The answer to the question, "Can you teach me how to sell?" is “Yes, I can teach you how to sell.” But the answer is also, "No, I can't teach to you how to sell." This is not a straightforward answer, but this post will give you a better idea about how you can learn to sell.
Most people learning a craft require some instruction as they start on their path to mastery. I am unaware of any craft that doesn’t involve learning by observing others who have mastered the fundamental skills and competencies. When learning their craft, even the autodidact is certain to have studied what others did. To successfully learn the craft of selling, there are a few actions you will need to take.
I Can Teach You How to Cold Call
I can teach you how to make a cold call, giving you the exact words that will allow you to schedule the meetings you need. I can also tell you exactly what to say when your contact says, "Can you send me some information?" Finally, I can tell you why a contact said what they did, and what they really meant by it.
How You Learn to Cold Call
The only way to learn how to schedule meetings with cold calling is by making hundreds of cold calls. Like in any conversation, there are nuances that have a huge impact on how a cold call unfolds. These factors go beyond the words you say or the schedule of your calls, and they can be difficult to teach. For example, even though you and I might use the same language, you may not sound as confident as you need to book a meeting. Or perhaps you are likely to give up too soon when your contact rejects your request for their time.
It is important to understand what can be taught, and what you have to learn through your own experience. A long time ago, some magazines and comic books advertised a book that claimed to teach martial arts. There is no possibility that you could learn a martial art by studying a cheaply made book with pictures. Nor can you learn to swim or ride a bike from reading a book.
I Can Teach You How to Handle Objections
I can teach how to deal with a contact's objections by explaining what concerns they have about moving forward. I can also provide you with exactly what to say to address objections.
How You Learn to Handle Objections
You learn this competency by sitting across from a decision-maker who is not ready to make a decision because they have a concern. By repeating this experience, you will be able to detect that the client has a concern that they don’t want to disclose. You will be able to sense this even before they offer an objection.
These conversational competencies take time and repetition. No person who succeeds in sales at a high level has done so without a lot of practice. It only looks easy because the thousands of hours they spent are unseen.
I Can Teach You How to Gain Commitments
You could read my second book, The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the 10 Commitments That Drive Sales, to learn all about trading value for commitments, the nonlinear sales conversation, and addressing a contact’s reluctance to discuss certain topics. This book helps people make more money and control the sales process.
How You Learn to Gain Commitments
You will have to learn how to move smoothly from one conversation to the next by explaining how it helps the client pursue the better future they need. What you say won’t matter if you don't understand what your client needs to do and why—something you can only learn by being face-to-face with your clients.
I Can Teach You How to Be One-Up
I can help you understand information disparity and how to have a conversation that leaves your contacts better educated about the decision they need to make. I can also teach you to change the context of the conversation using business acumen, insights, and a helpful perspective. I can even teach you how to triangulate your competition, words that mean very little until you have enough experience. You can learn all these ideas in Elite Sales Strategies: A Guide to Being One-Up, Creating Value, and Becoming Truly Consultative.
How You Learn to Be One-Up
The idea of being One-Up means you have the knowledge and experience your contacts lack. It takes a long time to acquire the experience that makes a person One-Up. Unless and until you have had hundreds or thousands of sales calls, it is unlikely that you are an industry expert and authority. Your dedication to your craft will help speed up this process.
You Don't Know What You Don't Know
This post contains a good number of concepts. That is intentional, as I want to share with you something that will help you learn to sell. If you are unaware of something like the Trading Value Rule™ from the Lost Art of Closing, you can spend years struggling to book meetings and move deals forward. But learning these concepts early in your development will increase your effectiveness much more quickly.
The best salespeople read books, listen to audio programs, watch YouTube Videos, take courses, and spend time talking about how to sell with other salespeople. They are lifelong learners, constantly looking for an edge, an advantage, or something that will make them even more effective.
The only way to master any craft is to practice. Every sales call you make provides you with an opportunity to learn. Whether your call goes well or finds you shot down in flames, there is something you can learn. It takes time to learn, but if you are willing to write down what happened during a call and process the events, you can speed up your competencies and improve your sales. If you want help, check out Sales Accelerator.