Selling is a necessary element of doing business. You need to learn practical selling skills to bring in the cash. Although some people are born with excellent sales skills, most of us need to learn them from school, training, experience, and coaching.
Today, making a successful sale doesn't only happen through direct selling, in-store, and phone calls, but it also happens through social media, email, mobile, and your website.
Although some are still very traditional, many salespeople are using online resources to meet customer expectations and reach their sales goals.
Now, regardless of what channel you pick to make a sale, it's vital to have sales skills to meet your sales goals.
With that said, I've listed 20 must-have sales skills to help your prospects say "YES!" to working with you.
Here we go!
Most people think ‘selling’ is the same as ‘talking.’ But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job. - Roy Bartell
An effective salesperson is a good listener as much as a good talker.
Active listening is more than just hearing what a client is saying. It's about:
Active listening is what drives a sales conversation to the right conclusion. It requires a strict focus and the ability to ask intelligent follow-up questions.
Here are a few tips to become an active listener:
We can all agree that a person who knows how to listen actively is more likable, more trustworthy, and easier to build a relationship with - both personal and professional.
Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place. - Daniel H. Pink
Empathy is one of the many sales skills that some sales trainers forget to teach. It is about understanding or feeling the experiences of clients from their perspective.
Empathy answers questions like:
When you empathize with your clients, then you build real trust and connection with them. Empathy allows you to bond with your clients while understanding their unique challenges, perspectives, and experiences.
Here are a few simple and doable tips on how to empathize with a potential client:
Relationships feed on credibility, honesty, and consistency. - Scott Borchetta
When many people think about salespeople, credibility and sales usually don’t go together.
It's a hard pill to swallow, but some salespeople are only after making a sale and throw credibility out the window.
If you are new to this industry, never neglect credibility for the sake of making money. Here are a few tips on how to establish credibility during a sales conversation:
Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life. - Brian Tracy
Excellent communication is more than just talking to a client during a sales presentation.
It’s about learning how to communicate more effectively with clients or customers who have different communication styles than you.
Excellent communication leads to more prospects, more productive discussions, and more SALES!
Here are a few secrets to excellent communication:
You may delay, but time will not. - Benjamin Franklin
If you've been a sales rep for a long time, then you know that every minute counts. It feels like 24 hours in each day is not enough to meet your sales goals.
Time is money, and a minute wasted in sales means lost opportunities - and lost revenue.
Here are some time management tips for salespeople who want to get more things done in less time:
Storytelling in business is nothing new. The hard part is knowing exactly which stories we need to tell. - Cathy Salit
What do clients or customers love hearing from salespeople? Stories.
In today's sales landscape, most people see right through traditional sales tactics, and STORYTELLING IS KING!
Stories are easy to understand, engaging, and create clarity for potential customers. That's why they are such effective sales tools.
Here are a few tips on how to incorporate storytelling in your sales strategy:
Focus on the solution, not on the problem. - Jim Rohn
Excellent problem-solving skills are a requirement in any industry. If you are a small business owner or a sales rep, you need to provide solutions to problems as quickly as possible.
All great salespeople are problem solvers.
Clients are always on the hunt for people who can solve problems effectively and efficiently.
Here are a few problem-solving tips:
Knowledge is power. You can't begin a career, for that matter, even a relationship, unless you know everything there is to know about it. - Randeep Hooda
Have you ever talked to a small business owner or a sales rep who doesn't know anything about what he or she is offering?
How did the conversation go?
Expertise beats likability every time. Sure, you want to be liked by your clients, but expertise is what they want.
You need to have enough knowledge to feed your clients with the information they can use to make a very critical decision - to BUY!
The only tip I can offer in this section is to:
Research! Research! Research!
When you do your research, you become educated about:
Energy and persistence conquer all things. - Benjamin Franklin
It's not easy to close a deal or make a sale.
There are hurdles in the way of making the sale.
We're all busy bees! More often than not, we don't have the time to talk over the phone or answer emails.
With that said, you can't just give up on closing a deal. You need to be persistent to get that coveted "YES!"
Persistence in sales is a learned skill.
