I’ve worked in sales off and on for quite a while now–probably most of my working career, actually. One thing I have noticed in common with each job is that the sales training focuses almost entirely on the technique of selling. It’s really this technique, typical of “greasy salesmen,” that tends to drive customers to put up the very barriers that the sales training emphasizes on breaking down. It’s been my experience that just “making a friend”–that is, to say, building trust by legitimately caring about the customer–is the easiest way to sell anything. Some people are naturally amiable, and they tend to make customers feel at home and not pressured which builds confidence, trust, and–most importantly–repeat business.
There has only been one company (who shall remain nameless) I worked for that emphasized product knowledge as much as the technique of selling, and it was also the company I had the most success selling for. Simply put, if a company does everything it can to build a confident salesperson by focusing sales training on product knowledge and industry awareness, then a salesperson will be honest and open with that customer–improving everyone’s bottom line.