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Selling technique is the body of methods used in the profession of sales, also often called personal selling.

Techniques in use in selling interviews vary from the highly customer centric consultative selling to the heavily pressured "hard close".

All techniques borrow a bit from experience and mix in a bit of guesswork on the psychology of what motivates others to buy something offered to them. Mastery in the techniques of selling can offer very high incomes, while failure in it is nearly proverbial. Coverage of the latter is popularized in works such as Death of a Salesman and Glengarry Glen Ross.

Because selling faces a high level of rejection, it is often difficult for the practitioner to handle emotionally, and is usually cited as the most common reason for leaving the profession. Because of this many selling and sales training techniques involve a lot of motivational material.

The various steps

A selling interview based on counseling needs to be done in several steps, in a consistent order, from the identification of the needs to a close in which the prospect accepts the seller's proposal. The following is an example of such steps, however the list is not exhaustive, nor would all strategies include all of the following. For example, the Sandler approach takes a relatively unusual stance when it comes to objections. While many sales techniques offer specific advice on how to handle objections and stalls, Sandler suggests that only the objecting client is able to remove the objection.

  • Assumptive close
  • Prospecting
    • Referrals
    • Qualifying
  • Sales Presentation
    • Questions
    • Selling the sizzle
  • Closing
    • Pre-closing questions
    • Tie downs
  • Handling objections
  • Handling prospect attitudes
  • Confidence
  • Empathy
    • Reading people

Some requisites

Good selling involves asking questions to elicit the prospect's needs and desires and finding the appropriate product or service that meets those needs and that the prospect is willing to pay for. If good prospecting (qualifying) is done, then the prospect may already be well suited to the product or service and the salesperson simply needs to lead the prospect to act on the desires and needs he/she has. A good salesperson is much more knowledgeable about their product or service than the prospect could ever likely be and can offer valuable information and insight to the decision making process.

Several universities now offer courses, or degrees, in selling. The annual National Collegiate Sales Competition is held at Kennesaw State University. This event draws student contestants from Canada, the USA and Mexico.

See also

External links


  • How to master the art of selling Tom Hopkins, Warner Books, 1980 & 1982, ISBN 0-446-38636-7
  • Secrets of Closing the Sale Zig Ziglar, Berkley Publishing Group, 1985, ISBN 0-425-08102-8
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