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selling skillsAt the heart of every business is the need to have a strong focus on your customers. This builds the relationships you need for long term success as well as allowing you to maximize your sales. The key to this is being able to deliver an effective sales presentation, which you can learn more about in this course. The biggest mistake you can make as a sales rep is trying to close the sale too fast, without first convincing the customer they have a need for your product!

When you decide you need to focus more on your customers, these tips will help you build your core skills that will help you close deals, secure more business and stay ahead of the competition.

1. Understanding the customer

The first skill to master is an understanding of the buyer. This is more than just knowing who the potential buyer is, you need to deeply understand what experience the customer is looking for when they are wanting to make a purchase. It’s your job as a sales person to discover what expectations the customer has, and then exceed them.

2. Being customer responsive

After you understand what your customer is looking for, you can provide them with exactly what they are looking for, when they actually want it. Make it easy for them to make the purchase decision, easy to set up, and easy to use and the products will be flying off the shelf. You won’t be able to make a sale unless you can ask the right questions, and find out what customers really need, not just what they say they want. Often it’s not one and the same.

3. Engaging the buyers

There are a number of different techniques you can use to effectively engage the buyer. One of the best ways to start is to make sure your customer knows that you won’t be taking too much of their time. This makes them more open to hearing what you have to say, when they know how long you’re planning to say it for. You can learn more of the techniques to engage your customers in this course on creating high value sales.

4. Establishing a sense of trust

Customers like to trust the companies that they are doing business with, and they definitely have to trust the salespeople they are buying from. One of your core skills as a sales person is being able to establish trust quickly with your customers, which is done by helping them and providing what they want, as well as understanding what it is the are looking for.

5. Being concise in your communications

The average customer today has little time, as they are bombarded with emails, calls and a barrage of information and marketing throughout every minute of the day. A critical skill to be effective in sales is developing an ability to be concise, and to be succinct in your communications. It’s no longer the day of the smooth talking salesperson, customers today value your ability to present information. As a tip, you should never try to communicate more than three single points in a message to your buyer.

6. Listening to your customer

This is critical, and much more so than just asking the right questions. You can’t just shut your mouth when a customer is talking, you need to actually hear and analyze what they’re saying. Many of the best sales reps are also good listeners, and they only take actions based on what their customers are telling them. It’s not good enough to simply listen, you need to internalize what is being said and actually do something about it. That’s when you can really be of service, and that’s when you make sales.

7. Being subject matter experts

The best sales people today are subject matter experts in both understanding their buyer, and knowing their own product benefits inside and out. This allows a good salesperson to tailor what they are saying to exactly fit the customer’s needs.

8. Helping, not closing

Customers today aren’t looking for a hard sell, they are looking for help. As a salesperson you should always be helping your customers, which requires a large mindset shift from traditional sales. Many often struggle with this point, but if you can remember it every time you interact with a customer, you’ll build a basis of trust, which will help close your deals for you.

9. Being a storyteller

Customers today don’t want to sit and listen to your pitch. They also don’t want to hear endless details of the benefits your product or service gives. Good sales reps understand this, and they weave the facts of their product into a larger story that has a distinct end. If a customer is looking to buy a phone system, they don’t really want the physical phones. What they want to do is grow their business, and they simply recognize that a phone is one method with which they can reach a wider audience. Find out how to sell the benefits of your products with stories, and you’ll close many more deals.

10. Knowing how to write good copy

It’s critical that your sales reps can write good copy. This is absolutely a must for every sales, considering the amount of communication done over email and social media today. Remember that the less you write, the better – because you always want your communication to be short and sweet. Generic sales letters are a thing of the past, and as much as you can tailor every message you send to your clients. Bullet points do wonders in helping customers digest information rapidly, and don’t forget to always have a call to action as your closing point.

11. Getting on the phone

There is much less focus today on face to face meetings, and while they still play a part the teleconference is now a much more common method of sales meeting. Because of this, sales reps need to be very effective on the phone, able to read peoples tone, stay in touch with the cadence of the call, and determine if a prospect is satisfied. This course is excellent as it coaches sales reps through the process of mastering the cold call, and you’ll learn all of the techniques to do so.

12. Getting social

Social selling is a major phenomenon today, and good sales reps are also building strong followings on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a range of other social sites. This isn’t simply sporadic tweets, but really engaging with your target market and getting to know them. The best sales reps bring groups of their followers together to interact in real life, and get’s to know them – not hard selling. If you’re interested to learn more, this course covers many of the best tips of managing customers on social media .

13. Tailoring your approach

When customers interact with a sales rep, they want to build context. They’re not after a generic sales pitch, they want you to deliver a message that is specifically tailored to them. This builds on all of the needs they’ve told you previously, and describes the specific solution for the customer. One way you can build on this is to use specific customer demographics. You simply pick examples for your sales storytelling that the buyers can relate to, or reference personal and professional events the customer values to personalize your interaction.

14. Marketing and process selling

There is much a sales rep can learn from the marketing team. One of the most important skills you can learn is how to advance your customers through the buying cycle. There are campaign structures you can follow that greatly assist how traditional sales activities like prospecting are bring done. This course covers everything you need to know when you’re just getting started and looking for your first lead.

15. Walking your customer through each step

With the barrage of interaction every customer is getting every day, they now have far less attention to spare to you and your products. It is no longer good enough to get an agreement on next steps, you actually need to help the customer to actually achieve them. Sometimes you need to go above and beyond to give your contact point the information they need to get the go-ahead within their own organization.

16. Taking advantage of technology

The sales cycle is getting shorter and shorter, with technology fuelling the increased speed. Using productivity and customer resource management tools, sales reps that make use of the available technology have a significant advantage over the competition, because they can use their free time to devote to selling.

17. Tying every activity back to the sales quota

It’s not a magic bullet at the end of the month that allows the best sales reps to achieve their targets, the star sales reps are the ones that make sure every action they take throughout the day is setting them up to achieve their targets. This is a skill that is usually best learnt over time, as you will get a feeling of how many calls will result in meetings, and how many meetings convert into sales. For new sales reps, if you measure every action that you take, you’ll be able to “get a feel” for it much faster, as you back up your gut with hard evidence.

18. Managing your sales pipeline

You need to build a balance within all of the opportunities in your pipeline, spending time on all of them because some will result in a closed deal, while others will not. You need to take a measures approach in evaluating the performance of each activity, and always have a helicopter view of their entire pipelines aggregate performance. The best sales reps will also be able to give you a rough indication of their pipelines expected performance at any time. To learn more about this, check out this recent post on making the most of your sales pipeline.

19. Asking for a commitment

When you follow all of these selling skills, it becomes completely pointless if they all never result in a sale. Don’t forget the absolute critical question you need to ask, and that is to simply ask the customer for their business. Without you throwing that out there, the sale will never happen, so make sure you spend the time and learn how to ask.

Sales today is much more complex than traditional sales, with customers demanding faster responses, and many more channels with which they need to be convinced your products and services are right for them. This makes sales reps today busier than ever, but master these skills and you’ll be miles ahead of your competition. Why wait to start your journey to sales success?

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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