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Sales Leadership
5 Critical Selling Skills in 2016
Jun 3, 2016 | Matthew Cook lock

Sales is tough. Even though there are over 22 million sales professionals in the United States and Canada alone, only 10% will actually deliver ROI while 40% will miss quota. Very few sales people actually have what it takes to make it in the field, to be assets to their companies, and to constantly achieve their sales targets and bring in high volumes of revenue.

How can you ensure that you’re at the top of the echelon rather than the bottom? Refine key selling skills. The most effective sales people have the selling skills needed to sell faster and better. And these all-important selling skills are directly related to the buyers’ experiences.


1. The Skill of Education
Today, buyers can find a lot of information they seek online. They can read reviews of products and companies. They can learn all about the different features and price points available to them. They can compare and contrast different options. And they can ask for advice and recommendations on social media.

The buyer’s journey has changed and sales people are no longer the main point of contact when customers are seeking information, so you need to sell in a way that matches the way buyers now shop. Once buyers do come to you, you need to be able to bring value to the table. You need to go above and beyond when it comes to providing valuable advice and content because your buyers will be more knowledgeable and informed than ever before. You need to give them information they can’t find anywhere else, you need to offer brilliant new ideas they haven’t thought of, and you need to give a new perspective. Otherwise, why would they come to you? When you focus on being a valuable resource, you’ll win over your prospects.


2. The Skill of Collaboration
Collaboration isn’t most sales people’s strong suit. They’re used to working alone and being in control. If this sounds like you, you’re probably hindering your chances of making the sale because you don’t play well with others.

Buyers now want to be an active part of the purchasing process. They don’t want you to tell them what to buy. They want to work with you to find the best solutions, so you need to start playing nice and work with them to co-create value.


3. The Skill of Communication
In just about any field, communication is an important skill to have. But in sales it’s one of the most critical selling skills that you must perfect in order to close deals. You need to be able to write persuasive sales copy, emails, and presentations. You need to be able to paint a picture that your prospects can visualize. You need to be able to communicate emotions and to share ideas in a believable and clear way. This is how you’ll close sales.

 
4. The Skill of Active Listening
Of course, you hear things each moment of every day, but that doesn’t mean that you’re actually listening. Active listening is a selling skill that many sales people take for granted. But buyers want to be heard—and I mean really be heard. They want to know they’re the priority in the sales process, as are their needs, wants, and challenges. They don’t want you to talk, talk, and talk about features, benefits, and prices. They want to know that you care about their needs, and this comes from actively listening to them.


5. The Skill of Empathy
In the past, aggressive and persuasive sales tactics worked fairly well, but you shouldn’t be using them today. Buyers do not want to feel the least bit pressured into a sale. In fact, buyers are inherently distrusting of you, so you need to develop your empathy if you want to close deals. Prospects will buy from sales people they like and trust so connecting with them is critical. When you perfect empathy, you’ll be able to build trust, build relationships, and close deals. 

About the Author:
Matt-Cook-SalesHubMatthew has over 20 years of sales and sales management experience. He is the founder of SalesHub, an inbound marketing agency that helps companies generate leads, boost revenue, and adapt to the new way customers buy. When he’s not helping companies improve their revenue, he trains and competes in half ironman distance triathlons to “relax”.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.
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