Here's how to be persistent in sales without annoying anybody:
When someone tells me 'no,' it doesn't mean I can't do it, it simply means I can't do it with them. - Karen E. Quinones Miller
A small business needs a determined salesperson. It needs someone who doesn't back down easily. It requires a person who will not give up when faced with problems and setbacks.
Determination, for the most part, is a crucial ingredient in making a successful sale.
Here are a few tips on how to be more determined in sales:
There is nothing permanent except change. - Heraclitus
As a business owner, I see stuff change all the time. Change is tough; that's why running a small business is hard because things are continually changing.
When your sales team is losing heat, close rates are dropping, and when your sales lead pipeline is empty, change has to happen.
However, even the best people sometimes resist change because they don't want to “rock the boat” when it comes to their daily routine.
Being open to change is essential because it helps improve selling techniques and encourages professional growth.
Here are simple tips to be open to change:
The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail. - Charles R Swindoll
Salespeople are a lot of things. They're great communicators, hustlers, and persuasive to mention a few.
Although there's one essential sales skill that a salesperson must possess and that's being detail-oriented.
Great attention to detail lets you:
Here are a few tips to become a more detail-oriented salesperson:
For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned. - Benjamin Franklin
It's hard to stay focused when you have so much on your plate. In sales, we think about quotas, deadlines, meetings, clients, and so much more.
It's overwhelming, which makes people forget things.
The answer is to organize bits and pieces of your sales tasks.
If you want to succeed in sales, use these tips to help organize your sales life:
The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively. - Bob Marley
In business or life in general, integrity is a must. It is more important in sales because customers see integrity in everything we do.
Integrity in selling is pretty simple to me; you always do what is in the clients best interest even if it's not in yours.
Here are three simple steps on how to sell with integrity:
You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. - Stephen King
By this time, you already know that the sales world is imperfect and can seem tough and uninviting at times. It can also be very discouraging.
What you need to keep your head up in the face of adversity is a positive mindset.
A positive mindset is a state of mind that focuses on the bright side, anticipates positive results, and deals with challenges in business, or life in general, with a positive outlook.
Having a positive mindset is essential in our day-to-day business operation. It can help bring better results. It can make us very happy and extremely satisfied with whatever field we choose.
Here a few tips for a positive mindset:
Have confidence that if you have done a little thing well, you can do a bigger thing well too. – David Storey
If you are not confident, you'll never be able to sell anything in your life.
Confidence is one of the most crucial selling skills to get better results. Your clients will base their decisions by how confident you are. You come across unaware, timid, and unsure if you are not self-confident.
Here are tips on how to build confidence in sales:
I think that being perceptive and having interests is nothing but an asset. - Ashley Judd
Perceptive selling is about your ability to pick up on verbal and nonverbal cues. Some call it "reading between the lines."
Here's a three-step process on how to become better at perceptive selling:
Building trust & rapport. Trust and rapport are the heartbeat of business, the backbone of high performing teams, and the secret sauce for healthy relationships. - Susan C. Young
In sales, you need someone who can build rapport in an instant.
Why? Because building rapport puts people at ease.
However, building rapport doesn't mean talking too much or being talkative without letting the other person digest all the information.
Building rapport means building a genuine connection and trust by:
Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement, all success, all achievement in real life grows. - Ben Stein
The sales industry thrives because of relationships or connections.
A salesperson who knows how to build a strong business relationship is a keeper. Remember that!
Here are simple tips for building and maintaining strong and healthy relationships:
A good laugh makes any interview, or any conversation, so much better. - Barbara Walters
A sales conversation is just like any other conversation. We all need a good laugh to make it through.
Lighten up, and you'll make your client feel comfortable.
The right amount of humor won't hurt. Include a meme in your email or crack a joke over the phone, and you might make a client feel a lot better.
Other tips to remember:
And that's it, folks! Those are the essential sales skills you must learn today.
So what do you think about these selling skills? Are you ready to start selling more today?
Let me know in the comments section below.
If you know someone who needs to step up their sales game, feel free to SHARE this article.
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Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. At Rialto Marketing, we help take the guesswork out of marketing so your small business can grow. Marketing your business shouldn't be a constant challenge. If you are ready to eliminate the uncertainty and confusion of marketing your business, we can help.