Sales 101- Top Ten Sales Skills…..

Hi readers,

ready reference for sales pros….quick list of top 10 sales skills for you and your teams

  • Skill #1. Researching prospects and organizations prior to first contact.

Cultivate a genuine love for researching, using both primary as well as secondary sources for researching on your client, your prospect and the organization. Research empowers you to not only be prepared for the questions that you will be asked, but will also ensure client delight, when he confers with you and gets to know that you have taken the pains to know more about the industry and the organization. You are therefore better equipped to close the all important sale!

  • Skill #2. Asking questions and listen more than you talk.

Always a classic- if you dont have listening skills, then invest in this skill!! Enough stress cannot be put on this skill to highlight its critical importance in a sales rep. MUST HAVE SKILL….

  • Skill #3. Focusing on a few top prospects and contacting them frequently.

FOCUS has always been key to success. There are many fish ( prospects) in the sea….knowing your value prop and the offer, and matching that to the best target clientele in the business eco-system takes judgement maturity. Focus on a few prospects that are the best match for your offer and then go all out. Spend a clearly allocated time with each prospect and qualify them according to the response that you generate with first contact and then build on the engagement as it unfolds!! SIMPLE!

  • Skill #4. Cultivating insider “coaches” to understand customer requirements.

YEP….you need to have superior schmoozing skills to cultivate relationships ACROSS the client’s organization. Some times grapevine is very critical to the success of your sales pitch…you never know which gem of information turns out to be of strategic importance and your decision is affected by it…wouldn’t it be better if you had prior information through your “cultivated” internal sources???

  • Skill #5. Solving problems and overcoming objections as a consultant.

Be it product driven enterprises or services focused businesses, today and in the future, the long term value of your offer will only be unlocked IF you are successfully able to SELL A SOLUTION as opposed to a stand alone product or a service!! Face this reality folks…please invest in your solutions marketing and selling skills, solve your customers problems and you will have a client hooked on to engaging with you for as long as he is on the decision makers seat!!! Beats recession any day!!!

  • Skill #6. Creating long-term relationships with prospects and customers.

Relationships management that endure time is an art and a science- this is from my experience. Honesty in your business engagements with your client, bringing more than the product or service to the business offer to the table, transparency in your B2B engagements are all critical attributes that will help you to establish and then maintain long term business relationships., which will hold you in good stead , especially when the going gets tough.

  • Skill #7. Communicating appropriate messages (e.g. value propositions).

Communication skills, having the ability to articulate the same message ( value prop) for different audiences, without diluting the core essence of the value prop, is an art that comes from creativity and hard skills combined. If you are not inherently creative, I encourage you to take classes in creative writing, or go back to school and learn communication, work for some time in advertising, or just paint, cook….on form of creativity translates into other forms of creativity- and here we are talking of communication skills!!

  • Skill #8. Recognizing when the prospect is ready to buy.

JUDGEMENT MATURITY….this cannot be taught, but

  • Skill #9. Knowing how to close the sale when the time is right.\

Refer to skill # 8….

  • Skill #10. Getting referrals and then following up on them.

REFERRALS are crucial to your success today, especially in the B2B space. In Solutions sales, strong  references may mean the difference between success and failure in closing, large ticket deals, AND getting referrals is also an ART!!

So what are you guys waiting for..go get ’em Tiger!!

If you want to Sell More? Get Curious…..

Hi readers,

An old saying goes…Curiosity killed the cat….essentially meant to be a deterrent to those who are deemed too nosy for their own good in civil society.

BUT…for those of us who want to make a mark as sales stars, this goes against our grain….

CURIOSITY would be one critical attribute that I would personally pick from my 18 years experience as a sales professional that has contributed to my success.

According to me Curiosity is the key to unlocking every door that leads towards consistent sales performance.  Consider the following:

  • Relationship Building. People are drawn to those who show true interest in them.  Having an abiding fascination in others give you the opportunity to learn new things and make new connections. (Without relationships, relationship management skills and enduring relationships , transcending time, YOU dont have a future as a sales super star!!)
  • Business Acumen. If you’re curious about your own industry and the industries of your prospects, you’ll always be learning more, and therefore always increasing your ability to add value. ( Subject matter expertise is today defined by the depth of knowledge that you have about the domain, the business vertical and the general business eco-system, so invest in this folks!!)
  • Problem Solving.  If you’re going to delve into customer difficulties, and ask plenty of questions, you’d better have some real curiosity  or you’ll just be waiting for a chance to sell. ( If you serious about a long term play in sales, are crazy driven to become a sales super star, and are active in the solutions sales business, problem solving skills are extremely important to ensure your qualified success as a professional !!)
  • Developing New Skills. Constantly honing your selling ability requires constant curiosity about what’s out there to learn, what would benefit you most, and how you can get the training you need. (Your soft skills and hard skills need to be upgraded constantly , keeping pace with the fast paced market dynamics of contemporary business eco-systems, so learn, learn learn !!)
  • Objection Handling.  If you’re not curious about the customer’s real motives, objections are just obstacles rather than a golden opportunity to learn something more about the customers. (Face it….your clients test you at every turn of the sales process by objecting to every sales pitch that you make… internalizing the ability to manage the devils advocates with your client community will help you become a respected sales star!!)
  • Contract Negotiating.  If you’re not curious about the concerns of the other party, you’ll immediately find yourself at loggerheads, arguing about issues that aren’t really important to either party. ( Important part of the sales closing skill that every sales guy needs to have in his armory!!)
  • Lifelong Learning.  When you bungle a deal or the customer buys from somebody else, if you’re not curious about what that happened, you won’t bother to find out, and won’t learn from the failure. ( Many sales reps say this, BUT few really mean it…believe me, it pays tremendously to invest in learning throughout your professional career- learn from your channel partners, learn from the distributor, learn from your mentor, learn from your teacher, go back to school, just promise to learn every day and you will NOT Fail!!)

Curiosity.  Gotta have it.

Without it, you’re just an order taker!!!