Do you think sales is a learnable skill?

by 47 replies
Do you think every one has the potential to sell? or some people will never be able to sell.
#offline marketing #learnable #sales #skill
Avatar of Unregistered
  • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
    Well...it really varies..

    I guess everyone can sell "something" at some time....will it be a career they enjoy, prosper at or one that they dread, squeak by?

    Some keys are - to know and be passionate about what you sell. Become an expert....know what you are talking about....if you are into real estate, follow it ,know your market, follow the news, trends, stats, so that "rolls off you tongue"

    All the "sales reports" can't tell you what to do - you learn by doing, don't beat yourself up if you don't sell, try to learn from it, but don't nitpick or keep going over it

    Do use what "sales process" your company has in place if you are working for a company - utilize what worked for others. If possible watch and learn from others

    On phone - smile and dial - have list of objections up = know what to say and when

    In person - be prepared...have your sales material there....a good powerpoint is great but have it loaded and ready to go - I saw one guy put up a powerpoint but it went to his personal fb page with drunken stupid selfies LOL....be prepared

    I don't know if you can learn it but - in person a good memory really helps. I was blessed or cursed with a photographic, "uber" , super -"recognizer" memory which means I meet a person and 2 years later recall their name, face etc when we meet again
    Good memory or try to improve it - people love when you remember them
    They love it even more when you remember to ask how their cruise went, how their daughter did at her dance recital, how the "new item on the menu" is working out etc

    Keep plowing through - but know when to stop. Consider everyone a buyer but at some point you do get realistic - Know when to hold em and know when to fold em

    Now...the so called "IM" people? It has become a joke IMHO - a world of talentless clueless people following rote "formula" to sell more useless "gimme muny" pdf's, tee shirts and "trials' of dubious weight loss products that lock unsuspecting customers into a credit card mess to "unsubscribe"
    Not to mention the new Ponzi schemes...haha

    at least "offline" mostly requires something of some value - real estate is always a crowded field but people do succeed at it so good luck to you
  • Profile picture of the author eccj
    Some people just can't sell at a professional level no matter what. Few that try are ever successful at the professional level. Something like 1 and 10 insurance licenses ever get renewed.
    • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
      Originally Posted by eccj View Post

      Some people just can't sell at a professional level no matter what. Few that try are ever successful at the professional level. Something like 1 and 10 insurance licenses ever get renewed.
      I don't think that is an issue of people being unable to sell, but not being motivated to actually do it.

      I think of selling in a much simpler way than a lot of people. I DO think everyone can sell. Some are just better than others.

      I think it comes down to awareness, awareness in your life, awareness in yourself and in others. The more aware you are, the more likely you will be able to sell.

      The things people have even said in this thread, listening to your prospect or lead, being able to press the right points, using the right rebuttals. Being able to do that, of course comes with knowledge that anyone can have, but more importantly having a high enough level of awareness to be able to do it.

      Can it be learned? Yes.
    • Profile picture of the author Jonwebb
      Originally Posted by eccj View Post

      Some people just can't sell at a professional level no matter what. Few that try are ever successful at the professional level. Something like 1 and 10 insurance licenses ever get renewed.
      I think people can learn to sell.

      maybe everyone can't convice someone to buy something like a 700 dollar cell phone they don't need ( I think they can) but I think everyone can walk into a appointment, give a presentation, ask/answer some questions and close a deal.

      Growing up I was stupidly shy, bordeline disorder. I didn't have many friends, I played sports but i would get so nervous I'd end up in the bath room stressing the freak out.

      fast forward a few years in my small market, I was the dominant t-mobile contract salesman for every month that I was with the company.

      be who you are, find a group of people who need what you have to offer, and give them a chance to buy from you. Is it always that simple? No but it most of the time it is.
  • Profile picture of the author Steve The Copywriter
    If you really want to be good in sales despite all the fears, trials and tribulations.

    You need to learn the "skills" and honestly they are not difficult (grab some 5 star rated amazon books).

    Many sales trainers deliberately make selling so convoluted and complicated (maybe to "justify" the cost of their courses).

    But selling is all about "easy communication" - it's just talking.


    Find out what the person wants or what their problem is.

    And show them you have a really good answer.

    And tell them about it.

    Be able to deal (without any tricks or gimmicks) with any questions or objections.

