As salesmen are appointed after a series of tests, only candidates with proven ability are selected for the post. Thus, if the training to a sales person proves ineffective, it could perhaps be due to improper methods of training. Unless the salesmen training methods are devised and planned well in advance, they would result in a total waste for the organization.
A good salesmen training programme must be prepared on the basis of ACMEE Principles:
- A — Aim of training,
- C — Contents of training,
- M — Methods of training,
- E — Execution of the training programme; and finally
- E — Evaluation.
The aim of all sales training should be to make the salesman an effective guide to buyer. Emphasis is on the Customer — his problems, needs and his satisfaction.
Contents of a good Salesmen Training programme
The exact nature of the contents of any scheme of training varies from firm to firm depending upon the nature of the products to be sold and marketing considerations. But generally, a good training programme covers the following subjects:
1. Basic principles of salesmanship
To be effective in their sales efforts, the salesmen must know the principles of salesmanship. They must know the selling points of their products, the buying motives of customers, the effective ways of arousing interest in the products and creating desire for the products, and they must also be able to tackle the objections raised by the customers.
2. Information about the firm
Every salesmen should have a thorough knowledge of the firm where he is employed. He must know the history of the firm, its organizational set up, its achievement, the goodwill or the reputation of the firm and the sales and distribution policies of the firm, consumer services offered by the firm, etc. This knowledge will inject a sense of pride in the salesman and will enable him to do his job as per the firm’s policy.
3. Information about the product or Service
The salesmen, to be successful in their work, must have a thorough knowledge of the products to be sold by them. They should know the nature of the products, the materials used in its manufacture, the methods of manufacture, the superiority of the products over the products of the rivals, the uses of the products and the method of using them. This will help the salesmen to persuade the customers with convincing points to buy the products.
4. Information about the customers
The salesmen are required to adopt different types of approaches to different types of customers. So, to be successful in their work, they must know the strong and weak points of the different types of customers, such as the silent customer, talkative customer, well-mannered customer, suspicious customer, hesitant customer, argumentative customer, short-tempered customer, etc., so that they can adjust their approach suitably.
Salesmen must also know the buying motives of the customers (such as the health, comfort, convenience, fear, price, recreation, affection, habits, etc.), so that they can appeal to the relevant buying motives of the customers.
5. Knowledge of the competitors
To be effective, apart from the knowledge of their firm and its products, the salesmen must possess a good knowledge of the competing firms, their products and their policies.
This will help them to find out the weaknesses of the rival firms and their products and to adjust or improve their sales efforts to overcome the competition offered by the rival firms.
6. Matters relating to the day-to-day work
Besides knowing the above, the salesmen must also know all the routine matters relating to their day-to-day work. They must plan their tours, draft periodical reports to the firm. Besides, they must correspond with customers. Preparation of orders and invoices, maintenance of account, despatch procedure and arrangement of display and demonstration of the products, all must be known to salesmen.
7. Importance of Industry
The trainees should know the product as well as the importance of the industry very thoroughly. The significance of the industry encourages the salesmen to remain in the business.
Every industry has some unique features which distinguish it from other industries. A knowledge of, and faith in, such features encourage salesman to demonstrate them to consumers.
8. Knowledge of Markets
Salesmen are provided with adequate knowledge of the market, the demand for the product, the competition and potential areas, so that they can learn about the customers, their locations, buying habits and financial soundness.
9. Sales Techniques
Technical products call for the use of specialized selling methods. The methods of operating such products, such as a machine should be demonstrated by the salesman. The selling points are emphasized intelligently to motivate buyers. The new entrants to salesmanship are given basic training, while the experienced salesmen are provided with refresher courses to bring them abreast of the latest trends in effective selling.