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16 Sales Skills Every Salesperson Needs to Master

Published on July 10, 2018
Sales |

Thanks to technology, salespeople have been compelled to change tact when it comes to the sales skills they use to entice prospects. In contemporary times, most individuals have access to a plethora of information resources. Therefore, it makes absolute sense for salespersons to avoid regurgitating information that the masses are already aware of.

On paper, this may sound like an easy process. In truth, this is never the case. To successfully execute a sale in the new age, you need to have specific sales skills set. We’ll be looking at quite a number of pre-requisite sales skills every salesperson needs to have as part of their arsenal.

16 Sales Skills Every Salesperson Needs to Master

1. Presence

Warren Buffet recently shared that salespersons who have a sense of presence are more likely to close any deal. Presence is all about a confidence and conviction in oneself. Given that he has been quite successful in his ventures, it’s best to believe that he’s speaking from experience. Public speaking is an art in itself, some are born naturally able to do it, others are not so lucky. Whatever the circumstance, the key thing is that it is a learnable trait.

Presence can help you gain credibility and make dialogue flow much more smoothly. Small details like an open posture and maintaining eye contact during conversations with clients are incredibly effective tactics to implement.

2. Emotional Intelligence

Traditionally salespersons were aggressive when it came to pitching ideas. In the grand age of the internet and social media, there has been a paradigm shift. The best salespersons are those who are able to sit back and listen to customers’ needs. Emotional intelligence involves a lot of empathy and comprehension of various clients’ situations.

To properly get this done, you need to spend a couple of minutes looking up prospects on social networks. This method is effective because it lets you gain a comprehension of their personal interests and their professional goals. This new age approach tends to compel buyers to listen to your pitch because it’s based on sincerity. Gone are the days of a purely cosmetic approach with the hope of making a sale.

3. Creative Juices

Humans are known to love stories. It goes back to our primal conditioning. Campfires, office meetings and social gatherings are almost always dominated by chatter. While some of the conversational may simply be friendly and used as a means to pass the time, a narrative is almost always at play.

Relating with prospects on a one-on-one basis is a hard trick to pull. Salespeople who’ve studied the game can do so by staying away from the conventional sales rhetoric. Instead, more emphasis needs to be on providing real-life anecdotes when demonstrating applications and issues that may arise. That way, prospects are more likely to open up and share informational tidbits that can help the sale successfully go through.

4. Expertise

On a facts-only basis, as a salesperson, you are only as good as what you know about the product. It’s not surprising to find situations where potential customers are better informed than salespersons. Having a degree of expertise in your field is a great sales skill. Reviewing product training manuals and conducting internet research to brush up on knowledge can help you stay at the top of the game.

Nowadays, the sales conversation is likely to commence much later along the road. Prospects who encounter intelligent advisors to guide them past the informational clutter will probably convert into avid customers.

5. Time Management

Our capitalist environment has contributed greatly to the assumption that money is the most essential component of any transaction. While it’s true that money plays a key role in society, there’s another indispensable quality that gets traded during negotiations- time.

Salespersons who are able to manage their time effectively are able to realize enhanced productivity. Once time management becomes an embedded quality, your numbers are almost assuredly going to be impressive. Coupled with other crucial elements like the incorporation of analytics and automation, time management could serve as the master stroke to landing more prospects.

6. Research Skills

Getting the right information about clients and an understanding of market trends can see you grow in leaps and bounds as a salesperson. This is because information is of the essence in mapping out what sales skills and strategies to implement.

As earlier on elucidated, the digital age luckily avails salespersons with a various number of sources to get information from. Social media, competitive analysis tools, and CRM are fantastic resources to make utility of. With these, you can adequate knowledge about what needs to be done to facilitate a sale. Good research skills can facilitate you to make better decisions and enhance your customer engagement levels.

7. Tech-Savy

With the changing times, salespersons have increasingly found out that they need to step up their technological awareness. More than ever, client engagement happens in digital spheres. For you to be part of the conversation as a salesperson, you need to be adept with the means. Recent developments in AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) point to a future where humans interact with tech devices is likely to increase. As a salesperson, you can have a considerable edge over the competition once you learn to master how to incorporate technology into your method of operation.

8. Copywriting

Salespeople nowadays need to be virtuosos when it comes to writing content. This is because most conversations with buyers nowadays occur through emails. Admittedly, many may mistake great copywriting sales skills as simply being able to draft up lengthy responses. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Keeping responses short and tidy is likely to appeal to the buyers more. Where there’s lots of information for customers to take in, you need to make use of bullet points. Importantly, you should strive to ensure that there’s always a call-to-action in all written communication.

