7 Skills Needed for Maximising Sales Success
The sales industry is fast-paced and competitive, both for employers and those who make up their sales teams. To stay ahead of the game and ensure maximum impact, performance and conversion rates, it’s vital that your sales teams have the right combination of skills to succeed.
Training courses are an essential part of ensuring everyone in your team is as skilled as possible, but it all starts with having effective insight into what skills matter most and where you can train your team to give them a better chance of achieving their goals.
From hard sales skills that require specialist training, to those all-important soft skills that help build relationships and close deals, the best way to ensure optimal results as a business is to make sure your team has the skills they need to maximise performance.
Whether you want to improve efficiencies, ramp up conversion rates or just want to refresh the knowledge your team possesses, here are seven of the most important skills your team needs to prosper in the world of sales.
1. Active listening
From fostering an atmosphere of effective communication within the team to engaging effectively with prospective clients, active listening is one of the most important soft skills for sales professionals to have in their repertoire.
Active listening involves reacting and responding to the person you’re interacting with, letting them know they have your complete attention. This helps build a positive working relationship and avoids any potential misunderstandings that could throw a spanner in the works of a potential sale.
Some effective active listening methods include:
- Using gestures such as nodding and keeping eye contact to engage with the speaker during face-to-face conversations.
- Limiting your distractions by stepping away from the computer when talking on the phone or finding a quiet spot in the office when listening to your team.
- Offering feedback or asking questions to reflect on what’s been said, demonstrate your understanding and show you’ve taken an interest in the conversation.
2. Strong knowledge retention
In sales, more than in most industries, an ability to retain knowledge is absolutely vital. You never know when your sales people are likely to face questions out of the blue or be asked a difficult technical question about a product, so you need people who are not only good at thinking on their feet, but also strong in terms of retaining knowledge, so they can give the most effective answers possible.
As a manager, knowledge retention also plays an important role in effectively understanding and utilising the expertise of individual team members strategically, making sure that the best people for each individual task are allocated.
3. Relationship building
There are many factors involved in an effective sales pitch, such as a strong understanding of a product or service, but one of the easiest factors to overlook is simply how well the sales person and prospective client get on. That relationship between both parties can play a big part in the success or failure of a sale, so it pays to start off on the right foot.
Also known as relationship selling, this sales skill involves first developing trust and making a connection with your client, before closing in on the sale. It might seem like a more time-consuming approach, but it’s one that can be invaluable, not only in the short-term, but also for making future sales with that particular client.
There are several steps to building the right relationship with a client which can pay dividends in the long run:
- Reach out to the client and find out what their pain points are
- Try to connect on a personal level. Look for common ground and talking points
- Empathise with the issues they face and try to find a solution
- Offer advice and talk through how your product or service can add value for them
- Answer any and all questions honestly, allowing them to push back and challenge
- Find and deliver an effective solution that benefits both parties
- Continue to communicate post-sale, offering aftercare and showing the client that their satisfaction matters to you.
Another essential soft skill for sales professionals to possess is empathy with the potential client and their own situation.
Being empathetic allows you to understand a client’s needs ahead of time and act on them effectively. This involves prioritising their feelings over the sale and putting yourself in the client’s shoes, deepening your understanding of their situation and thought process. Through utilisation of this tactic, clients will begin to trust and rely on you to offer something that will be of added value to them, increasing your overall sales success overtime.
Few industries change as quickly or as constantly as sales. Faced with new challenges, new disruptive technologies and new processes, sales teams need to be adaptable and flexible to make sure success is a constant.
Being adaptable means being able to work effectively in a fast-paced environment and not faltering when change comes into effect. Flexibility also allows you to change what you’re selling and where with ease, from face-to-face conversations to telesales calls.
A few ways to boost flexibility and adaptability across your team include:
- Looking for new opportunities: From training courses to tasking them with a challenging sales call, encourage your people to step outside their comfort zone.
- Change ways of working: Avoid monotonous work by switching up sales approaches and challenging your staff to innovate and find new ways of working.
6. Strategic thinking
As with any job, even the most successful sales person will face setbacks at various points in their career. However, strategic thinking allows successful sales people to plan ahead and prepare for these setbacks, meaning they can act quickly and appropriately to rectify situations before they escalate.
The sales industry may be fast-paced and reactive but taking time to think and plan upcoming sales calls can give you a competitive edge. It will ensure staff are providing the right answers to your client’s concerns.
In terms of management, strategic thinking also gives you the opportunity to prioritise and identify any sales skills gaps or actions your team needs to take to increase your overall success, helping you plan in sales training effectively to ensure the team are always up to speed.
7. Technical expertise
Technology is at the forefront of a successful sales team. As well as having the right set of hard and soft skills for sales professionals, sales people need to understand and be able to effectively use the various sales technology tools on offer.
These tools can impact all areas of sales, from finding new leads to recording conversions, so having an active interest in how to get the most from them can prove invaluable.
To boost your team’s technical expertise, it can be a good idea to bring in members of staff who have a firm grounding in all things tech. At Pareto Law, we can help uncover your next tech superstar through our IT sales apprenticeship. We understand that there is a difference between generic sales skills and the sort of knowledge required to show potential clients the value of a piece of technology to them and their business. Having that technical know how in the team can make all the difference when it comes to delivering positive results.
Ensuring your team has all the skills they need to succeed means having an effective training plan in place to help maximise success. Discover how you can improve your sales team and their ROI with bespoke sales training solutions from Pareto Law.