There are certain skills in the world of selling that are definitely more important to have than others. More interestingly, some of these skills will affect the ability to convert more prospects into paying customers which is what anybody in business is looking for at the end of the day. Most selling skills need to be practiced and refined and I absolutely don't agree with those who say that certain selling skills can't be taught. Here are some of those valuable skills that anybody in the field of selling needs to know:
The art of persuasion is something that can be taught but requires knowledge of human behaviour. One of the most important aspects of persuasion is the ability to read another person's emotional hot buttons and how to push them at the right moment. The person doing the selling needs to profile the prospect by asking a series of well thought out questions and after gathering this information the sales person will need to adapt their presentation accordingly. Once the sales person knows how to influence the prospect they can then focus on more targeted areas and eliminate the ones that will be less effective. The classical annoying sales person is the one who bombards the prospect with his or her ideas indiscriminately. In other words they make little effort in terms of understanding what type of presentation would fit the person they find themselves in front of.
This is something that all successful sales people have in abundance because even if a person is not the best communicator in the world, this one quality will often help him or her over the finishing line. One of the most difficult things about selling is the capacity to keep driving on when all seems lost and that's why drive is almost more important than any other selling skill. A person may be a brilliant, creative, persuasive, adaptable and a highly intelligent seller but if they give up at the first hurdle, all those skills will be useless to them.
I've trained a lot of sales people in my time and when someone is new to selling I tend to look for flexibility as one of the big future predictors of success. What I mean here is that if a person new to sales is copying everything their colleagues are doing in "robotic style" you know that they're going to struggle. The simple reason for this is the fact that what works for one person is certainly not guaranteed to work for another. In selling we need to be able to quickly identify what works well for us and what doesn't, If this ability to adapt is missing, valuable time is lost working on something that will not benefit the bottom line.
4. Enhanced Communication
One thing that many sales people fail to do is to work on their ability to communicate in the most effective way. This can be something as simple as building a decent vocabulary to be able to express ideas in a clear and articulate way. Now don't get me wrong here! This does not mean that you have to speak like a university professor from Harvard in order to sell well. However, the more vocabulary you have, the more you will be able to adapt your way of speaking to all the different levels of people you meet. Put it this way, an uneducated man can only speak to an uneducated man. An educated man can speak to lawyers, doctors, engineers and so forth, and he can also speak to an uneducated man. All he has to do for that is to choose more simple words and the uneducated man will feel more comfortable talking to him.
Believe me, I've come across plenty of sales people who can't write a sales letter without making at least a few spelling mistakes. Correction software can only correct to a certain extent and it can't correct all grammar mistakes from what I've seen. The same goes for speaking. Some sales people can't put two sentences together without making simple grammar mistakes. This does not help when it comes to selling, and it certainly does not help the overall professional image of the company.
Now I know we've only touched the surface here but I'm sure that the skills I've spoken about here have a definite impact on the overall success of a sales person. Sales people can lose sales because they didn't persist enough to make that one extra call. They can also lose a sale by writing a sloppy sales letter that doesn't explain their offer in clear enough manner. I could go on here for hours explaining all these factors. The crazy thing is that improvements can be made without making huge sacrifices. The secret is having the desire to improve and to start doing something about it. If all this makes a difference to the amount of money we deposit in the bank at the end of the month I'm sure you'd agree that it's easily worth the effort.
About the Author
David Lynch is a Sales Training Designer & Accomplished Author. He has more than 20 years experience in a variety of industries including software, insurance & hospitality. If you would like to learn more sales skills from David you can download a Free Copy of his E-book "25 Mistakes To Avoid When Selling" at http://www.saleswillgrow.com/freesalestraining2.html
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