Are you a good salesperson? Do you have solid sales skills? Most people answer this question with a shake of their head, NO. For most people sales seems tough. Each encounter is different from the last. You don’t know what’s going on in their mind and it often feels like every word you utter can make or break the deal.
Yet, some people seem like naturals, right? Every prospect they encounter becomes a customer. Why? Were they born with those sales skills? Is it genetic? No, of course not.
While some people do naturally possess some skills that can make them an excellent salesperson, like listening skills, everything that you need to do to become the salesperson you want to be can be learned.
So what are some of the sales skills required to be successful?
Most certainly you need to have some of the fundamental business skills, including;
- Deep knowledge of your product, including product strengths and weaknesses.
- Intimate understanding of your target audience, including their buying cycle.
- Knowledge of your customer base and their experience, successes, and struggles with your product or service.
These are, as you can see, skills and knowledge that you can learn. But what about the other sales skills? Can you learn those, or do you have to be born with them?
Listening skills are one of the most critical skills for effective and successful sales. And while it may be difficult to shift how you approach a sales conversation, from talking to listening, this is absolutely a skill that can be learned. You can start practicing in your personal relationships. Practice being very present with others that you talk to. Stop and pay attention. Are you so busy thinking about what you are going to say next that you are not hearing what they say?
Good listening skills lead to the second sales skill that can be learned, which is how to ask the right questions at the right time. Have you ever asked a question in a conversation and it had just been answered or maybe you’d already asked it earlier? If this has happened, it’s a sign that your listening skills need improvement. Learn to pay attention to what the person is saying, then learning to ask the right questions and dig deeper into their needs and goals becomes much easier. My favorite questions are “Can you tell me more about that?” and “What would it look like if…..”.
I’m a firm believer that learning to manage objections comes from a few key skills. The first is to know your product and audience deeply. The second is to practice managing objections. Practice in front of the mirror. Practice with your kids, friends, and family. Get comfortable talking someone through their objections rather than defending the product or convincing them to buy.
The bottom line is that “good sales” requires good communication skills along with exceptional knowledge of your product or service. All of these sales skills can be learned. And learning often comes not just from educating yourself but also from implementation and practice.