Developing sales skills is an essential part of becoming a fully fledged sales professional. For most people, the art of selling – and selling well – does not come naturally. It’s something that needs to be acquired and nurtured through training and development. These are just a few of the top sales skills that anyone with ambitions to be an exceptional sales professional needs to master.
Understanding your product
Deep product knowledge is the most basic part of great sales – if you don’t really understand the product and its benefits it will be impossible to sell effectively. Product knowledge includes understanding how a product works, what its benefits are and how it can deliver value to your target customers.
Establishing remote rapport
Selling over the phone is often more challenging than face-to-face. So, it’s a real skill to be able to build a remote rapport. Advance research can help here, enabling common ground to be established, as well as the ability to empathise and understand the other’s point of view.
Selling isn’t just about speaking or convincing others, listening is just as important. Proactive listening means focusing entirely on what the prospect is saying, the objections they raise and the potential opportunities that may exist for progress. Listening actively and then asking intelligent questions are both crucial to professional sales.
Studies have found that only 7% of communication is based on the content of what is being said. 38% of communication is about the way it is said, such as the tone of voice. Effective selling requires some attention to these attributes of communication, from subtly mirroring the prospect’s tone of voice, to ensuring you’re not speaking in a monotone and letting just enough personality shine through.
Asking clever questions
Many salespeople approach a prospect by being convinced of the benefits of their product and aggressively pushing these. The better approach is to start by asking a series of questions that are designed to identify what that person actually needs and whether there are issues that your product could solve. Then you can apply the benefits of the product to the actual needs of the customer to demonstrate specifically where value can be added.
A strategic approach to objections
Dealing with objections is just part of the process in sales. Taking a strategic approach to this not only means being prepared for likely objections but taking steps in advance to prevent them. Where objections are common it may be possible to pre-empt them before they have even been raised, clearing the path for the sale to progress.
Closing and commitment
This essential part of the process includes a number of different stages. It will be key to ensure that the right people are included in the pitch – i.e. those who are the decision makers – and that there is a focus on securing commitment from the prospect. Closing doesn’t have to be aggressive it’s much more about guiding your prospect towards reaching mutual agreement with you.
These key sales skills are essential for anyone looking to progress in a sales career. Our Key Selling Skills course will teach you how to maximise your selling potential and get ahead in your chosen career.