Essential Selling Skills Series

A comprehensive overview of the essential skills needed to become a successful sales professional. Twelve 30-minute online modules include practical exercises and planning forms | taught by Bill McCormick

Course description

This online sales training series offers a comprehensive overview of Essential Selling Skills broken down into manageable and practical online and on-demand training sessions. Your registration provides access for one full year to all 12 of the practical skill-based online selling skills modules, on your schedule, at your location.

The entire Essential Selling Skills series includes almost 6 hours of training divided into 12 sessions, each about 30 minutes in duration. The series includes a 1 year subscription for the discounted price of $299. Individual modules include a 6 month subscription and can be purchased for $35 each.

The instructor is available to answer questions at info@salestrainingandresults.com or 781-934-0900.

Essential Selling Skills Sessions 1-12 are described below.

Essential Selling Skills Session 1: How Selling Has Evolved (28 minutes) The skills and approach used by sales professionals have evolved. Participants will learn which selling methods are out-dated and should therefore be avoided. You should never use high-pressure closing techniques. To be successful today, sales professionals must learn to build relationships with their customers that are more consultative and value oriented, and utilize team selling when appropriate. Participants will learn about a 6-stage sales call process and hear examples that reinforce how and why selling has evolved, with an emphasis on the selling skills that are now essential for sales professionals and sales support personnel. A downloadable Planning Form is included for your use as a resource for upcoming sales calls.

Improve your skills needed to sell effectively in today’s business environment, including how to:

  • Avoid high-pressure sales techniques that can negatively affect the likelihood that you will win a sale
  • Build effective customer relationships
  • Utilize consultative and value selling as your primary approach and team selling when appropriate
  • Use the six Stages of Selling as a guide for planning, making sales calls, and following up

Essential Selling Skills Session 2: Stages and Critical Tasks of Selling (30 minutes) Essential Selling Skills Module 2 on the Stages and Critical Tasks of Selling teaches a 6-stage sales call process that can be used as a roadmap to prepare, conduct, and follow up for sales calls. Participants will learn the critical tasks for each of the stages in the sales call process. The best sales professionals excel at all six stages so one of the important takeaways is for each person to self-assess what they do well and how they can improve. This is why two self-rating activities take place in this module.

Improve your ability to master the stages and critical tasks of selling, including how to:

  • Use the six Stages of Selling as a guide for planning, making sales calls, and following up
  • Plan and set clear sales goals and objectives
  • Create a favorable first impression and identify the customer’s critical needs during the Opening and Exploring Stages
  • Present information in a clear and compelling way, with emphasis on selling on value
  • End each sales call with an action or commitment by the customer
  • Self-assess to fully understand your own strengths and areas for improvement

Essential Selling Skills Session 3: Pre-Call Planning (30 minutes) Every sales call should be purposeful, otherwise you are simply making sales visits. This session will teach three critical tasks that should be done before every sales call: 1) Setting clear sales goals and objectives; 2) Confirming appointments with the right person(s); and 3) Doing the appropriate homework and research. Practical examples will be used to reinforce how the best sales professionals plan and prepare. You also will receive a Pre Call Planning Form that you can use as a resource to plan for upcoming sales calls.

Improve your ability to master pre-call planning, including how to:

  • Use the initial Planning Stage as the first critical link in the sales call process
  • Set clear sales goals and objectives that are both task-oriented (what you want the customer to do) and relationship-oriented (how you can strengthen relationships)
  • Ensure that you are meeting with the right person(s)
  • Do the appropriate homework and research that will help you to connect with the customer
  • Utilize STAR’s “Rule of Three” as a way to expand your network of customer relationships

Essential Selling Skills Session 4: The Opening Stage and Relationship Building (30 minutes) Essential Selling Skills Module 4 on the Opening Stage and Relationship Building teaches how to get off to a great start during a sales call, with emphasis on building and strengthening relationships with current and new customers. The Opening Stage is extremely important because you only have one chance to make a favorable first impression and you will set yourself apart by doing this well. Several practical relationship-building guidelines will be highlighted, such as how to connect with customers by using a behavior called “expressing commonalities.” Participants will learn the factors that determine how much time to spend in the Opening Stage and Relationship-Building because it varies for each sales call and different types of customers. A downloadable planning form is included to help you prepare for upcoming sales calls.

