Over the past decade, there’s been a significant increase in business competition. Sales reps also report that selling is growing more challenging because customers are more informed than ever before. As a result, companies that want to remain competitive need to sharpen their selling abilities.
All this begs a key question: Which skills are most important for sellers to master? Top-ranked sales courses say the following skills are critical for business success.
When you know your product or service offering like the back of your hand, it usually means more sales. That’s because sellers who show they’re familiar with what they’re selling inspire confidence and trust. When buyers trust you, they’re more likely to be loyal and buy more often, which is critical to growing business revenues.
Studies show that loyal customers spend almost 70% more and are easier to sell to compared to new buyers.
To excel at product/service knowledge, don’t just focus on what a product or service does. Instead, think about how the features add value. You’ll also need to know how your offering differs from your competitors.
Willingness to learn
The expectations of different customers and markets are rarely static. Ongoing learning through courses or bookscan help to ensure that you have the tips and techniques to adapt. Professional learning takes dedication and effort. So, willingness to learn is a critical skill in sales.
Opportunities for career development are plenty, as a result of advances in technology. With just the click of a button you can find a ton of classes to choose from. However, while you may be spoilt for choice when it comes to online learning, it’s important to be picky.
For example, the best sales course may require a greater financial commitment, but they’re more likely to have relevant and up-to-date material. To enjoy more business success, you need to have the most current selling strategies.
Professor Theodore Levitt once said, ‘People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole’. Levitt was shining a light on the fact that people buy solutions, not products or services.
Experts say that developing empathy can help you build your problem-solving skills. Put simply, empathy is the ability to understand another’s feelings. Empathetic salespeople tend to be better listeners and are adept at critical thinking. When customers who have a problem feel heard and the issue is resolved, they feel valued. Customers who feel valued often have greater lifetime value to a company.
Objections are common when it comes to selling. Studies show that many sales professionals view objections as rejections. However, this attitude can lead to lost opportunities. As HubSpot reports, 60% of customers say ‘no’ four times before saying ‘yes’.
On the other hand, skilled salespeople understand that objections are feedback. Also, that feedback can help sellers paint a clearer picture for their buyers, which can result in more positive customer experiences. Improving customer experiences can have a strikingly positive impact on revenue.
If you find yourself struggling to overcome objections, sales negotiation courses can help you chisel your skills. For example, you can learn how to work through common objections without compromising the deal.
Effective communication skills allow salespeople to give and receive clear information. Information is akin to gold when it comes to selling. For example, information can help you uncover exactly what each customer expects. Clarity around customer expectations is at the centre of running a successful business.
Top-notch communicators have great verbal, non-verbal, written and visual skills. They also make sure to listen more than they talk. As famed literary critic George Bernard Shaw once said, ‘The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place’. So, be sure to assess where your communication weaknesses might be and focus on those to bridge any gaps.
Selling is hard work. For example, 80% of successful deals require five follow-up calls. Also, for every deal made, reps lose many others. Many of which crumble after spending notable time and effort. Without grit, quitting would be the order of the day.
Grit allows you to persevere while not losing faith in your abilities. Oftentimes, people think grit is a natural ability. However, according to professor and psychologist Angela Duckworth, grit is a learnable quality. Duckworth is the preeminent researcher on the science of perseverance.
According to the professor, building grit requires deliberate practice and a growth mindset. Deliberate practice involves extending the reach and range of your abilities. A growth mindset helps you to embrace failure as a learning opportunity, instead of a personal failing.
One key takeaway from sales courses is that selling is a numbers game. However, according to InsideSales.com, sales reps spend less than 40% of their time selling. Studies show non-revenue-generating activities like non-client meetings and data entry take up a lot of time.
Time management programs can show you how to organize your day for maximum productivity. For example, you can learn how to automate repetitive manual tasks.
Social media has become a vital part of selling, especially for online businesses. For example, 71% of consumers who’ve had a positive social media experience are more likely to recommend it to others, according to Lyfemarketing. Customer referrals are one of the most effective ways to grow your business.
Social media sites have been around for a while. However, social selling is still relatively new. A social media engagement course can help you develop the right skills so you can sell smarter.