Sales Training Article: What Do You Sell?

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company

When meeting someone for the first time a common icebreaker is asking what a person does for a living. For those that respond that they are salespeople, a reasonable follow up would be to ask what he or she sells.

Whether in a social setting or in sales calls, I’m generally underwhelmed in how sellers respond to questions about what they do. Their responses are either too cryptic or go on for too long.

I’d like to suggest some guidelines for responses:

1) Use 20 or fewer words.

2) Start with the words: “I help ____”

3) Avoid mentioning product/offering names if possible.

4) Share benefits your clients can achieve through the use of your offering.

5) Tell enough that if interested, the person may ask a follow-up question that would allow you to give further detail.

For example, in my case, a very pedestrian response would be:

“I do sales training and consulting.”

While true, it’s about me and likely to shut down further conversation. It only follows the first suggestion above and is unlikely to elicit further questions.

I hope you agree a better response would be:

“I help companies implement a process to share best selling practices and drive higher revenue.”

It’s 15 words long, uses the theme of helping, avoids mentioning product (training and consulting) and mentions a benefit clients can realize.

While important to have a generic social positioning statement, for business calls you should be more specific with outcomes that specific titles would likely be interested in – not products and features.

At the start of a sales call, a 20-word or less description of outcomes your customers can achieve can steer the conversation in a positive direction.