There are a lot of ways to approach sales, but they all tend to rely on a common skill set. Much like sales itself, these skills are developed over time and can make or break your career. If you are planning to start your career in sales, make sure you fit the bill. These are the six essential skills which every successful salesperson possess and which you should master to stand out from the crowd:
If you have all the other skills listed below but are not confident enough, to begin with, you won’t even get the chance to prove your other skills. For selling your product to a prospect, you first need to believe in it yourself. The attitude that you can pull off anything that you put your mind on, is a trait common among all successful salespersons.
Without a consistent pool of prospects alongside, you can never expect to have a steady sales flow. The ability to find prospects effectively is highly valuable and goes beyond cold-calling. You must be creative enough to come up with different tactics like writing articles, joining associations, getting referrals etc. A successful salesperson dedicates a significant amount of her schedule to prospecting regardless of how long she has been in business.
3. Knowing your customer:
Don’t sell your product. Sell the problem you are solving. [Remember the movie RocketSingh: Salesman of the Year? :) ] Understanding the customer’s pain points is at the center of every successful business. Trying to make a sale without knowing what your customer needs is like shooting arrows in dark – if you are lucky enough, you’ll hit the target by chance. Being empathetic towards your customers is important- only when you put yourself in their shoes, you actually understand their concerns and requirements.
If you want to achieve long-term success in sales, you must be persistent. Research suggests that only 2% of deals are struck on the first contact. It pays to be persistent, literally. If you are not following up with a prospect or not making more than the third contact, you are doing it wrong. As Sakshi Malik proved by snatching an Olympic medal in the last 4 seconds of the match, you can always turn the tide in your favor if you just keep trying.
5. Effective Communication:
Sales is all about talking to people and getting them to understand what you are trying to communicate. You don’t need to be a great orator but you should know how to communicate succinctly. Not to forget, communication is a two-way path – an effective salesperson never talks at a prospect; she starts a conversation with him. Thus, listening to people is an important aspect of communication.
Tip: Join the Toastmasters club of your city for improving your communication.
The ability to negotiate with a customer and close the deal is imperative in today’s competitive market. Negotiation is built on strong interpersonal skills, your rapport with the prospect, and your decision-making ability. Being assertive, and convincing the prospect while maintaining a cordial relationship is the crux of every negotiation.
Tip : Do mock calls with your friends/seniors to practice the art of negotiation.
Now that you are aware of these essential skills, it’s time to start honing them (if you haven’t already). Start participating in debates, become a member of the sponsorship team of your college fest, start a club of your own and start adding members, interact with fellow commuters (and strangers), and build your network during fests and events in college.
Bonus read – To get an insight into different aspects of sales, you can read some great articles from successful sales professionals here.
If you can think of some important skills which we haven’t included, please tell us in comments; we would love to hear.
If you are also fascinated by sales and the corporate world, check out these awesome sales internships.