I wanted to speak a little bit about one of my personal experience, that I believe gave me some great basis to develop my sales skills. When I first entered into my business school, Ipag, in Paris, there is a big event that happens couple of weeks after the class starts, which is called "the week end of integration". The purpose is to have a huge party with all the students of the different classes, in order to get to know each other and to understand better the "party culture" I would say of the students. For a week end you go to the south of France, and you need to pay for the trip and the food and the hotel.
In order to get the money, the school provides you some pens to sell. Thus, all the students are picking up some pens, go in the streets, and try to sell as much as you can, in order to pay as less as possible your trip.
A lot of people did not really enjoy it. First of all, you are selling something in the street, where people are busy and in a rush, so you can expect a lot of refusals... Secondly, you really need to have great human skills, and not be shy: you need to approach as much people as you can, without knowing them, and convince them to help you.
However, I really think this has been a great experience for me. I don't think that it gave me some sales technique, but it shape my sales will. Whatever the number of people that did not buy your pens is, you still need to keep going on, be smiling, and so on. I think that it is a great exercise, in order not to be shy, be out going.
I think this experience contributed to develop my sales skills, my conviction power, and my interest in the sales business.