Selling skills for new salespeople usually have some differentiators from the sales skills that a more experienced salesperson has due to learning about the sales process and understanding all the steps in the sale alongside product knowledge. Selling today can range from the uncomplicated to the deeply complex. Regardless, selling to mainly well informed modern buyers requires a range of selling skills. The successful salespeople today are agile, competent, and knowledgeable with a deep understanding of their customers’ needs. These salespeople can work quickly to identify and suggest solutions that meets customer’s needs, solutions that sets them apart from the competition. In this article, we’ll explore the key selling skills for new salespeople will need to acquire in order to succeed.
Salespeople are not commodities, they should be product experts, ambassadors for the companies solutions. Customers (that includes us all) love dealing with an expert, someone who is knowledgeable, can answer our questions and is believable. So, product knowledge is at the core of any successful sales conversation. When it comes to selling skills for new salespeople, they must have a deep understanding of their product’s FAB – features, advantages, and benefits. Plus, any limitations compared to a competitor. They should be able to communicate the value proposition of their product to potential customers in a way that is easy to understand and relatable.
In addition, salespeople should be able to demonstrate the product’s functionality and answer most (not all!!) technical questions that potential customers may have. Deeper technical questions is an opportunity for a company to show its depth in resources by bringing other internal people into the sales process. They should also be able to speak to the product’s positioning within the market and how it differs from other alternative solutions.
2. Understanding Customer Challenges
Buyers want a personalized buying journey, so salespeople must have a deep understanding of the customer’s needs and pain points. They should be able to identify the specific challenges that potential customers are facing within their market and personalize their conversations to address those challenges.
Customers have problems that they need to solve, and it’s up to salespeople to figure out what that problem is and how their product can help them solve it.
When we understand the customer’s pain points, we can tailor your pitch to focus on how our product can solve those specific problems. This makes the salespersons pitch more relevant and valuable to the customer, increasing the likelihood that they’ll be interested in the product and ultimately make a purchase.
To do this, the salesperson needs to ask the right questions and actively listen to the customer’s responses. They should also be able to speak to the customer’s industry and how their product can help solve common problems in that industry. They must show the customer that they are listening to their concerns, understanding their business goals, and identifying how the product can help them achieve those goals. To do this effectively, salespeople need to have the selling skills and the sales training guide to ask well thought out discovery questions that encourage the customer to talk about their challenges and goals. For example, they might ask:
• What challenges are you currently facing in your business or market?
• How do you measure the success of your current processes?
• What are your top 5 priorities for the next year?
Asking these types of questions not only helps understand the customer’s needs but also builds trust and rapport with them.
3. Communication Skills
Effective communication is critical in selling skills for new salespeople or indeed any selling motion. Salespeople must be able to explain benefits and outcomes in a way that is easy to understand. They should be able to adapt their communication style to the needs of each individual customer and be comfortable with different communication channels, such as email, phone, and video calls.
In addition, new salespeople should be skilled at building relationships with potential customers. They should be personable, likable, and able to establish rapport, credibility, and rapport quickly.
4. Communicate the Value Proposition
Every salesperson has to be trained on how to expertly communicate the value proposition not just of the product or service they are selling but also the value proposition of the company itself. This means explaining how the company alongside the product solves the customer’s specific challenges, moves them away from their current position and helps them achieve their goals.
To communicate a value proposition effectively, it’s important to focus on the outcomes, results and then the benefits of the product before talking about advantages or features. For example, instead of saying “Our product has a powerful reporting feature,” a salesperson can say “Our product helps to make data-driven decisions by providing real time, powerful insights and reports.”
Another effective technique for communicating the value proposition is to use case studies and testimonials from other customers who have achieved success with the product or service.
5. Time Management
Selling anything in today’s environment can be a time-consuming process. Selling skills for new salespeople should show them how to prioritize and manage their tasks effectively. They should be able to identify the most promising opportunities and focus their efforts on those. They should segment their time into chunks and assign various tasks within those time slots. In addition, they should be able to use tools like customer relationship management (CRM) software to track their progress and prioritize their tasks.
More Selling Skills for New Salespeople
6. Persistence in Effort
Selling requires persistence. Salespeople need to stay the course and follow up with potential customers multiple times in order to close a deal. They should get comfortable with being uncomfortable, be able to handle rejection and stay motivated even when faced with a difficult sales cycle. To be successful, they should be persistent but never aggressive. They should be able to understand the customer’s signals and adjust their approach as needed.
7. Sales Teamwork
No person is an island. Selling in the digital age is a team effort. Every new salesperson will need to work closely with sales training, sales enablement, marketing, the product team, and customer success teams. This ensures they know about the market; the problems they solve and really understand the solutions they will propose to their customers. Also, a salesperson should be able to work effectively with other members of their sales team. They should be willing to share their experience, what works, doesn’t work, best practices, provide feedback, and support their colleagues.
8. Thinking outside the box
Buyers want personalized experiences, so selling skills for new salespeople must also coach them to be able to think outside the box. They should be able to identify opportunities for engagement, bring something new or different to the customer by way of insights or data. Then develop plans to capitalize on those opportunities.
To do this, they should be familiar with the market, industries they serve, the competitive landscape and be able to identify trends in their customers markets. They should also be able to analyze data points and use it to inform their sales tactics.
Every modern salesperson needs to be adaptable to the ever changing landscape of buying and selling. They should be able to adjust their sales approach to fit the needs of each individual buyer. They should also be able to change quickly if their sales tactics are not working.
