Sales fuel every aspect of business. Whether you're selling a product to a client, selling a solution in customer support, or selling yourself to get a job… everybody sells. There are tons of books, tapes, and sales aids to help you with this. But one of the most important tools is only now coming to light.
The iPhone is the ideal platform for eBooks, audios, and other sales aids. It's always available before a sales call, while you're exercising, or when you're preparing for a meeting. The impact of having a 24/7 sales coach in your pocket is huge! And its cost is negligible compared to the value of saving just one key sale or coming in first on that big job interview.
Different sales training apps serve different purposes
All types of sales solutions are available in the App Store. Some define sales activities, techniques, and processes. Others provide the components that make up a complete sales process or curriculum. You'll also find broadcasts, collections of topics, book summaries, success stories, check questions, management and multilevel selling techniques, marketing, and industry portals.
I'm a teacher and sales coach, so my favorites are the instructional apps that include how-to techniques, examples, and simple processes that are easy to remember when you get in front of a demanding customer. I also love the apps that allow you to create your own examples and notes, like the Consultative Selling and Account Management series of mobile apps from GDA Mobile (sales-training-mobile-apps.com).
So which are the best sales training apps?
For best results you'll need a collection of apps with expertise across all of the areas that can impact your success. Read through the descriptions in the App Store and, if available, check out free "Lite" versions of the apps.
I recommend sales skills apps like GDA Mobile's Handling Objections ($9.99, app2.me/3231; free "Lite" version, app2.me/3232), Questioning for Needs ($9.99, app2.me/3233; free "Lite" version, app2.me/3234), or Closing for Commitment ($9.99, app2.me/3235; free "Lite: version, app2.me/3236). These apps are audio based so you can listen while you are on the move, and they offer the option to record your own examples.
I also recommend getting some apps for quick reference and explanation, such as Sandler Training ($4.99, app2.me/3237; free "Lite" version, app2.me/3238), and motivational apps, such as Dale Carnegie's, Secrets of Success. ($0.99, app2.me/3239). There are even some company-specific sales training apps such as RE/MAX University (free, app2.me/3240).
Create your own "personal sales coach"
Sit down and make a list of what you need from your personal sales coach. Are you interested in questioning techniques, fostering interest for appointments, or profiling clients? Do you need to improve how you handle objections or your closing techniques? Do you need industry-specific knowledge or tips on how to manage sales people? Do you want the information to be presented in audio, visual, or checklists format? Then, with your list of needs in hand, go through what is available in the App Store. Look at the descriptions, illustrations, and comments, and refine your list. If you can, try out free versions of the app first, but if one is not available, don't be afraid to make a mistake—you can always delete it. The cost of most of these apps is negligible compared to the benefits you'll gain.
Pocket sales training works
A few years ago, a friend of mine was asked to change jobs, so I provided him with ten of my audio topics on sales. A year later, he wrote, "I never had a sales class in my life. I transferred from support to sales, and after listening to your sales audio recordings on my iPod, I became the number one sales person in 3Com."
Here is another example. We were providing sales training for a national client who had been experiencing a 65% turnover in its sales force due to non-performance. My favorite note was from a salesperson who had not attended our class. He wrote, "I was on my last leg, under 37% of quota for three months. My manager mistakenly left a sales tape on "questioning" in my car. I listened to it three times and decided that I had nothing to lose. In the next three months, I was 135%, 148%, and 175% of quota respectively. Keep in mind; I had only listened to one tape from the series."
As a sales manager and sales trainer for over 35 years, I still value face-to-face training as the best way to develop sales people. But the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad are powerful sales tools that provide the missing ingredient…personal, on-demand, and real-time sales skills reinforcement.