Thursday, October 29, 2009

Keeping your sales skills relevant over time

Times are changing quickly; we grind through our days sometimes without looking up. The next thing you know we are at the end of another fiscal year and we’ve done nothing to upgrade or polish our sales skills. We may have had a great sales year but it’s important to plan for next year.

We have all probably met someone who was a great sales person in their time but now seems washed up and obsolete. What that rep failed to do was become more relevant over time. You don’t have to wait for your employer to pay for a course or send you to training to do so.

Reading sales books, blogs and websites are a great way to learn of new trends. Just committing to reading 1 sales book per quarter is a great start. What these books tell you, most of us know but we sometimes need a reminder.

What about taking a course either online or at a local school? Some people need to brush up on their software skills. As a sales recruiter, often I can tell if a candidate’s software skills are good by the quality of their resume. Of course I know that they may have gotten the resume professionally done but if the resume is poor, it’s an indication of something.

There’s a lot of free content our there such as webinars and lectures. Sure some of them want to sell you something but they give out free information in exchange for you being on their mailing list.

There are many 1 day seminars offered by local universities that target busy working people. Some of them are half day seminars. These are also great places to network and share stories; which by the way is a great source of learning.

For the over 40 sales crowd this is probably more important for us in an effort to show potential sales managers that we are current and up to date. Some employers may have the misconception that older workers are out of date.

Many employers will pay for courses that help you to better in your current sales job. You should take time to keep up to date on issues within your industry. Customers look to their sales representatives for knowledge and count on you to educate them. If you are more knowledgeable than your competitor, this is another element that puts you ahead of your competition.

As a sales recruiter, I look for people who invest in themselves not because they are forced to but because they see the value in doing so.

Happy selling

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