a person says they want a job that pays well, you would find out why they want the money. They could say they need money to pay bills and support their family. You could talk about Money as well as Security. Talking about what they would be making for their family as well as the Security given by the company by a consistent paycheque as well as medical benefits could fulfil the applicant's need. Quite often, people fall into ta car salesman mode and just sell the gadgets on cars that a buyer does not even want. That is because the car salesman is taught to ABC (Always Be Closing). This method may work at times, but it will not help you longterm with future applicants as people will realize they made a mistake and will not recommend you to their friends or family. Establishing rapport is extremely important when creating a sales environment. It's not about making a sale today, but rather establishing a reputation which can lead to more sales longterm.

Another issue that is important is developing a strategy for locating customers to talk to. If people don't know what you are selling, they wont buy it. You need to teach marketing to include zone canvassing and telephone prospecting. Zone canvassing can be posting information throughout places where there is high traffic of potential customers. Another thing to know are your competitors. This could be the other large insurance companies. You will want to teach your sales reps to find information on their competitors and have printed statistics readily available.

There are a few other issues that you need to teach sales representatives. Those are overcoming indifference. Indifference pretty much means that a customer is happy in their current situation. If you are selling insurance some people you may encounter may be happy with their current insurance company. That is why it is important for you to know your competition and to ask probing questions to understand what your customer needs or wants.

There may be times when you have to overcome skepticism, misunderstanding or drawbacks:

Skepticism is when a customer does not believe a certain benefit your company provides and you will need to overcome this by showing relevant proof.

Misunderstanding is when a customer thinks you don't provide something when you actually do. It could also go the other way when a customer thinks you do provide a benefit when you actually don't.

A drawback is something that a customer knows you cannot provide for them but you have to try overcoming this by telling them about the other benefits that do meet their needs. You need to attempt to explain how you are providing more for them than not. Outweigh the cons by using your pros.

Each year you should provide refresher training on Professional Selling Skills. You can perform interactive discussions where some sales reps are the sales reps and others are the customer. Having the sales reps as customers allows them to see what its like to be on the other side of the phone call or the desk during the sales process.

One thing I learned as a Recruiter is that we have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason. It is twice as important to listen as it is to talk. We have to understand what the customer wants before we can truly know what we can provide for them.

Solution Preview

Sales training is very important. Just like Frederick Taylor learned, there is an effective manner in which to operate a factory - sales skills can be taught to increase the success of employees, thus creating more sales. I agree it is important to listen to the customer. I like the comment that "we have two ears and one mouth for a reason." I think some people are able ...

Solution Summary

This solution responds to a post regarding the importance of sales training and includes illustrative examples.