This is the absolutely the most important skill a salesperson can cultivate. Why? Because all the other skills are based on persistence. If you have every other sales skill listed below but you give up at the first hint of a “no,” then you’ll never have a chance to use those skills. The first time you speak to a prospect, they might not want to talk to you because they’re having a bad day… but if you call back a week later they’ll be eager to buy.
Self-confidence doesn’t end with persistence; if you believe in yourself and your product, your prospects will be inclined to believe as well. Self-confidence will also incline you towards a more assertive closing approach, which is vital to your selling success.
Most salespeople are natural talkers. Unfortunately even a great speaker will only get so far without a little listening. Taking the time to ask your prospect questions and really listen to the answers shows respect for them, and gives you a clearer idea of what they want. So how can you tell if you’re doing enough listening? The next time you cold call a prospect, ask an open-ended question and then hit the mute button and leave yourself muted for at least a minute (or until you are absolutely sure the prospect is finished). By forcing yourself to be quiet, you will notice right away how strong your urge is to jump in and say something before the prospect has stopped talking.
Emotion plays a major role in sales. There’s an old saying that “features tell, benefits sell.” Features are the facts about your product or service; benefits are their emotional connotations. For example, a 0% interest rate on a credit card is a feature… being able to save money while buying the things you need is a benefit! Persuasiveness is the skill that allows you to convey these emotions to the customer. If you can make your prospect feel how great it will be to own your product and how much their life will be improved when they have it, you can sell it to them.
Building Strong Relationships
This sales skill is just as important to a salesperson’s business life as it is to their personal life. Building and maintaining healthy relationships is the key to developing a strong network. And networking will allow you to reach far, far more prospects than you could manage on your own.
Remember the theory of “Six Degrees of Separation?” Let’s say you’re trying to reach the decision maker at a major company but you don’t know anyone who works there. A call or two to your network contacts yields someone who knows someone who works for your target; armed with that person’s name and direct phone number, you now have access to the prospect.
Even the best salesperson is a work in progress. You can always find a way to develop your skills, work on your pitch, and learn more about the products and services you sell. But the drive to constantly improve yourself has to come from within. Your manager might direct you to make some changes if your sales start to plummet, but if you are constantly working to become a better salesperson you can start working on the issue before it affects your numbers.
Find the Fun
Sales works best when you treat it as a game. Treat each stage of each sale as a challenge that brings you closer to winning, and you’ll find a lot more fun in your work. Setting up a bunch of appointments or sinking your teeth into a juicy new lead list are just as important to the game as the final, closing stages, so don’t fixate on your closing numbers alone. Remember, if you’re enjoying yourself, your prospects will notice and appreciate it.
Set a few reasonable, attainable goals for yourself and decide on appropriate rewards. For instance, you might set a goal of 10 meet new contacts/customer this week and treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant if you make them all. Always choose goals that are within your control, not ones that depend on someone else’s actions. In other words, deciding to spend five hours a week doing door-to-door calls or sending 10 emails a day to existing customers are controllable goals. Deciding to close five sales a week is not, because closing sales is dependent on the prospect’s decisions and isn’t something you can control. If you set smart goals for your activities and achieve them, the sales will come.
Learn to Love “No”
Salespeople hear the word “no” a lot. If you take them personally, you will burn out fast. When a prospect turns you down it often has nothing to do with you! He might be having a bad day, or he just bought a similar product from a competitor, or he can’t afford your product, or he’s just not a good fit. None of these things are your doing and they will happen regularly to every salesperson regardless of skill. So every time a prospect says “no” just remind yourself that they’re rejecting your product offering, not you.
Don’t Skimp on Preparation
Feeling nervous before a big presentation? Putting in some preparation time beforehand can really ease your stage fright. The more research and preparation you do, the better you’ll feel heading into a meeting. Preparation is most important before a sales pitch, but it can help with every stage of sales – for example, having a list of common objections and your best responses in front of you while you cold call can make you feel better armed to get the appointment.
It may sound crazy to talk about taking risks when you’re trying to build up confidence in yourself, but it works surprisingly well. When you operate outside your comfort zone, you stretch your mind and learn new things. If you try a new sales tactic – like selling via social media or reaching out to a new type of prospect – you’ll win every time. If you don’t succeed in making sales, you won’t feel too bad because, after all, it’s your first time trying. And if you do succeed right off the bat, you’ll feel terrific. In either case, once you return to your regular sales techniques you’ll find them much easier in comparison to the new methods you just attempted.
by: Edy Yulius – Business Manager