Learning is a life-long process; there are few selling skills that don’t require upkeep in the sales industry, but there are five in particular that are vital for you to develop over the length of your career. Here are the five selling skills that you need to continue to work on in order to excel at your job.
1. Presentation Skills
Being able to present the product or service you’re selling in the best light possible is a skill you’ll always need if you’re going to make it in sales, and one you should be working to develop throughout your career. Great presentation skills don’t just mean that you have a winning pitch; it means knowing how to tailor your pitch to the medium, the audience, and the context.
Finding leads and making pitches is increasingly happening over social media—your presentation skills need to be able to adapt to different platforms. Even without the variety of platforms we now use in sales, the spectrum of client needs and concerns that are represented by your customer base all need to be reflected in the presentation you deliver.
2. Time-Management Skills
The more familiar you are with the day-to-day work patterns, the easier it is to get settled into a set of habits that aren’t always conducive to making the most out of your day. Time-management will always be a huge part of your job if you’re working in sales, meaning that it’s something you need to commit to improving continually.
The best sales reps are continually working to ensure that they’re making the very best use of their time, limiting distractions, and performing at their very highest level. That means that time-management is one of those selling skills that’s here to stay.
3. Researching Skills
As the sales industry continues to shift towards a warmer approach to sales, researching skills are increasingly becoming crucial selling skills. Whereas a decade ago, cold calling was the norm, the industry has slowly realized that cold calling is not nearly as efficient as some of the alternative strategies that have emerged in recent years. Warm calling, and warm selling, are increasingly popular as the industry realizes that building on prior connections is one of the best ways to close a deal. This means knowing how to research leads before contacting them, and polishing your research skills as the industry continues to change.
4. Negotiation Skills
Preparation is key to coming out of a negotiation unscathed. With more information than ever available to customers, you’re going to confront an increasing amount of desire for negotiation. Most customers you speak to have shopped around; they know who your competitors are and they know what they’re offering. An essential set of selling skills includes the ability to negotiate effectively, without making any unneeded concessions. This also means learning to keep up with your customers so you’re always able to meet them at the negotiation table completely prepared.
5. Persuasive Skills
The art of persuasion is one of the most crucial tools in the sales person’s tool belt. The ability to persuade someone effectively can be the difference between closing a sale and not closing a sale. However, being persuasive is a tricky thing. It’s not the sort of skill you can pick up right off the bat, nor the kind of skill that you only need to learn in order to have it mastered. Truly mastering the art of persuasion takes career-long commitment to developing your skill set and learning to adapt as necessary. It’s one of the most essential skills you need, but it’s also one that will take continual development over the course of your career.
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