In addition, selling skills for SaaS salespeople has to include them being trained to be comfortable with change. In today’s competitive marketplace, being flexible and adaptable are crucial traits for the success of any salesperson. This is particularly true when selling a product in a competitive market and requires time investment from potential customers to explore if a product fit exists. Salespeople must be able to respond quickly and be able to navigate around objections and even internal buyer roadblocks.
10. Relationship Building
Very few sales are made in an instant. In an increasingly commoditized world, the last major competitive advantage may just be the ability of a salesperson to build relationships and credibility. Building relationships is about putting the customer first, seek to understand before any sales pitch. Now more than ever, harnessing relationships is crucial because it can lead to long-term partnerships and repeat business. To build those relationships, it’s important to be credible, believable, useful, and open with customers.
This means responding in a timely manner to customer requests for information, providing neutral information, giving them insightful data, getting them to feel something as opposed to just knowing. It also means providing real customer support and being transparent about any limitations or challenges with the product. The modern buyer wants to engage with salespeople who are proactive in identifying and addressing any issues that may arise.
In addition, building relationships with customers also involves salespeople establishing themselves as experts, someone who knows their industry and challenges. This can be done through sharing whitepapers or content, posting useful market insights or commentary plus participating (not selling) on social media groups in LinkedIn.
11. Building Rapport
The foundation to opening real sales conversations rests upon the ability of a salesperson to build rapport. When salespeople builds rapport, they establish a common connection with the customer, which makes them more likely to trust them and the product. This can be done in a number of ways, such as finding common ground around schools, college, interests, mutual connections etc. Also, via research into the customers company or news. Also, never forget that smiling, open attitude, being friendly and honest can fast track rapport.
Building rapport also involves active listening to what the customer is saying and how they are saying it. Salespeople should put aside their agenda and really pay attention to what the customer is saying and responding in a way that acknowledges they understand and care about their needs. Building rapport with customers creates a positive environment that unlocks the door to deeper meaningful sales conversations.
12. Handling Sales Objections
Sales objections are and always will be a natural part of the sales process. Salespeople need to be comfortable with this fact. Objections can be a request for clarity, concerns about change, misunderstanding or a challenge to prove we are the right solution for the customer. So, if they are always present in the sales process, salespeople need to come prepared to understand them and answer them confidently.
The key to handling objections is to firstly acknowledge them, check understanding of the customer’s concerns and then address them competently (also important to be prepared with data or other evidence that supports the product’s value and addresses common objections).
Learn the sales skill of reframing objections as questions and providing thoughtful, controlled, and credible responses. For example, a customer says, “this product is too expensive,” a salesperson could respond by saying “I understand that pricing and value is a concern for you. Can you tell me more about what you’re looking for when considering pricing to value?” This not only shows that the salesperson is listening to the customer’s concerns but also gives them an opportunity to explain the value of their product and the pricing model.
13. Closing the Sale
Closing the sale is a process and not an event. Selling skills for new salespeople should train them to view closing the sale as confirmation of the completing the journey both they and the customer have travelled together. So, it is crucial to have a clear and effective method of recounting the commitments the customer has given along the way, to where things stand now.
Any sale can fail if the salesperson does not match the customers problem or situation with a credible solution where the future state is a better one than where they are now. It is rare for a buyer to make the suggestion to finish a deal. Again, it is worth noting that closing is a continuous process throughout the sale, and salespeople must be prepared to try and close a deal more than once, most preferably several times. The first closing attempt activates both the salesperson and the customer to negotiation mode. If the buyer has agreed that a need really exists, their guard is lower, and this is a perfect time to secure strong commitments towards buying the solution.
Words create powerful images that influence thinking. Connotation is king. The word “close” for example, means to obstruct an opening or entrance, to shut out, block, or hinder access. Also, a closed mind blocks new ideas. To “confirm” means to verify, establish the certainty of something; to strengthen, or make binding by way of a formal agreement. Which would salespeople rather do?
Strengthen the certainty of the relationship and bind together in a formal agreement, or block access, not only for the buyer prospect but their mind as well?
14. Change is What causes Buying.
The basic rule of selling is that customers do not buy products; they buy the future, the outcomes and then the benefits. Sales is about getting someone else to take action.
“Teach customers something new and compelling and provide reasons for them to act.”
“Customers are most likely to rethink their current course or reset pre-established buying criteria only when given a reason to change,”. Change is what causes Buying. To improve selling opportunities, salespeople need to understand the buyer, their pain, what they want to gain and then they need to add value to open up the buyer to change. Selling today is all about recognizing the true motivations of buyers and aligning sales presentations and solutions to match their needs and desires. We believe selling is about a fair exchange of value. Selling is about creating a fair exchange of value between buyer and seller.
Selling is about forging healthy, viable relationships and recognizing these relationships do not remain static and unchanged. They are designed to be stress-tested, to grow and change; they thrive on trust, openness and honesty and result in new ideas and shared common ground on which to build better outcomes together. Psychology tells us that people don’t like making tough decisions, so we need to make buying easier.
To implement a customer winning approach, salespeople should demonstrate these three behaviors:
- Provide customers with a unique perspective on their business!
- Offer customers a vision of improvement for their business!
- Explain the potential ROI of taking action on an improvement opportunity!
15. Stay Connected
Keeping in touch and staying connected to existing customers and lost customers is an often-overlooked part of selling. Most sales happen because of trigger events (change of role, change of situation, old technology, breakdown in relationship to existing supplier, internal disruption, financial loss etc), so staying connected to as many people as possible will eventually open up opportunities as they arise.
So, there we have our 15 sales tips on selling skills for new salespeople. Click here for free sales training videos