How Effective Are Sales Courses?

Jeff Cochran


Whether you are looking for a new job in the sales field or trying to get ahead in your career, developing your skills is never a bad idea. Changing up your strategy can be a huge help to your business. A sales course is never a bad idea to expand your business and your technique, whether you are brand new to the field or have been in sales for years. Here’s a short look at why enrolling in a sales course can be beneficial to your career.


Looks Good on a Resume

Your resume paints a picture of you and your skills before anyone ever hears you speak. If you took a look at your resume right now, what kind of picture would someone see? A lot of times we have experience selling, but nothing to prove we’ve mastered the needed skills. On your resume there is a section dedicated to coursework in your field. This is the place to show employers how dedicated you are to your field, and how you’ve taken the initiative to grow. Adding sales courses to this section tells employers you mean business and they have good reason to hire you.


Boosts Your Income

Jobs usually start at the entry level for a reason. It gives you time to adjust to a new workplace and learn the tools of the trade. Think of how far ahead of the game you will be if you already have the skills needed for the position. Chances are you’ll spend less time at the bottom rung, and move your way up to a higher pay level right away. By using what you learned during your training program, you will impress your clients and you will see a huge difference in your business. Sometimes spending the money right from the start means you’ll see a bigger return on your investment over time.


Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses

There’s nothing like a little coursework to point out where you could use some help. But in the field of sales, playing off of your strengths and knowing your weaknesses can be a huge advantage. Dedicated sales courses help boost those areas in which you feel weak. You’ll be shown different techniques to use out in the field, and some may play to your strengths more than others. Be aware of which ones work for you and how you can develop your techniques. Take notes so you will remember later, and be sure to practice multiple techniques. Don’t get stuck in a rut only using one. Coursework is meant to develop your strategy, not just show off what you already know, so be sure to take a chance and try something new.


Stay on Top of the Market

The field of sales is constantly changing. New information drops daily, plus the products change and upgrade rapidly. Staying on top of all the information can be difficult. Luckily, sales classes are meant to bring all the current information to the salespeople. It doesn’t matter if you are brand new to the field, or if you have been in sales for years. Sometimes it is good to take a refresher course to learn about all the new advances in the field. Other professional fields (i.e. lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc.) like have a certain number of professional development hours every year to learn about the new and upcoming best practices practices. Doesn’t it make sense for you to do the same for your position?


Stay Flexible

The longer you use one sales technique, the more it becomes routine and repetitive. Getting set in your ways really limits your types of interactions and client base. Step outside your comfort zone and use sales coursework to broaden your horizons. The more you practice a different type of sales technique, the more comfortable you will become using it in your daily work. Your clients will thank you, and chances are you will see an immediate difference in your business and sales outcomes. Flexibility is the key to keeping your potential customers happy. When you can adapt to your audience’s needs and switch parts of the pitch mid-meeting, you will show off your confidence and knowledge in your field, becoming even more of a resource.


What Can I Expect to Learn in a Sales Class?

There is a wide range of topics available for sales coursework. Different places will offer different strategies and techniques. Attending classes at an institution focused on sales will guarantee you are getting the information from the top of the field. Here is a list of some topics that you will cover at SNI:


  • How to build trust with potential clients
  • Develop a habit of asking open-ended questions for maximum feedback
  • Discover how to effectively demonstrate the value of what you are selling
  • Learn how to prepare efficiently in order to gain confidence
  • Master a systematic approach to sales that you can repeat with precision


These are just a few of the things that the sales course will cover, all of which are relevant and important to the sales field. Even salespeople at management and executive levels need a refresher course on the basics of connecting with people once in a while. The basics are the building blocks of your business and the entire industry. Getting back to the basics will send you further forward on your journey.


University or Private Classes?

Your local university probably has some coursework that would fit in with your sales position. Having the stamp of approval from an accredited institution can look good on a resume, but it likely will not fit your specific practical needs. SNI offers coursework that directly pertains to the sales field. There is no messy application process to get in, and we will work with you or your company to gain success. Learn sales skills that will get you where you want to go, and that will send your career in the right direction.