    And do what most salespeople never do -

    Take a short breathe and ask for the order.


    That's it in a nutshell.

    It may be it's just not for you - which is perfectly OK.

    But you'll never know until you try.


    Steve


    P.S. There is something you DO need to cope with - and it's what kippers 99.999% of salespeople.

    You have to deal with endless rejections "No, No, No…"

    Most salespeople get "rejected" more often in month that others are in a lifetime.

    It can be tough and it does take resilience.

    But you can't be successful in sales without the rejections - mathematically it's impossible (don't let anybody tell you differently).

    It's all about numbers.

    Again to keep it simple...

    Lets say it takes 10 calls to get a sale and you earn $100.00.

    But you are NOT really earning $100.00 for the sale.

    Because it took 10 calls.

    So every call earned you $10.00.
    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Here is what selling is not;
      Being glib and funny.
      Being able to tell jokes.
      Lying.
      Conning people.


      Selling is clear communication, and work. In my experience, most people are unsuccessful at selling. And one of the main reasons is that they are conditioned to behave in a certain way, and selling is counter intuitive.

      Here's what I mean. Calling a stranger to ask for an appointment is not something most people are comfortable doing.

      Asking people to buy, or asking for money is way out of most people's comfort zones.

      I honestly don't think selling is a natural talent. I certainly am not a natural. Out of a few thousand reps I've hired over the decades, I've met one that took to it so easily, that I would consider a Natural.

      There are skills involved. And they take effort to learn....and while you are learning, you will fail more often than you succeed. Most people aren't able to take that hit to their self image.

      And selling well enough to make a good living is relatively easy to learn. Selling at high levels is about as easy to learn as brain surgery.

      How easy is it to learn copywriting, stand up comedy, karate, playing the violin?

      You can learn a lot in a few years. But it takes real effort, and dedication.... to be Great.

      And no, you don't need to invest in expensive sales training courses. And, out of the 2,000 sales books I've read and own, maybe 10 are really useful. All the top salespeople here know which ones they are.
  • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
    I agree with all ....

    You do need to listen to the potential customer, hear them out. You need to answer their objections honestly but you must pick the right rebuttal

    Asking for the sale, close the deal is the hardest thing for some to master. You have to ask for it.
    I have seen people who were pretty good at presentation waffle around at the end and leave "escape" routes - just like the old "check is in the mail" joke.
  • Profile picture of the author chriswilliams45
    For the most part, yes. I mean, there are some people out there who are hopeless and will only ever work for the government. However, most sales people who say it's not learnable, are just trying to make themselves sound unique. It's quite pathetic.
  • Profile picture of the author animal44
    Originally Posted by newbie_ken View Post

    Do you think every one has the potential to sell? or some people will never be able to sell.
    IMHO selling is a natural trait.

    Ever applied for a job? - you're selling yourself, your skills.

    Ever made a friend? - you're selling yourself, your friendship.

    Ever got a date? - you're selling yourself, your potential as a mate.

    Selling is really no different. Just get a clear value proposition and be yourself...
    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      [QUOTE=animal44;10089171Just get a clear value proposition and be yourself...[/QUOTE]

      Need another ingredient to make that work.

      Best,
      Doctor E. Vile
    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

      IMHO selling is a natural trait.

      Ever applied for a job? - you're selling yourself, your skills.

      Ever made a friend? - you're selling yourself, your friendship.

      Ever got a date? - you're selling yourself, your potential as a mate.

      Selling is really no different. Just get a clear value proposition and be yourself...
      These activities are anticipated and expected in our society. Asking a stranger to give you money for a product/service is not. The kind of selling that is accepted is called clerking.


      For example;

      Ever applied for a job? ...and while you were there, asked him to buy life insurance?

      Ever made a friend? ...and then asked her to buy a car from you?

      Ever got a date? .....and then asked her to marry you on that date?

      See the leap? The activities you mentioned are selling. But they are selling at the simplest, easiest level.

      You see.....
      Everyone has asked for a job and got one.
      Everyone has a friend.
      Everyone has been on a date.

      Very few make a great living as a professional salesman.

      And I think it's interesting. Let's take your "Ever ask for a date?". Perhaps that could be called selling.

      Now, here is more information about the person you are asking out on a date....

