Small Business Sales Advice

Personal Selling

Written by Clayton Reeves for Gaebler Ventures

Personal selling sometimes has a negative connotation. However, in business to business marketing there are several forms of personal selling that are generally accepted and appreciated. Improving personal selling skills can turn a good sales force into a great sales force.

Salespeople generally get a bad rep for basically doing what any rational person would do in their situation.

Personal Selling

Salespeople are paid based on commission and will sell their product to anyone that is willing to buy it.

The morally gray areas of personal selling include high pressure selling and sleazy misleading tactics. There are, however, high skill requirements for many sales positions. Salespeople that can perform are a valuable asset to any company, and when they do so with class they can be great company advocates.

This article will shed light on some of the skills that are necessary for a successful salesperson. These are some of the reasons that personal selling is so expensive for companies to employ.

To build a good sales team, focus on the following skill sets when choosing your own personal sales force.

Selling Skills

This may seem like a pretty ambiguous statement, but selling skills are needed to be a successful salesman. Different companies quantify these skills in different ways. Communication is always a top priority among sales people. These skills can take form in written or oral forms. Both are important in initiating and maintaining contact with a customer.

Training is a part of being a salesperson, but can also be one of the most costly parts of a sales program. Keeping employees up to date with new products, trends in the market, changing customer demands and other facets of the sales process is a continuous thing. That is why efficiently training your sales people can add to the personal selling process.

Company and Product Knowledge

As stated prior, training can be an integral part of a personal selling program. However, it is just as important that the sales person knows how they fit into the company's mission and vision statements. Without a big picture perspective, the sales person may not be able to make choices that are always in the interest of the company.

Knowing about the products is also important to the entire process. Each attribute of a product is designed to bring value to a customer, and it is the job of the sales person to match customers up with their ideal product mix. Without knowledge of each product attribute, they cannot accomplish this goal.

Market and Customer Knowledge

Knowledge of the market means being up to date with changes in the macro environment. Without knowing what shape the economy is in, the sales person may be shocked when they have trouble selling luxury add-ons. This can help them create the ideal product mix for the current economic environment.

Knowledge of each customer is also important. Salespeople are generally the closest that the customer gets to the company. This one on one relationship can produce benefits if the sales person pays close attention to their customers. Things like customer growth, tendencies, habits and history and effect future dealings. When a salesperson begins to appreciate these things, they can take advantage of this relationship and present perfect solutions for the customer's needs.

Time Management and Area Management

As a sales person, the ability to manage time and space is important. Travel is something that becomes a part of everyday life in sales. Being able to manage each task and sales area is harder than it may appear. It requires balancing customer requests, seasonal cycles, flight schedules, shipments, and more. Management is not a skill that can be taught as much as it is learned. People can be gifted at multitasking and managing things. These people generally succeed in this portion of sales.

When he's not playing racquetball or studying for a class, Clayton Reeves enjoys writing articles about entrepreneurship. He is currently an MBA student at the University of Missouri with a concentration in Economics and Finance.

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