How to Break into Medical Sales

Jeff Cochran


Almost anyone can decide they are going to be a medical sales representative, but it’s not as easy as it sounds to get into the industry and to succeed. It takes hard work and dedication to create a successful career. Staying on top of the current news and trends, plus a lot of travel are all requirements of the job. We’ve put together a list of some ways you can stand out in the crowd when trying to break into medical sales.

Choose Your Specialization

There are many different options in the medical sales field. What are you going to sell? You’ll need to think about your choice because you will be spending a lot of time reading and talking about whichever specialization you pick. Here is a quick list of some of the categories you can choose from:

  • Medical equipment
  • Software
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Biotechnology
  • Medical devices
  • Medical billing and marketing services

If you like computers and the fast-paced world of technology, opt for a specialization that is constantly filled with changes. Medical software, devices, and biotechnology are all fast-paced sales jobs with a lot of information to absorb and relay. It’s important to really understand what you are selling because technology progresses quickly and some of the advances may be difficult for others to absorb. If you have no passion for whichever specialty you choose, it will show in your sales pitch and your customers will quickly lose interest.


Get Out There and Work

After you declare your specialty, it’s time to gain some work experience in the medical field. It doesn’t have to be in a sales position right away. Sometimes it’s better to enter the sales field after having some other experiences in the medical world. Try one of these ideas and see what you prefer:

  • Consider picking up an internship with a local medical sales company.
  • Take an entry-level position at a doctor’s office or a nearby hospital.
  • Get hired for a medical billing job in a doctor’s office or hospital.
  • Provide customer service in a hospital setting.
  • If you can afford it, volunteer your time at a local hospital or nursing home.
  • Work in a hospital vending position.

These jobs may not be your end goal, but they will help you get where you want to go. Being able to understand where hospital personnel are coming from or why a doctor’s office runs its business the way it does is priceless knowledge when trying to understand why your potential customer feels so strongly about a particular issue. Having a well-rounded background can put you in a better position for sales success.


Do I Need a Degree?

There is no special degree dedicated to medical sales. Most successful candidates just hold a degree in a related field, such as business or a particular science. The skills you learn in college coursework can help you, but if you are interested in expanding your training and your knowledge, there are options available that will put you ahead of the class. Do your research to find training programs that are relevant to the field and will give your resume the boost it needs to stand out against hundreds of applicants.


What Qualities Should I Have?

What are some of the qualities recruiters look for when picking potential medical sales candidates? These are some of the traits that regularly appear on job interview criteria, so run down the checklist and see how many of them describe your personality:

  • It requires dedication to stay ahead of the current trends and to know your product inside and out. It also requires dedication and discipline to succeed in the independent environment that most medical sales reps operate in.
  • You have to be able to set goals and keep them. This field is made up of self-motivators, so you need to figure out how to keep yourself motivated all the way to the finish line.
  • Time-management skills. This job requires you to set your own schedule If managing your time wisely and working effectively with or without deadlines are not your strong suits, you may want to hold off on entering this field.
  • Positive attitude. The long hours and the travel can get extremely tedious. It’s important to maintain a positive and sunny outlook in order to bring the sunshine with you to your meetings. A positive sales rep will rub off on the client, making for an easier meeting and a better client relationship.
  • Organization and attention to detail. It’s the little things that count when you head to a meeting. Showing up unprepared can lead to a disaster. The more organized and prepared you are to meet with a client, the more it shows off your knowledge and how much you truly care about your job.
  • As with any sales position, one of the keys is flexibility. You need to roll with the punches sometimes and be able to adjust your plan in the spur of the moment. If the client throws out a curveball, you need to be ready for it. Without this skill, you will be dead in the water.
  • People skills. In any sales position this is important. But, in medical sales, it is even more so. You need to get passed gate keepers, gain credibility in the eyes of medical practitioners, network with a wide range of people, and develop relationships. If you don’t have people skills or don’t enjoy conversing, you should probably walk away now.

Without these traits, you will have a very hard time being successful in the world of medical sales. They are key factors to most candidates’ success in the field and show how dedicated you are to your profession. Take your time and organize before you start applying for jobs. Be sure your resume shows off these skills to the recruiter so you have a chance at standing out from your competition.


