Negotiation is an integral part of life and sales.

©iStockphoto.com/Kristian Sekulic

You have your sales team screened, hired, and trained on the features and benefits of your product and now it's time to put their "feet on the street!" But what about their sales approach? Did you think through the possible sales techniques and make an informed choice about what would work most effectively for your product and market? If not, your team may not be off to the fast break you hope for. Take the time to think about what approach would work best for the sales environment your reps will be facing.

If you're in a consulting or service-oriented business you know that it's going to require a relationship building process, but a product sales environment may require the same thing. The art of selling is not as straight forward as you may think. If you haven't been out there and sold before (as many new business owners haven't) then you may benefit from going through this workshop and identifying what you think might work for your business. If you're a seasoned sales professional now in a sales management position there may also be a thing or two for you. In this article, we'll look at some of the more effective selling techniques out there.

Have you ever had someone convince you to buy something you knew you'd never use? How do they do that? Did you want to buy anything else from them? Did you have a good relationship with them? These are some of the questions that come up when you think about what types of techniques your sales team should use.

Early books about sales techniques (we're talking about the early 1900's) included key words like ethics, service, relationships, hard work, doing the best job possible, and loyalty to your company. These all led to the idea of building a friendship and relationship with your customers so they would keep coming back. (Sound familiar?) After about 10 years, other ideas began to surface. Door-to-door salesmen discovered that they could increase their sales by using specific words and specific persuasion methods. This led to the perfecting and proliferation of sales techniques that focused not on the customer's needs or building a relationship, but on closing techniques and methods that rated a one-time sale, which was their only interest.

In the next section we'll look at the different stages of a sale.