9. Social Engagement

The social media scene is quite expansive. There are numerous rooms and groupings of like-minded individuals constantly seeking to connect. As a salesperson, you can put some of your sales skills to good use by seeking to engage with a number of potential buyers. This can be through invitations to dinners or simply making regular posts.

In the occasion that you decide to host an event to connect with buyers, you should always remember to keep the conversation friendly. Doing that allows the conversation to flow freely without anyone feeling compelled to share their chips. When done over time, you can realize increased conversions through enhanced engagement.

10. Structured Agreements

When talking to prospects, you should always strive to avoid awkward moments. You can effectively do this by setting up structured buyer-seller agreements. Essentially, these need to be shortened versions of “Terms and Conditions” with a sales pitch at the end. Such agreements allow prospects to feel comfortable about the how the conversation naturally gravitates. This is because even before the engagement commences, they are already aware of what expectations to have. With such measures in place, both the buyer and seller can get to a mutual agreement on what works best for them.

11. Anticipation

Salespersons typically encounter numerous objections when making a sale. Instead of despairing when that happens, you can set yourself up for success by adopting this sales management skill. Objection prevention involves strategically thinking about how the pitch is likely to go. That way, you can proactively address some of the common objections that may arise. In doing so, you’ll be able to quash any lingering thoughts of doubt in buyers’ minds. By putting an arm around the shoulders of prospects and assuaging their fears, you will be better poised to go for the kill.

12. Problem Handling

Every now and again, salespeople encounter tricky clients who fail to pick the bait. During such moments, it’s best for sales reps to be at the ready to handle the sales process in order to prevent the deal from fading away. Soft skills like empathy and tonal variation can help a salesperson connect with a customer on a personal level. Posing questions after that can help unlock their source of doubts about the pitch before you proceed to offer solutions.

Many prospects will gladly engage with salespersons who seem keen to rescue them from their problems. Before the problem becomes apparent, you need to ask for more information from the prospect in order to provide clarity on contentious issues raised. In an office setting, salespersons can practice how to handle issues that may arise by role-playing. Such interactions ensure that you remain level-headed even when arguments may arise.

13. Desire to Sell

Attitude is of the essence when it comes to sales. Customers are likely to commit to buying a product when they feel your vibe in the pitch. An innate desire to sell is quite communicable because it comes from within and is not layered on the typical plastic pitches. If you love what you do, customers will love you back. If you don’t have a passion for what you do, customers will see right through the act and are less likely to buy anything from you.

Reading through a couple of positive quotes, affirmations and self-help books can help turn the tides around. Research has shown that most salespeople are right-brained. They are creative, talkative and have fun being around individuals. Incorporating visual aids in the mix can help you attain your sales skills goals. Setting targets and making follow up phone calls can help you tick off a couple of things from your list of objectives.

14. Agility

Agility refers to the ability to think on your feet and come up with valuable decisions in a split second. Successful salespeople are able to leverage a couple of effective sales strategies applicable in any instance. Flexibility can allow you to make the right calls, even when handling difficult customers. The ‘gut’ feeling is the term many people use to describe to their instinctual takes on a myriad of issues.

Many sales organizations have ready-made scripts for their salespersons to follow. While these scripts are drafted to assist you in making a pitch, you need to be flexible in how you execute a sale. Blindly following templates without regard for what the clients’ needs are may be counter-productive. When salespersons are given the liberty to act freely by an organization, the chances of a sale happening are improved.

15. Teamwork

As the adage goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” The same principle applies when it comes to the sales world. Gone are the days when “lone wolves” could work their magic and meet sales targets. Today, collaboration is rife because it has the potential for big rewards when done right.

Salespersons are almost constantly on the move. Forming close binding relationships with peers can help you make that next step in your career. Socializing with other salespeople ensures that you’re always in the know with regards to what prospects want. As a salesperson, you are also mandated with being an innovator when making your pitches. Numerous interactions with other fellows in your field will allow you to stay sharp on your sales skills.

16. Portfolio Mentality

Reputable salespeople are known to obsess and manage their pipeline akin to how a hedge fund manager would handle their portfolio. Since sales is a numbers game, playing the law of probability can help you close sales faster. Investing in numerous varied opportunities as they arise is a sure way for one to reinforce your chances of success. While some openings may fall by the wayside, a good number will opportunities will also go through.

Typically, hedge fund managers constantly monitor progress reports on a daily basis. Doing the same as a salesperson can be rewarding. This is because you will have the added benefit of knowing when the iron is hot and the perfect time to strike. This school of thought fragments the sales pitch concept into a linear process without necessarily resorting to cheap tricks to gain prospects’ attention. Employing this particular method can help salespersons meet their quota targets with ease.

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