Sales is a throat-cutting industry. It takes the most important people working in sales to stay ahead of the competition. Its core strategy relies on the strength of sales staff to collaborate with customers to drive the desired results. As a sales manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that your team is set up for real success and that it will look different for each salesperson. This is why you must prioritize these critical sales skills as part of your regular training since customers and the market are constantly evolving. The best practices, values, and experiences ensure consistency throughout the sales process. Upskill your team with the following 10 most essential sales skills:
1. Product Knowledge
Deep and comprehensive knowledge of the product is the foundation of effective sales. This core skill gives your salesperson the correct answers when customers ask questions about a specific product or service and the right solution when creating a pitch. It is an important skill to develop before the sales process can begin.
2. Business Skills
Business acumen is not only for business leaders but also an essential skill for the seller to provide the customer with a good solution. This essential skill shows that your salesperson understands how the business operates and can tailor their sales strategy to fit the customers’ needs. To help your team better understand the capabilities of the business, you need to create training for your team that will include the critical skills in the industry to achieve your business goals. Factors that motivate those industries, departments, systems, and processes will help your team understand your customers.
3. Strategic Expectations
Sellers should be able to foresee the future. However, developing a practical strategic approach is essential to identify the most suitable style to deal with customers. Understanding their daily problems and nurturing existing customers brings new and valuable perspectives into the business. These will help build your sales pipeline and ultimately generate the desired level of revenue.
4. Active Listening
Active Listening is paying full attention to issues, pain points, and future thoughts without interruption before responding thoughtfully. This way, your problems, and needs are clearly heard and understood. As a result, your salesperson can keep track of relevant questions, guide conversations better, and identify practical and fast solutions.
Empathy enables sales staff to listen verbally and non-verbally and understand the customer’s feelings and emotions. This is an essential skill that allows the seller to understand better the customer’s pain points, fears, and concerns, even if they are not explicitly stated. Moreover, salespeople can build emotional and lasting customer relationships.
6. Relationship Building
Relationship building is when sellers seek to establish a relationship instead of immediately discussing the details of the product or service. The goal of building relationships is to build trust with your customers. Although talking to customers about non-work-related topics may seem like a nonsensical exercise, a 2017 sales survey by LinkedIn said that trust in vendors is the number one contributor to success in getting more clients.
7. Effective Communication
Sales staff spend most of their time communicating with customers, not just with internal teams. Effective communication, both in writing and in words, is a fundamental skill your salesperson needs to persuade customers to buy your product or service. Your salesperson must also understand that tone and distribution methods are essential. Sales is a fast-paced industry, but you can strengthen your team’s communication skills more effectively by reinforcing these concepts through learning from friends and participating in discussions where they can apply their communication skills and collaborate with the team.
8. Negotiation Skills
Sales portray the art of negotiation. After presenting an effective pitch proposal, sales must guide the clients into a disciplined negotiation process. It is important to set clear goals and set outcomes, as well as prepare for alternative scenarios that may arise during the discussion. The team must lead negotiations to mutual expectations and benefits for the business and for the customers.
9. Project Management
A disciplined sales process requires the use of project management skills to develop a systematic approach to the sales workflow. Strong project management skills equip sales with flexible organization, control, and dynamic solutions for different customers. Thoughtful planning and effective implementation are tools to set goals and align resources and services to customer needs. Integrating customer relationship management and valuable solutions encourage customers to come back.
10. Time Management
Time management is the ability to increase productivity in high-efficiency activities and generate revenue. This skill is often overlooked but is shown to be the most important skill in the sales industry. In a study cited by Forbes, nearly two-thirds (64.8%) of sales representatives spend their time on nonprofit activities. That is why your sales need to have a clear understanding of the specific steps and stages of the process of closing a deal. This is also where prioritizing, transferring tasks and refining processes are useful.
by Ms. Li Eng Lo