“Wow, that guy is the ultimate salesperson!”

Over the years I have come to hate that phrase. Why? Because whenever I hear it, the salesperson in question is someone with the “gift of gab.” And he’s talking up a storm.

Truth be told, the gift of gab never was a particularly effective sales skill. Today, when the internet provides customers with all the information they could want about any product you might sell, gabbiness is less effective than ever.

In my book Questions: The Answer to Sales, I called the stereotypical talkative type The Sales Dinosaur. Salespeople who fall in love with the sound of their own voices are headed for extinction.

The most effective sales skills don’t have to do with talking. They have to do with asking questions — and then listening.

Everyone in the sales training business teaches salespeople that they need to ask more and better questions. Just about any sales training program or sales coaching initiative you find will instruct you to use “open-ended” questions. Most sales training courses also will give you some tricks to pull, like, “Tell me more,” or “What happens then?”

Strategic questioning pays dividends

But sales skills that generate lasting customer loyalty don’t depend on tricks. A genuinely great sales training program should provide you with a questioning process that allows you to be strategic in your questioning while remaining completely natural. A great sales training course also should give you a clear map to follow.

Everyone benefits from better questions, salespeople and customers alike. When you emerge from a sales training program or sales coaching session based on the Action Selling system, having learned the best way to ask questions, here is a partial list of sales skills you will have honed in the course of that learning:

  • How to “open” a sale so you can close it
  • How to sell yourself as a consultant
  • How to identify what and how to sell to an individual customer
  • How to differentiate yourself, your company, and your product
  • How to make the best use of your time
  • How to earn the right to ask more questions

So, would you rather know how to do all of that or just keep chatting your way to extinction? The choice is that simple.

For information about how to improve sales skills and make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.

Duane Sparks

About Duane Sparks

Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling.  He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations.  Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).

Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).