Two easy ways to improve your sales skills

 

sales-managementWe’ve all been through them; the company sponsored training programs designed to improve our sales effectiveness. But have you ever stopped to see if they’ve really helped you?

One effective way to do this is using your performance management process.

Most training programs focus on trying to improve a few particular competencies or skills. To track your progress in honing those skills, check the performance ratings you’ve been given over the past few years. Have your ratings improved both overall and on targeted competencies? Review your progress year-over-year. If your ratings aren’t improving, you need more development.

Another way to check and see if your selling skills are at their peak is to solicit feedback from others. Multi-rater or 360 degree feedback processes are an excellent way to get feedback on your performance from other people. Even if it isn’t a formal part of your performance appraisal process, you should seek out feedback from others. In certain circumstances, I’d even recommend getting feedback from your customers, although you really need to be careful here. The point is, you can always learn from someone else’s perspective. If they have a safe way to deliver the feedback anonymously to your boss or some other third party, getting feedback from peers, co-workers, and other folks who work with you on a sale can really help you get a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses so you know what to work on to improve.

Automated Performance Management Tools Can Help

As engineers, we love tools! We love anything that saves us time and improves our quality and efficiency. OK and there’s the “sexiness” factor too. Let’s face is, technology is fun! There are some really great automated performance management tools out there that can make it easier for you to get the feedback you need and monitor your performance improvements. Your performance appraisal should be one of your key tools for getting feedback and monitoring ongoing improvements in your performance. If your company doesn’t have an automated system in place yet, maybe you could develop your sales skills by selling the need for one to your HR group!

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4 comments ↓

#1 MTD Sales Blog on 02.04.09 at 4:21 am

Very good recommendations.

Measuring effectiveness is more than “the bottom line” although that’s obviously the main yardstick!

In addition to this I find that many Engineering firms do not use a CRM system. This is vital if you are deadly serious about improving your sales because it enables you to measure your performance at each stage of your sales funnel and then some like those stages mentioned at http://engineerscansell.com/what-is-a-sales-funnel/

For me, it’s A MUST HAVE piece of kit you need if you are serious about improving your sales and it can identify so many shortfalls in the selling that you would simply fail to recognise if you didn’t have one.

Sean McPheat
The MTD Sales Blog

MTD Sales Blog’s last blog post..5 Sales Presentation Mistakes To Avoid

#2 Eric on 02.04.09 at 8:08 am

Hi Sean and thanks for the sales feedback. I love your blog – from your graphics it appears that you are a master sales Jedi!

Can you share input or even a post on how to choose a CRM system for the sales team?

#3 MTD Sales Blog on 02.04.09 at 8:53 am

Hi Eric – if you like I can write a post for your blog?

Would you be up for that?

Sean

MTD Sales Blog’s last blog post..5 Sales Presentation Mistakes To Avoid

#4 Eric on 02.04.09 at 10:11 am

Absolutely, I’ll shoot you over an email.

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