Improve Sales Mastery of your Sales Reps through Classic and New Sales skills
8 minutes read
As a sales manager, do you believe that your sales reps have mastered the art of selling?
Imagine this: one of your sales reps enters into a room for a sales meeting with a confident and charming personality. He instantly begins owning the room with his excellent communication skills and professional body language. Everyone in the room is impressed with his exceptional product knowledge and sales pitch. He succeeds in convincing everyone that they should buy your product. And then finally closes the deal with a handshake.
Now remove the physical room out of this scene. Remove the face-to-face conversation out of the scene. Replace all of this with a virtual chat room like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Do you still see your rep handling the sale successfully?
As our workplace environment evolved into a more hybrid environment, the way we sell has changed drastically. The skills that are needed to sell in this environment aren’t as obvious anymore.
Sure, there are some tried and true skills that will never change, but what’s that phrase? Adapt or die? Okay, it’s a little dramatic, but the sentiment rings true. It’s time to improve your employees’ sales skills by inculcating the classic (tried and true) sales skills and a couple of new ones as well.
The Classic Selling Skills
Below are some evergreen sales skills that every salesperson should master:
1. Effective Communication
This is the most crucial and non-negotiable skill for every salesperson. Whether communicating through email, social media, a presentation, in person, or across an online platform, sales reps should always be improving their communication skills.
How to improve this sales skill? Sales reps must,
- Create customized talk tracks for each prospect
- Practice their talk track multiple times to improve themselves
- And present it to their managers and get feedback from them on how to further improve
2. Expert knowledge of your product or service
Now, this is something one cannot cut corners on. People will see right through if your sales reps don’t know your product or if they can’t speak of its value. As a person on the front lines, your sales reps are required to effectively communicate the value and benefit (not just features and functions) and have the capability to answer any question that they might be asked. It’s also important for them to understand what product or service should/ should not be sold to a potential buyer (if it’s not the right fit for them).
3. Negotiation Skills
This is also an age-old sales skill that every rep is required to master at the early stages of his/ her career. Sure, it would be amazing if all the prospects immediately agreed to sign the contracts with your reps, agreeing to all your payment terms? But the reality is that this ideal situation is a rare occurrence. Even after putting in a lot of effort and laying out a thoughtful quote before the prospect, many deals still end up in a negotiation phase before the dotted line is signed.
That’s why strong negotiation skills are a must for salespeople. When reps are able to effectively negotiate terms with buyers and decision-makers that are mutually beneficial, they’re more likely to secure better outcomes.
Sometimes prospecting can feel like the hardest part of a sales position. It can feel like a task that is time-consuming and tedious for those who don’t know the right way of prospecting. Researching and focusing on qualified leads can lead to less time spent searching and more time spent closing.
Here is how sales reps ideally do their prospecting:
- They should start researching various buyer personas
- Then they should narrow down the customer profiles that seem eligible to buy your product
- Then they need to strategize a customized sales approach for each prospect based on their profile and reach out to them accordingly
This way, the more they understand who they are targeting, the less time they spend weeding through potential wrong fits.
5. Problem Solving
One of the biggest jobs that a sales professional has is the job of solving the problem/s of the potential buyers. This is why it is important for the sales reps to sharpen their problem-solving skills, often on their feet in front of the prospect. By improving this sales skill, sales reps can better predict outcomes and future problems before they arise.
The Modern-day New Selling Skills
While the above-mentioned skills are absolutely necessary for every salesperson to have, the skills mentioned below are the skills that are crucial for sales reps to inculcate in order to succeed in today’s highly competitive and ever-evolving sales environment.
1. Technological Savviness
Ever since the sales departments went digital (since the onset of the pandemic), sales leaders have begun to work consistently towards equipping their teams with the best of technologies in order to enhance their work while they operate remotely. With businesses rolling out new tools every now and then, it has become very important for sales reps to be quick in learning and adopting new sales technology platforms. So, they must make an effort to consistently keep themselves up-to-date with the latest sales technologies in the market and the best practices of using them. This way they can ensure that these technology tools boost their productivity and not hamper it.
2. Video Selling Skills
With the rise of remote work and remote selling, video calls will continue to play a key role in sales communications. Reps are using video platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams to,
- Connect with new leads
- Give product demos at scale
- Answer their clients’ queries
- Follow up and re-engage with prospects who have gone dark
- Make their proposals more engaging, and more.
So, honing video skills is a no-brainer. Your reps should
- Practice their delivery, tone, and pacing.
- Experiment with different subjects which are most effective
- Find the best lighting, props, and filming area
- Figure out the optimal length for each type of call
Mastering the video calling process early on will put your reps far ahead in the remote selling game.
3. Active Listening
Active listening is the most important sales skill in today’s world which is affected by the pandemic. At this point in time, everyone is
- Dealing with uncertainty in their business
- Trying to cope with the market changes and changes in the buying process
- And trying to adopt new ways of working
So, your reps must consciously practice active listening, and approach every sale
- With an intention to truly understand their customers’ problems
- And with an ambition to solve them
This will make all the difference in the potential buyer’s experience.
If you think social media can only be leveraged by the marketing department, think again. In the current remote selling scenario, social selling (researching and connecting with potential buyers using social media platforms) is an important skill for sales reps as well.
However, it’s worth noting that social selling is only effective when done properly. That means reps shouldn’t flock to social media spamming user inboxes with unsolicited messages and flooding their timelines with promotional posts. Instead, reps should start by optimizing their professional social media profiles to attract potential customers. And take a thoughtful approach to reach out to them on the appropriate platforms at the appropriate times.
5. Relationship Building
Now that the in-person sales meetings are few and far in between, sales reps are missing out on the opportunity of having a friendly chit-chat with their clients over a coffee. The meetings are mostly virtual now and people tend to talk business directly once they get into a virtual call. But building strong relationships that go beyond just business is extremely important in sales. Because even if a deal is not closed with a client, the relationship that is established with that particular client paves way for future engagement. So, it’s very important for sales reps to learn how to build a good rapport and form a strong bond with their clients’ even while dealing with them virtually
6. Emotional Intelligence/ Empathy
Emotional intelligence is an important skill to nurture if your reps want to make a lasting and profitable connection with prospects. Although technology and automation have made salespeople less dependent on their people skills, a high emotional quotient will differentiate them from the competition.
Shaun Crimmins, former Account Executive at HubSpot defines sales EQ perfectly. He says “Sales EQ is the ability to effectively read, influence, and control emotions. Being able to stand out above the clutter of sales messages prospects are hit with — that’s what EQ is all about.”
Learn about the remote selling challenges that sales reps face
Learn about the important sales skills that sales reps need to master in order to ace remote selling
Learn about the crucial sales techniques that sales reps can use to build rapport with the clients virtually
Want to know how your sales reps can really understand their client’s problems? Read the below article to know
Learn why active listening is the most important sales skill to have in the current times
Learn about the buyer-first selling approach and how to get to reps to adopt this approach
Published on Sat Feb 5 2022