      She is already happily married. And going out with you would likely cause a divorce. And...you are asking her to pay for the date. You have an hour. Start.

      OK, now that's selling.


      I give the same speech as you, about how easy selling is, and how we do it in every day life. But, if you expect to sell at any level besides the beginner level, you need to know what you are doing. I'm not saying that you don't.

      I admit that there are levels of difficulty selling.

      Being a rep where they call in to buy, is about as easy as it gets.
      Selling to businesses that already use what you are selling is pretty easy.
      Selling at retail, even at high levels, is far easier than selling in someone's home.
      Selling to large corporations in repeated interviews...may be harder yet, I don't know.

      And even the best sales training program won't take a dullard from beginner to advanced. In the same way, no matter how much coaching I would get..I would never be a professional basketball player.

      When I see a salesperson sell at a high level, the person is rarer than one out of a thousand. And it's a beautiful thing to behold.
  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Originally Posted by newbie_ken View Post

    Do you think every one has the potential to sell? or some people will never be able to sell.
    A consistent sales PROCESS can be learned and applied.

    Many good responses in this thread.

    Selling is not some magic talent. The awareness, as said above, is the individual difference that makes the difference. Making it "not about you" is critical. Someone mentioned separating self-esteem or self-image from the results--that is important, too. Failure to sell today is not personality failure. Screw up baking a cake and you don't go glum for a week.

    Learn and apply a consistent sales process and you will always know where you are in the sale. You'll know why you didn't make the sale (and that's OK). You'll know why you DID make the sale. Then you can improve. But flying by the seat of your pants, trying to figure it out brand new every time, will result in confusion and frustration. Get the certainty of knowing what's going to happen...and then you can get out in front of, and if you're good invisibly lead, your prospect. People want to be lead.
  • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
    I have personally witnessed people that were dumber then dirt sell.
    Others with speech impediments, wheelchair bound and others
    so obese they might as well be classified as crippled.

    All of them sold well enough to make a decent living.

    Watching that happen over and over through the years tells me
    Yes, anyone can be taught how to do automated, robot like sales.

    It all boils down to the sales system itself, script, rebuttals and continuous training.

    Now - with that said ... these people make sales - but in my opinion, they are not salespeople.

    Some of them do eventually become sales people. But most don't and truthfully
    most don't want to ever do more then what they already do.

    You can a train monkey's to sell, but you can't train monkeys to become salespeople.

    Real salespeople are all about learning, 24/7, about anything and everything ...
    and just about everything we learn, can and does get applied to sales ... in one way
    or another.
    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
      Banned
      Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

      I have personally witnessed people that were dumber then dirt sell.
      That's because they're not smart enough to bring their preconceived misconceptions with them. Give them a plan and a process, tell them not to deviate and you'll be surprised but what they are capable of delivering.

      When I used to hire for my telemarketing rooms I never hired what I perceived as the smartest applicants. Those with average intelligence with a need for quick and steady income were usually my most successful hires. I would tell them that I was hired to be the brains and that it was their job to follow the smart guy's lead. They loved that as it put all the pressure on me, to their way of thinking.

      The smarter they got, the more they would deviate from our success formula and the worse they would do. If they were really smart they would take my advice and forget what they think they now knew better and get back to what I taught them, originally. That usually worked and once again showed them who the smartest guy in the room actually was. lol

      Unless someone is just flat out socially awkward, I feel that I can teach almost anyone how to sell. Will they all be top producers. Of course not, but they'll make a decent living and I'll be happy to accept the overrides.

      Cheers. - Frank
  • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
    Oh I agree with Frank.....having owned and run phone rooms, hired and "let go"....
    there comes a point when a telemarketer gets "good", gets "comfortable"...and they decide to change or add or subtract and put their own spin on it

    sales go down and they need to be put back on track - listen to their calls, guide them

    as for the script - well that is one reason I often suggest that people afraid to sell work part time in a phone room and/or get an outside sales job - that has good training.

