There are a number of sales skills that are key to enhance performance. When combined, they create a winning strategy, sure to produce real results. Selling is complicated. It’s not as simple as having something that someone wants or needs. Nor is it as simple as a phone call, a handshake or a winning smile. Selling requires a consistent process and key skills.
7 Key Sales Skills
How full is your sales pipeline? Prospecting is an area that many sales people tend to slack off on when they get busy. Unfortunately, when sales slow down, you don’t have anything new to sustain you over the next couple months. Keeping your pipeline full is critical to your growth. Ideal prospects generally come from referrals and your strategic partners. If you have satisfied customers, and I am sure you do, get in the habit of asking for referrals. Continue to build your prospect list through networking, social media, email marketing and events.
Great salespeople ask great questions. Learn to ask open-ended questions that draw out buyer’s wants and needs. Uncovering their pain points will help you position your product or service most appropriately. What are your prospect’s challenges? What keeps them up at night?
Your presentation should be about your prospect. While product knowledge is important, now is not the time to impress them with everything you know. Most of us know significantly more about our product or service than we will ever use in a presentation. This is the time to demonstrate how your product or service will benefit the prospect and alleviate their challenges. Solve their problem.
Ask for the Business
Asking for the business, referral or next meeting can be the hardest part for many new salespeople. Once you learn not to take rejection personally and getting a “no” does not always mean “NO”, it will become much easier to be consistent in this area. Learn to ask questions throughout your presentation. How does this sound to you? Do you like what you see (or heard) so far? Other than yourself, who else will be involved in making a purchase decision? What other information do you need to move forward? When your presentation is complete and you have gained commitment on several key points, ask for the business.
Calmly respond to the prospect’s objections. Doubts indicate the prospect is interested and considering buying but they may need more information. In many cases, the buyer has questions that you may not have covered yet. Many sales people quit too early in the objection phase. Now is the time to ask more questions. Get to the bottom of their concerns. You will be glad you did.
Service after the Sale
Service is just as important as signing off on your proposal. Take care of your customers to make sure the sales process is easy and painless. Make sure their entire experience is favorable. Great service results in repeat business and referrals.
Follow-up is an often-neglected part of the selling process. Do what you say you are going to do. If you say you are going to follow up with the requested information or proposal next Tuesday make sure you respond by that date. If you don’t have an immediate answer to their question or concern, don’t leave them hanging until you do. Tell them you will be back in touch with a solution in the next couple hours.
The better you become in each of these 7 key sales skills, the more you will achieve. If you are weak in any one of these areas, consider spending more time practicing or role-playing to develop these skills.
Commit to improve in one of these key sales skills over the next 90 days. Which one would have the greatest impact on your sales growth?