What separates sales winners from second place finishers? Good sales people get prospects to buy, but the best build relationships. Forming a genuine bond with customers through active listening, social sincerity and empathy is imperative. And while relationships are the root of sales, hard work is the tree. To grow your Maple strong and sturdy, you’ll need to cultivate a motivated mindset and execute with enthusiasm. Whether you’re seeking a new position or want to get ahead, here are 5 skills you need in sales to thrive:
This sales skill is key because sales is driven by conversations. Whether it’s with clients, receiving feedback from your manager or strategizing with your peers, paying attention is pertinent.
In the famous book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, author Dale Carnegie highlights listening as central to increasing likability. Master your listening skills to make progress with prospects. You can improve active listening by asking engaging questions and following up in ways that demonstrate your understanding. Tailor your follow up emails to highlight a unique point from your conversation. In client meetings, listen intently to pain points and challenges, then offer specific solutions your product or service can provide. Use your ears to earn trust. Sincere listening without an agenda will help you build rapport, enhance your relationships and cultivate credibility.
- Resource to do it: Harvard Business Review: “Everything You need to Know about Becoming a Better Listener”
Hustle and heart will set you apart. Work ethic is working hard and working smart. The best sales people are gritty and unafraid of the daily grind. Challenging yourself to do more will help you improve faster and gain opportunities. Sales people can gauge performance daily. You either made progress by setting a meeting, hitting metrics or closing a deal, or you didn’t. Are you staying later, coming in earlier and making more calls than the person next to you? In the words of basketball star Kevin Durant, “Hard work trumps talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
- Resource to do it: The Challenger Sale- Matthew Dixon
Sales isn’t all sunshine. Often, the forecast is rainy rejection. To be a top performer, you’ll need to open your umbrella and charge through the “no’s” until you reach a “yes.” It’s life. Stuff happens. You may believe with every bone in your body that a customer will buy, and then they don’t. One of your best clients may leave for a competitor. You’ll make cold calls and get hung up on. The best salespeople bounce back and embody elasticity. You will have failures and mistakes, but the important thing is to harness them to grow and learn.
- Resource to do it: UC Berkeley Greater Good Magazine: “Five Science-Backed Strategies to Build Resilience”
Wage war on mediocre sales strategies with a surprising, thoughtful or funny approach. Don’t just hand someone your business card; give them something to remember you. Weave wit into your outreach and leave a funny voicemail. Get to know your clients and what works for them. They’ll appreciate the thought and you’ll make strides and ramp up your sales skills.
- Resource to do it: Lynda Learning: Developing your creativity
When you’re new to sales, you’ll receive training on the product or service, processes, clients, and how to communicate with different people effectively. You’ll role-play client calls and receive feedback. Embrace constructive criticism because it will help you grow. Take notes on tips leadership or seasoned sales reps share with you. An eagerness to learn parallels eagerness to excel. Your career will flourish if you absorb feedback like sunshine and let it help you blossom into a top performer.
- Resource to do it: NPR’s Hidden Brain Podcast: “Trying to Change, or Changing the Subject? How Feedback Gets Derailed”
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