    Not work for some goofball with not idea how to market his webdesigns - no...work in a structured sales environment, one with scripts, role playing, sales meetings, "pump u up" meetings,
    the more salesy the better...bells ringing, balloons popping, cause then you can have good sales managers, teachers, you can also listen into the best ones in the room or go out in the field with the best ones. You will learn

    If you want to "do it yourself" you need to develop a process.
    • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
      Originally Posted by Freebiequeen1999 View Post

      Oh I agree with Frank.....having owned and run phone rooms, hired and "let go"....
      there comes a point when a telemarketer gets "good", gets "comfortable"...and they decide to change or add or subtract and put their own spin on it

      sales go down and they need to be put back on track - listen to their calls, guide them


      as for the script - well that is one reason I often suggest that people afraid to sell work part time in a phone room and/or get an outside sales job - that has good training.

      Not work for some goofball with not idea how to market his webdesigns - no...work in a structured sales environment, one with scripts, role playing, sales meetings, "pump u up" meetings,
      the more salesy the better...bells ringing, balloons popping, cause then you can have good sales managers, teachers, you can also listen into the best ones in the room or go out in the field with the best ones. You will learn

      If you want to "do it yourself" you need to develop a process.
      We call that diarrhea of the mouth and the fastest way to fix it ... is make them go back to reading the script - verbatim

      Fixes the problem 100% of the time.
    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Freebiequeen1999 View Post

      there comes a point when a telemarketer gets "good", gets "comfortable"...and they decide to change or add or subtract and put their own spin on it
      Well, there seems to be a lot of debate in the sales world about the pros and cons of working from a script, whether or not it should ever be appended to and if so, when?

      Most of my telemarketing managing and training experience was in doing membership development for Chambers of Commerce and Better Business Bureaus. While we had a bit more leeway with the C of C scripts, the ones that I wrote for BBB membership development and member retention had to be approved by the bureau's board of directors and once approved, were written in stone. Any deviation from the prepared script could and usually did result in termination, if the board got wind of it. I even wrote and taught the response to any objection that could ever arise - word for word and never let the troops freelance. The main reason for that was the company had spent years fine-tuning these scripts and they were the primary reason for our success.

      If you're a baker and you are given a recipe that will produce the best chocolate cake you have ever tasted and you bake those cakes day after day, year after year and the masses are gobbling them up - you've got a killer recipe. When I hire you, I give you a copy of my recipe and I tell you that you are not to deviate so much as to add or remove a pinch of anything in this recipe or the cake will fall. You go for weeks baking the world's best chocolate cakes and then one day you decide that you're a wee-bit bored with plain chocolate cake and you want a hint of cherry in your chocolate cake, so you add it in. Soon you realize that your cake sales are going down. How can that be? You took a great cake recipe and through your own improvement, you made it even better. Really? Then how come sales of chocolate cake are down? That's easy - you can't improve on perfection and yes - if you spend years tweaking a script you can create a perfect one for your market. It's not as if we created that recipe over a few days. We spent many years honing it, testing it, even just changing the order of a few sentences until we had a recipe that ANYONE could follow and themselves create the world's best chocolate cake. No cherry flavor needed.
      sales go down and they need to be put back on track - listen to their calls, guide them
      Never! Not in my job description. Just read the script we gave you, word for word, with enthusiasm and confidence and make me some chocolate cakes. I was able to prove to anyone that walked through the door that if they had an IQ hovering around room temperature, would dial the phone just 100 times per day, would read my script without deviation - that I could guarantee them that even if they were unsuccessful 98% of the time they would bring home $1500 to $2000 a week (adjusted for inflation). We built the single largest membership development company in the US on that promise and at our height were under contact to over 100 offices, including the largest cities in the US. We took 78% of every dollar that came through the door with the Chamber or BBB getting 22% and they were thrilled to get it. That's because the 22% of what we brought in was much better than 100% of what they were bringing in by utilizing office staff and volunteers. See - 100% of almost nothing is almost nothing.

      Keep in mind that what we were selling was an intangible. People would write us a check for an average of $400 and some up to $2000 just to feel good about themselves for writing it and for the joy of putting the $5 plaque we gave them on their wall and a $1 decal on their door. Oh, and a firm handshake and a heartfelt thank you, also. :-)
      If you want to "do it yourself" you need to develop a process.
      No. More like, "If you want to do it yourself, go start your own company."

      Never, ever knock the power and viability of a script that you are forced to read, verbatim. It could be the smartest and most lucrative way of making money that you will even encounter.

