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  • Are Selling Skills Overrated?

    I’m not sure when it occurred to companies that addressing a sales rep’s selling skills was unnecessary, yet it’s the most visible sign of how the sales rep interacts with the customer. Why are we ignoring the importance of these skills?

    Recently, I was in a conversation with someone who explained to me that the most important attributes of a sales person is product knowledge, market knowledge, and drive – all points I found hard to argue against. However, when I asked why “effective selling skills” weren’t mentioned the response was, “Well, selling skills should be inherent.”

    Really???

    I’m not sure when it occurred to companies that addressing a sales rep’s selling skills was unnecessary, yet it’s the most visible sign of how the sales rep interacts with the customer. People, including you and I, on many occasions make our decisions on whether or not we are going to purchase a high ticket item (e.g. car, house, flat screen TV etc) by how the sales rep engages with us. So why is improving one’s selling skills often ignored?

    One reason, I think, is that many sales people avoid like the plague any training centered on improving personal skills such as selling skills, which reaches to the core of one’s competency. An analogy could be a cab driver. The assumption is that cab drivers are at the baseline good drivers (at least some would assume this), and therefore any reasoning that most of these cabbies should attend driving school periodically seems like nonsense to them. But in reality, you can argue that cab drivers should attend driving courses periodically because of the responsibilities they have regarding the safety of their passengers.

    Going back to the basics of one’s craft is critical to the consistent success or competency in any given position. Revisiting “basic selling skills” should be a natural part of the development process.

    During the height of his career, Michael Jordan worked on free throws constantly…and he could pretty much jump out of a gym. What does that tell you?

    Working on the basics is what separates the good from the GREAT! Selling skills are NOT overrated but an area of sales competency that should be periodically examined in every sales position regardless of industry.

    Creating customer value is basically our ability as sales people to interact with the customer in a way that they receive tangible value from that interaction. Customers will pay for high ticketed cost items if they enjoy and receive value from their sales person. If you don’t believe me, think about the last time you brought something very expensive that you could have gotten at a cheaper cost, but the sales person was so engaging and skillful you purchased the expensive item anyway? It happens all of the time. I personally have been the customer in that situation many times, and I’m a sales person myself!!

    Having superior selling skills as a sales person sets you apart. Studies repeatedly show this. Why are we ignoring its importance? Any thoughts?

    Filed Under: Career

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    About the Author: Domestic/International Sales Management, Global Training/Product Marketing, and Project Management are a few key senior executive roles Andre' has held in his 24 years of professional experience. With a passion and opportunity to lead national and global sales teams, he has built and developed sales organizations that addressed untapped markets, conducted customer segmentations, and uncovered market intelligence to meet corporate objectives and goals. His leadership skills are broad with diverse positions that encompass building a sales organization from ground level, managing multi-million dollar budgets and leading numerous cross-functional teams. His skills and experience are all backed by a Green Belt Six Sigma certification. Visit his website at http://aharrell2000.wordpress.com.

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