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Selling skills that are measured

The APPROACH AND INVOLVEMENT scale refers to a salesperson's ability to approach and involve a prospect in a sale in a positive manner. Low scores indicate the salesperson may alienate the prospect before they have a chance to present their product or service. This usually happens because their approach is too aggressive. Sometimes experienced salespeople can score low in this scale if they have not recently been involved in a sales position where this skill was necessary. Experienced salespeople have usually built a strong following of satisfied customers, so they are not as actively involved in initial contacts. A sales position that involves following-up on leads does not require the same level of skill in this area as does a position, which requires Cold Calling and Prospecting. Successful salespeople realise that their initial objective should be to establish rapport, and get the prospect to like them and trust them.

The HANDLING AND OVERCOMING OBJECTIONS scale refers to a salesperson's ability to answer prospects' questions in a knowledgeable manner. It also applies to the salesperson's skill in helping a prospect rationalise a purchase. Individuals strong in this skill will usually have a greater chance of closing prospects. To successfully overcome objections, a salesperson must have knowledge of the product and a basic understanding of the psychology of what motivates prospects to consider making purchases. High scores in this scale generally indicate that the salesperson understands that it is essential to thoroughly answer prospects questions and concerns before attempting to close.

The skill of BEING ABLE TO CLOSE is essential to profitability. Even if salespeople approach and involve customers in a sale and overcome objections, if they are unable to ask for the sale, or "Close", they will not have a positive impact on bottom-line profits. The ability of "BEING ABLE TO CLOSE" not only involves knowing what to say, but also involves being able to recognise the proper time to attempt to "close" the sale. Low scores in this area indicate a lack of knowledge and experience in this vitally essential skill. Intensive training my have little effect on the examinee's skill level unless the examinee makes a dedicated effort to implement the training in his or her sales presentations.

The ETHICS scale refers to a salesperson's commitment to conduct a sale in a reputable and truthful manner. Low scores indicate a willingness on the part of the salesperson to make a sale no matter how many lies or empty promises need to be made. Such individuals can seriously damage a company's reputation. These salespeople may initially appear to be very productive in terms of closing sales. However, ultimately their deceit and unethical conduct will be detrimental to promoting a business relationship that involves long-term repeat customers.

The scale of POLITE AND COURTEOUS refers to an individual's willingness to use commonly accepted social conventions when dealing with prospects. Use of phrases such as "Thank you", "Please", "I'm sorry", "Would you be kind enough to excuse me", are indicative of a Polite and Courteous salesperson. However, there is a time to be POLITE AND COURTEOUS and a time to be very direct and to ask for the sale. This is why some of the most effective "Closing" techniques are not the most Polite and Courteous techniques. So, it is not unusual to see lower scores in the Polite and Courteous scale when you see high scores in the Closing scale.

The FRIENDLY AND WARM scale refers to a salesperson's ability to be perceived as being sensitive to the needs of the buyer. High scores are indicative of salespeople who project to a prospect that they have a genuine concern that their product or service will be of a significant benefit to the purchaser. Individuals with low scores on this scale tend not to be perceived, in a sales situation, as "people oriented", therefore without proper training their likelihood of long-term success in sales is questionable. (NOTE: This scale measures how a prospect will perceive the sales person's selling style, not their basic personality.) While this may seem strange, it is perfectly normal for managers to rank lower in this scale. Because managers are usually placed in the position of problem solver, or are called in on extremely difficult closes, they tend to be very practical and pragmatic in their approach. It's normal for a sales manager's attention to be focussed more on "what's the bottom line?", "what's it going to take?", etc. They don't have time to establish rapport, or establish the prospect's needs; they assume the salesperson has done that. They view their function as a problem solver.

The scale of HANDLING PROBLEMS refers to an individual's ability to handle customer problems, as well as problem customers. Sometimes the profession of selling requires a great deal of patience when it comes to overly demanding customers. A low score on this scale indicates a lack of ability or desire to deal with such problems. These salespeople tend to avoid conflict. Many good salespeople do not like conflict, and are not very good at handling problems. This is not a significant drawback if the salesperson has high Friendly and Warm scores because these salespeople will not generally generate problems. However, individuals with low Friendly & Warm scores and low scores in this scale will many times cause problems that they are not willing to correct themselves. Higher score levels are also more important for managerial candidates.

The skill of QUALIFYING BUYERS refers to the ability to determine the needs of prospects. Included in this area is the ability to learn if prospects have the authority to make the purchase, and if the purchase is within their financial means.

The PROSPECTING AND COLD CALLLING scale refers to a person's ability and tenacity in generating prospective clients. Knowing how and where to look for new prospects cuts down the amount of time needed for this task.

The skill area of PRESENTATIONS AND DEMONSTRATIONS refers to a salesperson's ability to give productive product demonstrations and effective presentations. A key element to success in this skill area is "Prospect Involvement" in the Presentation or Demonstration.

TIME MANAGEMENT refers to an individual's ability to structure time in an effective and productive manner. (It should be noted that individuals who have owned their own company, or who have been in upper management tend to score low in this area. These individuals usually do not have to account for their time. Accordingly, they structure their time less rigorously than that which would be required of a salesperson expected to make sales quotas).

The TELEPHONE TECHNIQUE sill level refers to an individual's ability to use the phone in a polite and productive manner.

The CALL ENTHUSIASM scale measures an individual's motivation levels and willingness to meet with prospects and present their product or service. Individuals with high scores on this scale usually have little reluctance in meeting with prospects face to face. However, individuals with low scores may be avoiding person-to-person contact because they fear rejection. It is important to realise that even though a salesperson may have excellent skills, if they are reluctant about meeting prospects, they will have a difficult time being successful and productive.

The Fundamental skills score refers to those basic skills that are essential for any position in sales. Whether the job is in retail sales, internal sales, telemarketing, or an outside sales position involving territory management, an acceptable overall score is important for success.

The Comprehensive skills score is more closely associated with more sophisticated sales positions. These include territory management, good time management skills, and low supervision


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