      BTW - I cut my teeth being trained by Bill Ziff of Ziff-Davis Publishing to sell his World Aviation Directory by phone to travel agents with a script that he personally wrote. So I was fortunate to learn early what a script could do. This was hard for me to adapt to as I was doing this as a 'survival' job while pursuing a professional acting career in NYC and I have always excelled at knowing instantly what to say and how to say it. Mr. Ziff recognized that talent in me, hired me, told me to put that skill-set aside and just read his script while projecting my personality. I have never been so humbled. The man's script was pure gold and I have used what he taught me, ever since.

      Man, I really miss doing and teaching telemarketing. Getting old, sucks! lol

      Cheers. - Frank
  • Profile picture of the author animal44
    The Dunning–Kruger effect is alive and well on this forum.

    OP: I'm not selling anything on this forum. I came here to offer my advice based on nearly 40 years of running my own business. If what is being pushed by the majority on this forum was correct, I would've gone bust back in 1977!

    One of my earliest mentors told me that the crowd is nearly always wrong. I suggest you bear that in mind in whatever you listen to.

    Back in 2012, I spend 26 hours on a flight sitting next to a total stranger. I didn't try to sell. I didn't even want to talk to him. But he wouldn't stop talking. So I humoured him. I've often joked that by the end of the flight he grabbed my leg and wouldn't let me go until I agreed to do some work for him. While that's not quite true, it's not far off.

    If sales is so hard and must be learned, how come I can "sell" without selling and without even wanting to sell...?
    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

      If sales is so hard and must be learned, how come I can "sell" without selling and without even wanting to sell...?
      Because once in a blue moon, you just run into someone who wants what you have, without any attempting to sell on your part. And the fact that you were together for 26 hours helped. By the end of a 26 hour flight, he's either going to love you, or hate you.

      I have stories like that too. People demanded to buy from me, when I made no attempt to sell to them. And after the fact, I would think about what happened. And what happened was that the demand was there already. And my "not caring" created a position of authority, which meant that my advice was valued.

      Those "sales" are pure luck. Every salesperson gets them once in a while. But I could never make a living from them.
      I've probably "fallen into" 20-30 sales like that over my lifetime. But I'm made thousands of sales by knowing what I was doing. (I'm talking about going out and getting sales. In retail, we make a sale a day or so, from someone just wanting to buy from us...and one or two from actually selling))

      You can become very successful, without ever learning anything about how to sell. But it's very difficult to be a successful salesperson, without knowing how to sell.

      Are you a salesperson? It's a serious question.
  • Profile picture of the author Ilenia Internet Marketer
    Hello newbie_ken

    Some are born with the talent of the seller, but fortunately you can 'become over time and with the right training.
  • Profile picture of the author mark healy
    Yes it is but it takes time like any other skill. Its all a mindset shift. I would advise you to find someone who is great at selling and do what they do, this will make you much more effective. However you need to use your natural personality when selling to people.
    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
      Banned
      Originally Posted by mark healy View Post

      Yes it is but it takes time like any other skill. Its all a mindset shift. I would advise you to find someone who is great at selling and do what they do, this will make you much more effective. However you need to use your natural personality when selling to people.
      Apparently you've never met Claude Whitacre. If he used his natural personality when selling, his family would be living in a dumpster behind Taco Bell.

      Cheers. - Frank
  • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
    It is interesting that I read people have started young as I also started at 10 years of age and was thrown in the deep end by a pop who was old school and said you need to start learning. Seems like a lifetime ago now, but now in relation to this topic we are currently hiring new sales people and the challenge of passing all of those years of wisdom on ( can you teach sales ) comes full circle.

    That whole topic then becomes interesting in that if people truly want to learn and they have some smarts then yes but often these days most kids do my head in, just the other day the service person in a hardware store was to busy chatting to her mate to even look at me while she shoved my receipt into my hand, and these kids think that's service ? Or you get the people who are just passing through in life kicking time and treating things in a non plus who cares way, so finding that real needle in the haystack the person who wants to become top of the hill, is very hard.

    So on the long on odds that someone reading this now lives in Adelaide and wants to come and take a job in sales working in the home market selling higher end items and to learn from a few old timers shoot me a PM and we can put you into an interview and if successful put this this topic to the test.
  • Profile picture of the author ueed
    [DELETED]

Next Topics on Trending Feed