Sales success is an ongoing journey. You can never rest on your laurels or get complacent if you want to stay ahead of the pack. Even if you are at the top of your game right now, you should never stop developing and improving these important selling skills:
Prospecting is one of the vital selling skills that will continue to change immensely in the near future. With the rise of social media, AI and big data, prospecting today has transformed from what it was 10 years ago. 10 years into the future - who knows? To stay on top of things, keep improving your research tactics and incorporate social networks and AI to help you qualify leads and learn more about potential customers. Develop your ability to bypass gatekeepers to get to decision makers and continually work on your evaluation skills to get better at knowing whether you’re pursuing a dead-end.
Active Listening Skills
Really, truly listening is hard. It’s not just that listening is a skill that takes time to hone; there are also a million reasons why you can quickly get thrown off your listening game. Preoccupation with other things, trying to anticipate where the client is heading, thinking of a response to name but a few. Keep improving your selling skills by challenging yourself to stay focused and in the present moment every time you are in conversation. Paraphrase a customer’s response and seek clarification with another question to keep improving your listening throughout the conversation.
Listening is all well and good, but without the right questions to elicit the information you need, you’ll not get very far. Having a good stock of exploratory questions is a great start, but keep improving your questioning skills by updating your questions based on prospect research and tailor them to the context and progress of the buyer’s journey.
While you may consider yourself to be an A+ presenter, presentations and presentation techniques can get tired and boring pretty quickly if you don’t keep them fresh. Keep improving your presenting skills by always tailoring your pitch and presentation to the client and their specific problem. Personalisation is key. Use different presentation techniques to appeal to different personality types. Keep your presentation tools up to date - incorporate fresh images, video, animation, and different technologies to keep things engaging and exciting.
Negotiation and persuasion are integral selling skills. If you are wise, you’ll continue to develop and hone these throughout your career. To negotiate successfully takes a great deal of preparation and research - you want to have all the cards on the table and no surprises. You need to know what competitors are offering so you can put forward a win-win situation for you and your client. Objection handling is another important negotiating skill, come to the table prepared to quell any objections with well thought out responses. But importantly for negotiation success, you need to have set yourself boundaries ahead of time: what are you willing to sacrifice to get the deal and what is non-negotiable? You’ll need to have the confidence to stand your grant on your non-negotiables while leaving yourself room to be flexible on the areas where you’re willing to concede. Developing nerves of steel for negotiations takes time and practice so keep working at it.
Time Management Skills
Will there ever be enough hours in the day to get all your sales work done? Probably not. That’s why always working on and improving your time management skills is a must. Learn to prioritize and get organize. Set deadlines against your to do list. Keep on top of admin, don’t let things build up and up. Staying focused is difficult with so many competing demands so learn to take a break if you are not being effective at the task at hand. Procrastination is another productivity killer - don’t fall into the trap. Keep improving your time management techniques so you can make every minute count towards your sales goals.
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