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As a Corporate training expert and a strategist, I was called upon by many premium brands to establish and identify the choke points that prevented the brand from being accepted far and wide by the customers. During the process of my thorough audit of the entire marketing chain, I was surprised to realize that while the company had invested a fortune in not only making a top-class product, it had also incorporated AI in selecting a colour scheme, logo and the SM platforms for promoting it. Needless to mention the swanky show room in an upmarket place. During this analytical journey I observed that while nearly all organizations blamed the failure of their brand on almost everything from Grih, Nakshatra, the Gods, the unpredictable markets and erratic behavioural pattern of the customers, they failed in providing quality training to their sales executive. As a subject expert, I thought it is time to share my insights for the benefit of all affected corporate houses. We have to remember that state of the art technology in manufacturing a product and its public display at a costly high-end market may not be the end all and be all of the marketing. A customer may be drawn to show room but closing of deal may illude us. Therefore, the people involved in the chain of marketing have to concur that ‘Closing a deal is a battle of Mind’. The analytic time that customers spend processing information about brand deserves close management scrutiny. In a nutshell, it determines how much attention is devoted by customers to the brand. This playing field, like any other, has boundaries, barriers and rules. An understanding of how the game is played will allows building a competitive advantage in the market.

Only if we remember that the most important part of the product is the sales team and how they look, behave and are perceived by the buyers. It is a good idea to recall that customers need to buy your sales executive before they are willing to buy your product or service. So, are there any set of skills that are needed in sales of a premier product? The short answer is YES and obviously. In my opinion the skill set needs three specific attributes which are firstly, customer facing sales skills, secondly, core sales skills and finally the soft skills. If a corporate is willing to establish a kinship in the three skill sets the product will for sure cast a niche in the market. While the customer facing skills include Storytelling, Problem-solving, Customer engagement and Presentation skills the traits needed by the team in core selling are Product knowledge, Negotiations, Customer success management and the art of deal closing. Before undertaking launch of any premier product, it is desired to prepare sales teams with the above skills. Now comes in the third and the most important aspect of the strategic selling of premium product and that is the soft skills. The top most is Active Listening which means the ability to hear and understand what the client says. When active listening is practised, speaker has plenty of time to share his/her thoughts and we get clues to respond to the specific points a client wishes to know.

It is followed by Empathy and that is the ability to relate emotionally to another individual. Empathic sales professionals can place themselves in the client’s position and develop personalised solutions from their point of reference to solve unique issues. Next in line of soft skills are a combination of two, as I would recommend, and these are Communication and Self-Motivation. A seasoned sales professional should communicate clearly with others both verbally and in writing. Choosing the most effective words and phrases for the conversation remains the key to wooing a customer. On the other hand, every executive must be self-motivated and diligent. This career does present both ups and downs, but a sales professional should maintain a steady forward motion, working as hard after a big sale as they do after losing a client. There is no science involved to realize that all the above skills that need to sky rocket the sales of a premier brand are acquirable and adaptable. The popular military saying of “The more you sweat in Peace…. The less you bleed in War” is equally applicable here. The Brand CEOs must realize on training their teams before they are introduced to a new arena with a new product.


COL ANUPAM JAITLY (RETD) The writer is Defence expert, Motivational Speaker & Corporate Trainer


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