Technical Skills Needed

You will need technical skills in addition to personality traits. Knowing the software in your field and the tools of the trade will benefit you in your day-to-day actions. They can vary based on the software your company uses, and may change over time. Some of these skills include:

  • Being able to use PowerPoint will give you a way to incorporate visuals into your sales presentations. Designing a slideshow filled with relevant information takes time, and knowing the software is a must.
  • Social media experience. Everyone is using social media today. Checking LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other channels before heading to your meetings can provide valuable information about the company’s background or views.
  • Relevant apps. The app stores are full of helpful applications for your mobile devices. Knowing which ones will help your production is priceless and can save you time and energy. Apps like Trello, Asana and Basecamp offer project management tools that can help you stay organized on the go. Waze can shave time off your commute, while Profit Story can help calculate the profit margin in the middle of your meeting.
  • Communication skills. You will have limited time with decision makers so you need to make the best of it. Sometimes it one-on-one with a doctor, and sometimes you are presenting your product to a committee. In both cases, your ability to communicate succinctly and persuasively are critical to your success.
  • Any other relevant software. Two examples are: If your specialty is medical billing supplies, you will need to be familiar with the software you are selling. Or, if your company uses SalesForce, you’ll need to learn to use a CRM quickly.

For more helpful skills to get you noticed in the job field, consider signing up for one of SNI’s sales training programs. This systematic approach to sales techniques is sure to boost you to the head of the field.


Why Attend a Negotiation Course?

Jeff Cochran


Negotiations are an important part of the sales world. Without them, you wouldn’t understand your customers’ needs, be able to affect profit margins, and build relationships with the other side. You would simply be a storefront and not a salesperson. Learning how to properly negotiate throughout a sale would certainly have an impact on your business – both revenues and margins. Let’s take a look at how a negotiation course can help you reach the goals you’ve set in your sales career.


The Art of the Discussion

There is usually a fair amount of discussion that takes place before the paperwork seals the sale. How do you maintain a calm and cool composure should the discussion be heated? How do you overcome the subtle objections the other side brings up? Customers who believe they are not getting a fair deal may try different ways to get a rise out of you. The best thing you can do is stay cool, calm, and collected. Taking a negotiation course can give you a toolbox full of resources to do just that. You can reach in and pull out the tools as you need them, giving you the confidence to remain in control throughout the process.


Don’t be a Doormat

Not only are you getting a read on your client and learning how they handle a situation, but your client is also learning about you. If they think you are a doormat or a pushover, they may try to bring the discussion to a new level, hoping you will crack and bring down the price. Maintaining a confident exterior even if you are on the hot seat is very important. If this is your first negotiation with this client, if they break you down this time, they will think they can do it again and again. Stand up for the value of your product. With the proper training, this becomes easier and more second nature, ensuring self-doubt doesn’t creep in.


Build Your Confidence

There is nothing worse than being in a sales negotiation and looking weak. Clients immediately know they can take advantage of you and they will pounce. How do you maintain your confidence in a stressful situation? Here are a few tips to keep you going in the heat of the moment:

  • Know your walkaway. Write it down before you begin the negotiation. While it is ideal to stick to your walkaway, the situation may change – so, you don’t always need to end the negotiation if it gets there, but at least take a break, change the subject, or introduce new players.
  • Watch the other party’s body language. It may be easy for you to tell how you are feeling, but it is also important to watch the other party to see how he or she is reacting. Quick Tip: The secret to reading body language is congruence. Crossing of the arms or legs by themselves might mean the other side is not interested, but it’s that action paired with something else, such as angling their body away from you, less eye contact, or negative facial expressions, that means more likely than not there is a problem.
  • Don’t become reactive. First of all, you should be prepared. But, in negotiations, things come up, and it can get emotional. If that happens, and you start feeling an urge to react physically or with words to something, hold it! Keep your emotions in check to continue your professional appearance. It is very easy for people to feed off each other’s emotional tension, so defuse the situation and move on. Consider counting to ten in your head, taking several deep breadths, or even taking a break if you need to.

By using one or more of these techniques, you should be able to remain in control during a heated discussion. Your client will remember how you handled yourself and it will be a major deciding factor for future business opportunities – so you’ll want to think long and hard before reacting emotionally.


