Walking before running in the sales department

When students learn math through elementary school into college, it's taught in a series of steps. It's ridiculous to expect first-graders to grasp the concepts of calculus. Instead, they are taught basic addition and subtraction, before gradually moving on to more difficult subjects like geometry, algebra, pre-calculus, trigonometry, etc. Only then can they be expected to tackle and internalize calculus.

The process of learning how to sell products and services is very similar. While there are some skills that come naturally to many agents, there are just as many that need to be taught before salespeople can be expected to perform at a high level. As Business 2 Community notes, sales is a complex job, and although having good people skills is a good start, there is a lot more that goes into it.

"So what basic skills are required? There are more obvious ones; using the phone or computer, navigating the web effectively, being resourceful, using a CRM, email calendar and technology skills," the news source adds.

Beyond that, salespeople need to know how to listen effectively so they can zone in on what prospects are saying. On the other side, they should be able to effectively engage leads to capture their interest. Securing deals is a two-way street, and agents need to not only be able to listen and talk, but also know when to do which one.

Product knowledge is another obvious area where salespeople should be brought up to speed. Even the most experienced agent won't know everything about a company's new products or services. That's something only employers can teach salespeople, and without that knowledge, agents will struggle to convert any leads.

Sales coaching is important to the success of any individual in the department. Managers need to think back to the days when they first started out and remember how difficult their jobs were. By providing new hires with training, companies can expedite the return on investment on their employees and accelerate their growth substantially.

At the same time, sales coaching can also be used to improve the performance of existing salespeople. Managers may find that even their top performers are lacking in some areas. Through coaching efforts, managers can bring the most out of their agents.