Some time ago I thought it would be interesting to see if I could put together a sales training course for beginners, thinking primarily of journalists, using just YouTube videos. I’m posting what I’ve come up with so far to supplement my presentation today at ONA in San Francisco.
Here are the sales training videos:
The number one rule of sales is be sold yourself. If you don’t believe in what you’re offering is what your customers need, you will find it difficult to close the sale.
If you’re a local publisher, this part should be easy for you. If you don’t believe that your publication is what your community needs, should have and wants, and that it’s the right place for local businesses to connect to local consumers, then you shouldn’t even be publishing.
We’ll talk about sales techniques, but related to a belief in your product, is the need for passion about what you’re selling.
If you’re a local publisher, you need to be passionate about your business. If you have passion, sales will be much easier. Passion will also help you stay in business when you feel like quitting. After the Harvey Cohen video below is a video with Steve Jobs. The Jobs video isn’t about sales, but it emphasizes why passion is so important for the entrepreneur.
To help demystify the key aspects of selling, the video below (featuring Tom Hopkins, one of the biggest names in sales training) lays out seven fundamentals of selling. If you can grasp that sales is a process and not some magical charm that only a select few possess, you will do much better in sales. The fundamentals are prospecting, original contact, qualifying, presentation, handling objections, closing and then getting referrals.
One of the key tools for sales is the telephone. I’m a big believer that when you’re launching your site, actually walking right into a small business and introducing yourself to the owner, but since the key to all sales is numbers (the more people you contact, the more you will sell), the phone speeds up the process of getting appointments with people you can actually sell. If you make a sale, get an appointment and have a product you believe in, you will almost certainly make the sale. (Below, pay especial attention to Brian Tracy’s instruction on the fact you’re making a sale to get an appointment, not selling your product).
One thing that worked really well for me when meeting with small business owners was to tell them a story. I told them the story of me and my wife and why we were doing The Batavian, which helped communicate that we were fellow small business owners, committed to the community and had a vision for promoting local business. The three videos below are about sales and storytelling. Every journalist knows how to tell stories, right?
I said before there is no magic in sales. Further, the skills in sales are not terribly hard to learn, but I suspect many journalists believe the techniques of sales are opaque and hard to grasp. Beyond belief and passion, some basic fundamentals and being able to tell a story, it’s important to understand the words you use have impact (journalists get that, right?). Perhaps the hardest thing about sales is developing the habits of good word choice. I’m not necessarily good at it, but good enough. The more you practice and master word choice skills in sales, the better you do.
In sales, you’re going to hear no a lot, or people will hesitate making a decision. You and I both know that what your selling is something your customer really needs and really needs to buy, so learning how to turn doubts into yes is a key sales skill. Like good word choice, this is a skill that takes some practice to develop.
Here’s Harvey Cohen, a master of negotiating, on dealing with objections.
Once you’ve realized you have a great product to sell, you’ve found potential customers, you’ve made the appointment, pitched the product, over come objections, it’s time to close. Of course, as they say in sales, ABC (always be closing) — at any point in the sales process you should recognize a chance to close and take it. Here is a video (there isn’t much on YouTube on this topic, unfortunately) on closing. One of the keys to closing, especially from an ABC standpoint, is to recognize “buy” questions. For example, if a small business owner asked you, “can you link to my web site?” It’s time to start closing.
Finally, great sales people are passionate, but they’re also persistent. To be successful in sales, as in business, you can’t give up in the face of difficulties.