Think about the sales training programs and the sales coaching activities you have experienced. Did they prepare you to be an advisor or a vendor? A partner or a peddler? The answer says everything about the sales training courses you ought to be investigating.

A peddler’s business can be taken away at a moment’s notice by any competitor with a lower price or a newer feature. A trusted advisor is precious and not easily replaced.

Kyle Roehrig, a Texas-based financial advisor for investment-services company Edward Jones, recently attended a sales training program based on the Action Selling system. Shortly afterward he remarked on the profound change in his relationships with clients.

“My first success came almost immediately after I completed the day-long sales training course,” Roehrig said. “With one client, I used the TFBR (Tie-back, Feature, Benefit, Reaction) technique. It made the client feel that I really listened to him and understood his needs. I was able to show how my recommendations helped solve his specific needs, rather than just selling him an investment. This sales skill puts you in the shoes of an advisor, not just a broker.

“Also, the discipline of setting a Commitment Objective before each contact is a big help. It gives you a direction to go, rather than just making a call and seeing where it takes you. These advisor skills have made a huge difference in my success.”

Where’s the conflict?

But speaking of Commitment Objectives, isn’t there an unavoidable conflict between the vendor role and the advisor role? After all, the concept of a Commitment Objective, which is fundamental to my own sales training programs and sales coaching activities, states that the salesperson’s primary goal in in every client meeting should be to gain the client’s agreement to take some action that will move the relationship forward. Would “advisor training,” as opposed to a sales training course, begin with that assertion?

You bet it would. If an advisor does not believe that there is some course of action that would benefit the client, then in what sense is the person an advisor? What’s more, an advisor who Asks the Best Questions, listens carefully to the answers, and tailors solutions to the client’s most pressing needs is likely to recommend a course of action that will benefit the client very much indeed.

There are no more important sales skills than questioning and listening. Questioning and listening skills build trust. And when trust is built, asking for commitment is a natural outcome of a well-orchestrated meeting between an advisor and a client. The client will want the relationship to more forward as much as you do. So where is the conflict?

For information about how to improve sales skills and make sales 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).