Learn to Empathize

Part of negotiation training is the ability to have empathy for the other side. You spend a lot of time researching your side of the story, so it can sometimes be hard to understand where the other side is coming from. Take a moment and try to see why they are coming across with such a strong opinion. What is the driving force behind their argument? Reflecting on another point of view could help you compromise and figure out a new win-win solution that you couldn’t see before.


Share Your Why

It’s important to reveal your backstory to your clients. Why did you start selling this product or service? Why did you think he or she would value your offering? What has it done to improve the bottom line of your other customers? By offering up a more personal story, you can connect with your clients and show them that you really mean what you are saying. Authenticity is the most important factor, so get ready to go deep and pull out some real stories. It’s always helpful to have a why statement prepared for when the opportunity arises.

To learn more about negotiation training, head to SNI’s website for the details. You won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to take your sales strategy to the next level.


How Does Consultative Selling Work?

Jeff Cochran


Customers need a reason to pick you for their purchase over all the other options available, which has become an ever tougher challenge thanks to the internet, changes in marketing strategies, and the rise of social media. The convenience of the online marketplace mixed, combined with the many options out there makes the world of sales a more complicated place. As a result, the trend toward building relationships with clients continues to gain more traction.


What Is Consultative Sales?

Consultative sales is the practice of putting the customer’s needs before your own. Designing your sales model based on what your customer is looking for increases the chance of a customer actually purchasing your product. You may have a fabulous product, but if it does not solve a fairly common problem, your “peddling” it will only cost your credibility.


It’s All About Authenticity

To be true to consultative sales, you have to truly believe the client’s needs are important. It’s not something you can fake. It’s important to believe in what you are selling and how it has the power to truly change someone’s life or impact their business. When you really believe in your product or service, it’s easy to market it in the best light possible and to show others how it can change their lives.


Ask Open-Ended Questions

The only way to find out more about your potential customer is to ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. But not just any questions will do. You need to ask open-ended questions that leave room for as much information as possible. Open-ended questions lead to more questions and bring you to the heart of the customer’s problem. The client will eventually reveal the reason he or she needs your product in their life and how you can help them solve the problem. Start broad and then dig in, and don’t make assumptions!


The Customer Composes the Pitch

If consultative sales happen in the correct way, the customer actually ends up pitching the salesperson on why he or she need the product in their life. A consultative sales presentation allows the customer to lead the salesperson in the direction they want to go instead of the salesperson centering the presentation on the product. Finding a solution to the problem should feel like a team effort in which both parties contribute information. The entire experience feels more personal when the customer has input toward the solution. It no longer feels like a cookie-cutter pitch that everyone gets to hear. You spend time more building a relationship, which results in a better experience.


Drive the Plan

It’s important to listen to what the customer is telling you, but it’s also important not to waste everyone’s time letting the conversation wander. Your job is to keep the meeting on track. Offering a plan will help everyone see you came prepared, and you are ready to listen and build a relationship to serve their needs in the best way possible. Keep the conversation to the topics relating to the sale. Don’t end up talking about someone’s family picnic six years ago when Aunt Alice really needed to clean her house. If the conversation starts taking a turn in that direction, rein it in and bring it back to the topic at hand. Quick tip: Don’t just set agendas for meetings, be strategic about what is included, and prepare you will start meetings in order to set the desired tone and direction.


Make Them See the Value

The difference between product-based sales and a consultative sales approach is that you are not focusing your pitch on the product itself. A sale can be defined as the transfer of ownership of, and title to, property from one person to another for a price. People don’t want to pay that price for an item of no value. They want to know their purchase is going to offer them something and that it is going to be a smart buy. A values-based selling approach gives people the opportunity to see how your product makes sense for their life, which will make them much more likely to purchase. Deeper Thought: People don’t typically buy the specific item or service as a means in itself, they buy it as a means to an end. They buy a desired outcome – i.e. when someone goes into a hardware store and asks for a ¼ inch drill bit, what is that they want? They may be asking for a drill bit, but they really want the holes they are going to make with it. Don’t forget the result the other side is looking for.

If you are looking to improve your sales technique, sign up for SNI’s Influence & Persuasion Training course. SNI offers techniques to give you more confidence, improve your skills and to stay cool under pressure. Check out all the details here: