Most copywriters are deficient in the sales department. If you're looking for how to improve your selling skills, then perhaps these recommendations will help you gain the knowledge and experience you need.
1. Read Sales Books
One of my favorite books about selling is Frank Bettger's How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling. This isn't your vanilla "how to" book. It's a great story that includes practical sales advice from one of the best salesman of the early 20th Century.
Bettger's book reminds me in a lot of ways of Claude Hopkins' My Life in Advertising. Part teaching and part story. It makes for a great read.
Another favorite of mine is Roger Dawson's Secrets of Power Negotiating. I got the audio version from Nightingale-Conant. It's also available in book format.
The last two books I'll mention I have not read yet, but they are on my to-read list because of strong recommendations from Stephen Dean and Ben Settle. Those books are Getting Past No by William Ury and Start with No by Jim Camp. They both have stellar ratings on Amazon right now.
2. Take a Part-Time Sales Job
I've recently watched a few sales presentations in my home. One was for CUTCO Knives, the same company where Zig Ziglar made his name. The other was for Saladmaster. Both presentations were very persuasive. I watched with a critical eye, so I could see what they were doing and why.
Most direct sales companies are always on the lookout for new talent. So if you want to take a part-time sales job in the evenings, you might want to check out these two companies. I'm sure there are more.
Really, there's no better way to get selling experience than to sell face to face. And if you don't have time to do part-time sales, then watching a few sales presentations is the next best thing. (Just guard your wallet!)
3. Generate More Leads
Every lead you get is an opportunity for you to polish your selling skills. So the more leads you get, the more opportunity you'll have to practice.
There are dozens of ways to generate leads. You can use pay-per-click advertising, classified ads, articles published on other web sites (like the one I recently wrote for Michel Fortin), etc.
If you focus your energy on getting more leads, it will be practically impossible for you to not improve your selling skills. Of course, it's even better if you read some books about selling to shortcut your learning curve.
Naturally, there are many more ways to get better at selling. What ideas or recommendations do you have?
P.S. My friend and colleague Ray Edwards has recently begun a daily 5-minute "copycast" on his blog, and I highly recommend you listen to his recent episode, "All the Clients You Can Handle."