Improve your ability to do relationship-building in the Opening Stage of each sales call, including how to:

  • Do research to identify areas of commonality between you and each customer
  • Use several practical relationship-building techniques
  • Determine how much time to spend on the Opening Stage before transitioning to the next few stages of each sales call
  • Apply the concepts to two different real-life sales situations
  • Set and express clear goals so that the customer knows the purpose of each call
  • Build relationships during the other stages of selling

Essential Selling Skills Session 5: Elevator Speeches (28 minutes) Essential Selling Skills Module 5 on Elevator Speeches teaches how to prepare and deliver concise and compelling elevator speeches for different sales situations. When done well, an elevator speech creates a favorable first impression that can help you to generate interest and advance the sales process forward. We will highlight the importance of tailoring an elevator speech in order to communicate the most relevant value and credibility statements for different customers and sales situations. Participants will prepare an elevator speech and practice it during the session. A downloadable planning form in included as a resource for upcoming sales calls.

Improve your ability to prepare and present tailored elevator speeches, including how to:
  • Use elevator speeches in a variety of sales situations, such as trade shows, initial phone calls with prospects, and meetings with other decision-makers at existing accounts
  • Select the most appropriate value statements (what your company or product can do for the customer) and credibility statements (your company and personal credentials) when preparing an elevator speech
  • Present the information in a clear, concise, and compelling way
  • Utilize a planning form (which is downloadable for future use) to tailor elevator speeches for different customer situations
  • Avoid making common mistakes such as talking too long and not transitioning to asking questions

Essential Selling Skills Session 6: Questioning Skills (33 minutes) The best sales professionals ask more questions and better questions than average sellers. You will learn four foundation guidelines for asking questions that can be used on every sales call. We also will highlight practical tips and examples for three categories of questions – Informational Questions, Opportunity Questions, and Commitment Questions – to ensure that you gather the most critical information about the customer’s needs and willingness to take action. A downloadable planning form is included that you can use as a resource for upcoming sales calls.

Improve your ability to plan and ask great questions, including how to:

  • Use four foundation guidelines that will help you to ask better questions and demonstrate to the customer that you are listening to her/him
  • Assess your natural strengths and areas for improvement in asking questions
  • Ask three categories of questions – Informational, Opportunity, and Commitment questions – so that you don’t overlook any critical information
  • Use a planning form (which is downloadable for future use) to prepare questions for an upcoming sales call

Essential Selling Skills Session 7: Listening Skills (27 minutes) Essential Selling Skills Module 7 on Listening Skills teaches one of the most essential selling skills. The ability to listen – really listen – to customers will set you apart. Many salespeople don’t listen well because they focus instead on what they want to tell the customer and miss critical information that would otherwise help them to win a sale. You will learn how to be an active listener rather than a passive listener, as well as how to avoid common mistakes such as talking too much, using jargon, and overcoming external distractions. Participants will have an opportunity to self-assess strengths and areas for improvement as a listener.

Improve your ability to listen well throughout the entire sales call, including how to:

  • Combine listening and questioning skills to gather more and better information
  • Avoid making assumptions during a sales call
  • Become an active listener by using practical tips such as key word note-taking, expressing empathy, and paraphrasing
  • Identify and minimize common barriers to listening such as multi-tasking, interrupting and external distractions.

Essential Selling Skills Session 8: Presenting Information as Benefits (29 minutes) Presenting information seems like the easiest thing for a salesperson to do well yet many sellers make common mistakes such as presenting features, rather than describing benefits. Participants will learn the distinction between features and benefits, and how to clearly communicate to customers in benefit language. You also will learn how to avoid common mistakes made by average sellers such as information overload, use of jargon, and feature dumping.You will receive a downloadable planning form that you can use as a resource for upcoming sales calls.

Improve your ability to present information as benefits, including how to:
  • Avoid talking in features rather than benefits
  • Define and make clear benefit statements for different customer situations
  • Use the simplest sales training tip of all time
  • Prepare for upcoming sales calls with a downloadable Features/Benefits planning form
  • Minimize or eliminate mistakes such as talking too much, feature dumping, and using jargon

Essential Selling Skills Session 9: Selling on Value (32 minutes) Selling on value is something that many salespeople say that they do, but it is often not done well. This session will highlight many practical tips and examples on how to sell on value, not on price. You will learn how to use value selling to differentiate your company and products/services. We will provide a process that you can follow to prepare and present a compelling value proposition. You also will receive a downloadable planning form that you can use to prepare for upcoming sales calls.

