Building a successful sales team is not just about finding the right people and throwing them into the lion’s den. It’s about shaping them and teaching them about your products and services and helping them get better at selling them every day.

Make sure they know what they’re selling

Too many sales people think they’re capable of selling anything to anyone and don’t even bother knowing their products or services in detail. This is very dangerous and can lead to misselling. You need to step in early to avoid this from happening.

Spend at least a day of training explaining to them what the company is doing. Prepare some exercises for them and mark them, as if they were in school. Regularly ask them questions about the company’s products and services and make sure they get the answers right. This is an ongoing process so make sure you do this at every opportunity.

Constant call monitoring

This can be viewed as intrusive by your sales people but remember they don’t even need to know about it. Make sure you have a phone system in place that allows you to listen to any sales conversation in the office. Make notes of the bad things you hear but also the good ones. It is then up to you to organise a private meeting with the person you were listening and point out to them the good and bad things you’ve heard or simply incorporate them into a full team meeting without pointing any fingers.

It is usually recommended to listen to several conversations and take notes that you will use in a general sales meeting. Keep listening to those calls and if you notice some particular individuals repeating the same mistakes again you should then organise a private meeting with them.

Objection handling

As specified above call monitoring can help you with tips for the whole of your team. And one of the main obstacles to sales people is objections. These can be tough to handle sometimes and can lead to misselling too. This is where you can help. There are several ways you can do this: call monitoring or simply ask them to write down the objections they constantly get.

It is recommended to do both or you may not have the full range of objections they’re getting otherwise. Once you have all of these, prepare a diagram they will use for every possible objection they’re getting. After a week of use, ask them if there’s anything new they would like to add to it. Revise this diagram yourself every 6 months.

Sales script

Have one of these ready for their first day on the phone. Be as detailed as you can, from greetings to company presentation and objection handling. Have a different script ready for each type of customer. Teach your team how to play with the detailed information they may have about a customer, show them how to use it without being too obvious.

If for example they know a customer has browsed a particular section of your website without ordering, simply mention ‘by the way’ that there is a special offer on this product this month.

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