Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

Strategy

Liam Neeson had a particularly unique set of skills in ‘Taken’ that made his services invaluable, and so should you. It’s essential you keep your sales skills up to date as sales processes continually evolve.

Here are some key skills you need to imbibe to be future-ready.

Energize Hopes, Dreams, and Goals

In the midst of chaos and uncertainty, salespeople might find the idea of goal-setting overwhelming. However, short, mid and long-term goals are more important than ever. Our hopes, dreams, and goals give us the energy to keep moving forward in the face of overwhelming odds.

Identify professional and personal long-term goals and long-term aspirations. Then draft a plan on how to achieve, documenting potential three-, five-, and ten-year milestone.  It is important to goals become small, manageable steps.  Each small goal they achieve will build their confidence and motivate them to persevere.

To help them energize their dreams, brainstorm short-term objectives that must be met in order to achieve each of the long-term goals. For example, annual goals, and 30-, 90-, and 180-day goals must also align with the company’s goals. Translate short-term goals into monthly, weekly, and daily activity plans.

Ensure they are S.M.A.R.T. goals. There are many great resources to help guide this journey.

Improve Questioning Strategies 

Asking the right questions at the right time in the right way to the right person is key to being successful during the rapidly shifting times. A salesperson who earns the reputation of being a trusted resource is able to uncover the root problem through deep discovery. Extensive questioning to understand the real need(s) of the prospect is critical to success. Don’t pitch your product or service until you know exactly what the issue is, and your prospect is assured that you have a solution. Always think in terms of long-term, win-win relationships—that is, what’s good for the company and what’s good for the client.

Differentiate Yourself and Your Offering

Providing a prospect with too much technical wizardry early in the sales process always backfires. Why? First, everyone’s doing it.  Next, the real benefits to the client will be drowned out in a fog of irrelevant information.

What’s the solution? Differentiate yourself and your offering by asking powerful questions that go as wide and deep as possible. Discuss all aspects of the prospects issues, opportunities, implications, the people they affect, and potential outcomes. When you help your prospect get clarity about the real need, you differentiate yourself as a trusted advisor and a creative problem solver.

Activate Listening Skills 

Listening well requires setting aside our egos and agendas and being vulnerable. It requires courage. The payoff for the courageous listener is abundant. Listening ensures relevance, improves cooperation, deepens relationships, and boosts pro­ductivity.

Many of us spend 80% of the time talking, promoting our point of view and only 20% of the time listening to what our prospect or client has to say. What might happen if we listen to our listening ratios? Research shows that we’re perceived as the following when the prospect/client talks 80 percent of the time:

  • More professional
  • More knowledgeable
  • More competent
  • More trustworthy
  • Smarter

Becoming a trusted resource is a competitive advantage in today’s hyper-competitive business climate. Sales professionals whom prospects and clients trust naturally differentiate them­selves from the competitors quickly.

Become Rejection Proof

Many salespeople struggle to recover from hearing the dreaded “No.” unfortunately, that word is inevitable in the world of sales. In a slow economy, the number of “No’s” might go sky-high. So, estimate the number of “no’s” that you may need to hear before getting to a “yes.”  Armed with that info, track and celebrate every single “no.”  So, “No” as a signpost telling you that you’re getting closer to your goal.

About the author

Danita Bye is a renowned Executive Leadership Coach, Harvard MBA Sales Coach, Forbes – Sales Coach. She will be speaking at The Economic Times Sales Strategy Summit.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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