Improve your ability to sell on value, including how to:

  • Differentiate your company, products, and services in the most effective way
  • Assess value from the customer’s perspective by focusing on the three primary ways that customers perceive value
  • Prepare and present your value proposition in a clear and compelling way, with emphasis on quantifying the value that you can provide
  • Utilize a planning form (which is downloadable) to apply the value selling concepts when you prepare for upcoming sales calls

Essential Selling Skills Session 10: Agreeing to Action and Follow Up (30 minutes) The best way to tell if a sales call has gone well is if the customer agrees to an action or commitment, so it is essential to excel at the Agreeing to Action Stage of Selling. You will learn several ways to advance the sale forward, with emphasis on selecting the method that fits the personality style of the customer. Because it often requires multiple sales calls to eventually win a sale, the Agreeing to Action and Follow Up Stages are usually linked so we also will provide some guidelines on how to follow up effectively with customers. A downloadable planning form is included so that you can apply the concepts of agreeing to action and follow up when preparing for a real life sales call.

Improve your ability to get customers to make a commitment and take an action that advances the sale forward, including how to:

  • Avoid using conventional high-pressure closing techniques that lessen the likelihood that you will win a sale
  • Effectively use three selling skills and techniques that will advance a sale forward, including advice on how to select the appropriate method based on the personality style of the customer
  • Follow up in a timely and professional way because this step is often done poorly by average sellers
  • Plan and prepare for upcoming sales calls using a downloadable planning form

Essential Selling Skills Session 11: Handling and Preventing Objections (29 minutes) All salespeople encounter objections but the best sales professionals respond more effectively. They follow a process that increases the likelihood that the customer’s concerns will be addressed and that the sale will move forward. Participants will learn how to respond to different types of objections, notably with a lot of practical examples. You also will become better at preventing and minimizing the likelihood that customers will express objections by avoiding mistakes that average sellers make. A downloadable planning form is included so that you can practice how to respond to the most likely objections that you may encounter.

Improve your ability to handle and prevent objections, including how to:

  • Anticipate when objections are most likely to occur during the sales process
  • Vary your response based on the type of objection; for example, how you respond to “I’m satisfied with my current provider” should be different than your response to “your price is too high.”
  • Utilize a 4-step process for responding effectively to all objections
  • Minimize the likelihood of objections by not making common mistakes such as talking too much or using high-pressure closing techniques
  • Use a planning form to prepare and practice for the objections that you are most likely to encounter

Essential Selling Skills Session 12: Varying Your Selling Style (31 minutes) The best sales professionals vary their selling style to fit different types of customers. For example, how you sell to a customer who is very sociable and relationship-oriented should be different than how you sell to a customer who is very direct and wants to get down to business. This may sound obvious but it is not common practice – average sellers tend to use the same selling style with everyone, which limits their effectiveness. Participants will learn four distinct Customer Personality Types and some practical tips on how to assess what type of customer you are interacting with. A self-survey is included in this teaching session so that you can identify your natural selling style.

Improve your ability to identify your natural selling style and learn when and how to vary your style to fit different customers, including how to:

  • Identify which of four different customer personality types a particular customer corresponds to, and what each type of customer values in a salesperson
  • Select the appropriate selling style to match up to each of these customer personality types
  • Use a self-survey titled the Selling Skills Inventory (SSI) to identify your natural selling style, including advice on how to interpret your SSI results
  • Understand the strategic sales factors that determine when and how to vary your selling style, including some practical tips on clues that you can use when speaking with or visiting a customer

Bill McCormick
Bill McCormick
President, Sales Training And Results, Inc.

Bill McCormick is the founder and president of Sales Training And Results, Inc. (STAR), a firm specializing in customized sales training and consulting. Bill has over 20 years of experience consulting managers and coaching sales executives and professionals. He is the primary author and developer of STAR's customized sales and management workshops.

Prior to founding STAR, he was Vice President of Marketing for an international consulting and training company. Bill was responsible for managing their entire sales and marketing effort, including an international network of licensees, and doubled their sales volume in four years. Prior to that, Bill held positions in sales, sales management, and marketing for a Fortune 25 firm.

Bill earned his M.S. degree in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University and a B.S. degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also is on the Corporate Education Group (Boston University) faculty.

Course Curriculum

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