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Education Sales Management Tactics

Use Sales Negotiation Training to
Close Sales More Effectively

Use the best education sales management tactics to manage and motivate your sales force. Sales contact management software and sales negotiation training are just some of the tools available to strengthen your sales team.

When managing, and/or leading, a sales team, one of your primary functions is to keep the sales force motivated - especially when times are tough and sales are slow. Some days, for some sales people, it feels like you're facing rejection all day long (there is an art to taking 'no' and making it into a positive).

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As the business owner, manager or team leader, you need to ensure that your education sales management tactics, and other selling strategies, are focused on helping your sales people perform at their highest level.

Sales people who are new to your business or industry need education and support on how to best sell your products or services. Communicate the strategies and actions in your marketing plan to your sales staff: make sure that they understand the unique value proposition of the business; that they understand the market segmentation and target market that you are focused on; and that they know who the competition is and what the competitors' strengths and weaknesses are (so they can ensure that their sales presentation(s) addresses those strengths and weaknesses in relation to your business).

Experienced sales people usually are not in need of the same type of training and development; they need more advanced support, such as sales contact management software that can help them better manage their contacts and more efficiently follow up on their selling efforts.

Sales People; and Their Markets

As a sales person, you often have to face a lot of no's before you get one yes.

It's hard to handle rejection. It's even harder when you have to deal with rejection over and over again. And when you know that 'no' means that you won't be getting much of a pay check at the end of the month (or commission check or draw).

In good economic times, and depending on what product or service they are selling, sales people can earn big pay checks for themselves, have a big impact on the company's sales revenues and make a lot of customers happy. Everyone's happy.

In tough economic times, sales people are struggling to get the work that they used to get. Only now they're trying to get it at lower prices (because customers won't pay full price).

Most successful sales people do not take rejection personally. Even so, if you had to hear 'no' all day long and every day, would you not start to feel it?

It's hard to be motivated to call on customers who no longer care about the value proposition; they simply want the lowest price.

Markets are shrinking. Businesses are closing. But we still expect sales representatives to go out and knock on doors, make phone calls and bring in some business.

If you're the business owner, and/or manage sales people, it's your job to keep them motivated and to help them survive during these tough times. You need your sales staff - through good, and bad, times.

Sales managers and business owners need to be coaching, communicating, encouraging, and helping sales people to find new business and work to retain existing customers.

Sales Negotiation Training

Make sure that you talk about why an order went to the competition. Was it price only? Or were there additional services that you could include in the package at no cost, or minimal cost?

For example, if time from order to delivery is an issue can you speed up the process to deliver faster? Can you put more products into inventory? Can you re-engineer your process so that you minimize or eliminate unnecessary steps?

People who enter sales often need help closing the sale. Investing in training for your sales force to develop exceptional sales negotiation skills will provide a good pay-back.

Put together a sales offer or proposal package for your customer that is better than the competition. Not cheaper. Better. Include value added services that make your offer stand out. This is also the time to really promote your unique value proposition and your competitive advantage.

Action Items

Education Sales Management

Review your product positioning and product differentiation strategies. And, yes, do look at your pricing strategy (just don't look at price as the only differentiating factor; you will devalue your product or service and it is hard to regain credibility and price later).

Talk to your sales people more frequently. Review sales goals and targets. Make them reasonable for the economic environment you are operating in. If necessary, review your employee compensation and sales commission plans. You may need to adjust them for a specific time period in order to keep your sales force.

Provide sales negotiation training to help your sales staff improve their closing sales rate. And access a good sales contact management software program for your staff; one that will help your sales people follow up on sales contacts, sales leads and track lead generation.

Take the time to do some sales development training.

Education tools and techniques that focus on: active listening, closing skills, providing good customer service, non verbal communication (like reading body language), and improving communication are a good start.

Focus your marketing efforts and materials to provide better support for your sales people.

Brainstorm creative solutions with your sales staff; do things differently.

And work hard to eliminate the feelings of negativity and the negative talk; it just drags everyone down.

Education sales management strategies and tactics are important to improving your sales results, and important to keeping your sales staff.

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Find out more about Sales Force Management and Key Account Management.

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Selling Techniques

Successful selling experiences require using more than one technique.

Yes, face-to-face selling (particularly through relationship building) is often one of the more successful tactics.

But other techniques and strategies include building touch points and sharing information.

In other words, educating your customer or prospect on your products and services and also providing information that will help your customer in their business; making sure that your products or services are highly differentiated from competitors' offerings and communicating that differentiation effectively; and clearly understanding what your customers need in terms of value and delivering it.

Communicate with your customers and prospects in person; over the phone; through the mail (yes, letters, cards, coupons and order forms have high response rates if well designed and well executed); over the Internet through blogs, emails, social media, webinars, and your website; through print materials such as catalogues, coupon books, brochures, business cards, flyers and more.

Build your sales approach as a campaign:

Plan to make contact on a regular and frequent basis (not too frequently to the point of irritating customers or too infrequently to the point of being forgotten) and align your campaign with a strong identity program that is consistent with your brand.

Customer Relationship Management

Customer loyalty is built by giving value first in all aspects of your business. As a small business owner or manager, you need to commit to offering the best products and/or services.

Ensure that you regularly ask your customers for input and feedback (and both listen to it and act on it) to continuously improve your processes.

Your customers will respond to the value that you add, not only to the solution you propose but also to the relationship you build together.

Buyers Needs and Wants

What do customers want? Market research says that customers have an expectation of good quality, good price and good service; that is the minimum requirement for doing business today.

What more do you need to provide?

Knowledge. Reliability. Consistency. Communication. Discover what your customers value, and provide it.

Note: customers have unique and individual needs; they do not all value the same things. Make sure you clearly understand what each individual customer or market segment wants or needs.

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Sales: Making Contact

In a business to business selling environment, it used to be that it would take between seven or eight touches to make a sale (or not, since not all contact means that a prospect will buy).

In this Internet age, it takes more touches.

Why? Because we have become both 'ad blind' and somewhat 'insensitive' to touches.

What this means to the small business owner is that your communication (and touches) need to be different from others (not imitations or copies of what everyone else is doing), it needs to be believable and sincere, and it needs to be memorable.

The Sales Cycle

In a business to business sales environment, the selling cycle takes longer to close (and is often more complex) than ever before.

To effectively grow your sales, you need build a plan that will help you to optimize your efforts.

Focus your planning efforts on a lean sales process that: will solve your customer's problem or challenge; has value (i.e. reduces time and/or cost); provides not only what the customer wants but more than has been identified (over-delivering); and that provides a solution that offers convenience, high quality, a price that is acceptable, competitive and covers the business' costs, and exceptional service.