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3 Things They Don't Teach You About Sales In School

By Darren Pierce on Jan 16, 2014 6:00:00 AM

School helps you develop a foundation of business knowledge, but some sales lessons can only be learned with experience.

Here are three things they don’t teach you about sales when you’re sitting in a classroom.

1) Guidelines Aren’t Given

When you’re in school, it’s all about the guidelines.

Guidelines clearly laid out what was expected of you for projects and papers, and as long as you followed those guidelines, you had a good chance of earning a solid grade.

Guidelines aren’t usually given in the real world. You have to figure them out yourself. Even when they are given, following those guidelines doesn’t automatically translate to success.

In some instances, you can say and do all the right things and still not make the sale. Persistence is almost as important as having that great pitch.

2) Dig Deeper With Questions

Of course, they teach you to ask questions in school, but most people don’t go deep enough with their questions. They accept what the customer says initially, and then they run with it instead of asking more questions to better understand how a problem can be solved.

The best salespeople are constantly asking follow-up questions like, “What do you mean by that?” or, “How does that affect your business?” or even, “What are you expecting from me through all this?”

Digging deeper with questions shows clients that you’re going above and beyond to solve their problems, and at the same time, it helps you better understand their needs.

3) Not All Customers Are Good Customers

This is a biggie, and it’s something every salesperson learns eventually.

Not every customer is worth having.

About 20% of your customers provide 80% of your profit. Inversely, this means that 20% of your customers are sucking up 80% of your customer costs.

Time and resources are obviously limited, so it’s important to understand when you should nurture a customer (with the promise of a big payday) and when you should get rid of them to spend your time and effort elsewhere.

It’s a tricky task that can only be learned with experience.

What lessons have you learned after getting out of school?

Written by Darren Pierce

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