Essential selling skills to master whether you are starting out on your sales career, maybe you have just completed your onboarding sales training or you are already an experienced salesperson in reaching out to customers. Hopefully this list of essential selling skills will make you feel more confident in all aspects of selling to customers.
In this article, we’ll focus on some practical and essential selling skills to include in your sales tool bag to act as points of reference in your sales activity.
Essential Selling Skills from Theory to Practice
OK, firstly we all know that it’s essential for you to develop a whole range of selling skills in order to do your job successfully. A lot of sales training programs fail to engage salespeople due to outdated methodologies or delivery channels. Sitting through lengthy presentations or reading outdated training materials will probably not help you in completing every day-to-day sales tasks. To be effective, you need to acquire selling skills that focus on the actual activities you do and can easily relate to as you go about selling.
Additionally, as you go about learning and acquiring more knowledge on the essential selling skills, research shows it’s best to do this in bite-sized sessions or micro learning.
You can begin by listing out all the skills you need in your current sales role. Prioritize the areas or sales stage where you may have a gap. Then break them out into manageable chunks so that they are easy for you to learn and implement in your role. For instance, instead of reading up on your sales playbook for an hour, think about dividing your learning into shorter, five to ten minute video lessons or modules. These will be much easier to absorb with the added benefit of fitting into your daily schedule.
Selling Skills to Consider.
Any sales training topic you wish to focus on should be related to your own goals and the selling skills gap you have identified.
For the more inexperienced salesperson amongst us, you may want to brush up on the basic selling skills such as discovery questioning, value propositions etc. Then, you can go about learning the more advanced sales skills such as negotiation skills, presentation skills etc. You could even list out different skills based on the type of customer you interact with, inbound v outbound or map your selling skills to your companies sales process.
Here are the most essential selling skills and topics you should consider adding to your knowledge base:
Sales techniques to close sales: When it comes to the stage where you are closing a sale, remember that is more than just selling products or services. Every sale has to be personalized, you need to build trust along the way, understand their needs, be a credible provider of information and provide solutions that solves their pain points. Closing a sale is a process, not an event. Here are some closing essential selling skills to help you win over more customers.
Solution selling: Successful salespeople provide insights and compelling perspectives on their customer’s challenges and critically how to successfully deal with those challenges. This requires you to put the buyer first, have meaningful business conversations and become a trusted advisor who solves business issues.
It means understanding all your customers’ needs, values, and priorities. Then, you present customized solutions that relieves all their pain points. To close effectively, you need to be both a market and product expert. You need to have a deep understanding of all your products FAB (features, advantages, benefits). This will help you to navigate how your product or service works, provide proof, and paint the future picture of how it will benefit the customer personally and the business.
Selling skills are critical when you have to decide whether your product or service is a good fit for the customer. You can only sell to a customer who is receptive to your approach based on their own internal challenges. You cannot sell to everyone so learn when to walk away. The skill is to master how to identify if the customer has pain points and challenges that they are open to discussing. Then and only then can you demonstrate how your product or service can address their challenges.
Upselling and cross-selling: When it comes to existing customers, some essential selling skills will include the ability to upsell and cross-sell. These sales skills involve offering additional benefits that complement the customer’s existing situation. To generate revenue, remember that the decision by a customer to invest more money is much easier than the decision they made on investing in the initial purchase.
The reason upselling and cross-selling is so valuable in the sales strategy is because they maximize the potential of each and every phone call. Up-selling involves using your sales skills to present the customer with a recommendation for another product or service. Cross-selling is a sales technique where you will offer to present a related product or service alongside the one the customer is already using. Both techniques will have to be mastered as they not only provide additional revenue and sales for you.
Sense of urgency: Creating a sense of urgency has to be genuine and not some false panic sales tactic. The customer must feel the need to make a purchasing decision because the pain and challenges you have gotten them to accept, cannot be tolerated much longer. If the pain acceptance is missing, then it’s doubtful any urgent sales tactics will work. If executed correctly, the customer will be motivated into action, now you can layer a sense of urgency on top of the pain. The urgency could be time based, offer based, implementation based or even FOMO (fear of missing out) on the opportunity presented.
Account-based selling: With these essential selling skills, you prioritize higher value, targeted accounts that match your company’s ICP (ideal customer profile). Account based selling involves you conducting deeper levels of research into markets, profiles, news, industry, and key decision makers. Then you will create a tailored sales plan for that account. This approach demands that you have deeper engagement, understand how to build relationships with key people, and navigate your way across departments to get consensus on selecting your proposal.
Communication skills for successful selling.
Communication is one of your soft essential selling skills. The skill is to be able to articulate your insights, understanding, and ideas, clearly and concisely. This is critical to sales success. The ability to ask the right type of questions is central to uncovering your customer needs and guiding the sales conversation. It begins with active listening to allow you to focus on related open-ended questions that encourages your customers to share their challenges, goals, and desired future state.
Excellence in communication also requires you to avoid using jargon or technical terms that your customer may not understand. Instead, practise how you will communicate in simple language that conveys the value and benefits of your offering. Focus on crafting a compelling value proposition that highlights the unique selling points of your product or service.
Active listening: Active listening is an essential selling skill for effective communication. It involves you fully engaging with the customer, paying close attention to both their verbal and non-verbal language. Plus, you must also demonstrate your genuine interest in their needs and concerns. The skill of active listening is the ability to gather valuable information to help you tailor your sales approach and pinpoint their pain points. Over time you will master how to filter information, recap on important details, and then use them in future interactions with your customers.
Empathy: Empathy in sales is your ability to accurately put yourself in the customers shoes in order to understand their situation, values, and needs from their point of view. Then have the skill to communicate that information back to the customer and get their agreement that you have understood them correctly. Learn how to nod your head while they talk to show you are completely engaged in the discussion. How to use the appropriate tone of voice while speaking and consistently reflect your customers points with the right mix of words and language. Empathy is another on the list of soft essential selling skills for you to have as a successful salesperson.
The power of persuasion in sales
The power of persuasion in sales helps to unlock real conversations and trigger a customer to listen and learn more. Each customer has their own perspectives and biases when deciding if they should listen to you. Persuasion is about getting the time and space for you to understand and address their concerns. You will master when to introduce tools such as white papers, references, social proof, and research to assist in keeping their attention. Also, you will position yourself as an expert in your field, in order to build trust and influence their decisions.
Negotiation skills for successful selling
Negotiation is a critical selling skill for successful salespeople. The best sales negotiation skills don’t rely on you manipulating the customer, but you instead learn to focus on the right principles and behaviors that drive successful sales conversations and lead to win-win results. The goal of your sales negotiation is to find creative solutions that result in positive outcomes for all parties, everyone achieves their desired end result and feels good about it.
Prepare to negotiate. To be an effective sales negotiator requires preparation. This involves you communicating to your customer on how they can satisfy their needs, what needs to be agreed, having clear objectives, overcoming objections. Plus, what is and what is not up for negotiation.
Sales mindset: To master sales negotiation always involves finding a common ground on price, options, delivery, implementation, and contract terms that is agreeable to both parties. By approaching negotiation with an open minded sales mindset, you will build strong relationships with more customers and enjoy your sales role even more.
So, there are a list of essential selling skills for you to ponder, research further or maybe even go on your own learn journey. You can watch some free sales training videos here.