Being a good sales representative is a tough gig. You need to be a great listener. Have exceptional product knowledge and communication skills. Be good at problem-solving and time management. Understand the customers’ needs. Present awesome sales pitches. Be a keen observer and a captivating speaker. We get it; it’s a lot.
The good news, though? Very few people are born with exceptional sales skills. Most good salespeople are made. They train, learn, level up, and are consistently trying to improve their selling skills. So how can you build an enviable sales team and sales organization?
Most sales managers invest in sales training for their teams to help them adopt sales strategies that work. While training is a good idea, sales leaders also need to actively develop the sales team’s soft skills.
This is why we have put together a list of 8 of the most important sales skills you can learn to bring your A-game to selling.
8 Sales Skills Every Rep Should Have
- Relationship building
The good ol’ ABC (always be closing) has now graduated to the modern-day sales formula – always be helping. One of the best ways to build a relationship with your prospects is to collaborate with them. Figure out how your product can help your prospects to fast-track goals and overcome challenges. That’s how you build trust and rapport. When they feel like you have their best interests at heart, they are more likely to see you as a partner instead of a random salesperson trying to meet his or her quota. As a result, they’ll respond better, and be more open to your suggestions. And your product.
On the other hand, if all you care about is winning or closing, your prospect might develop a sense of wariness towards you. Why? Because the modern customer is better informed than ever before. They can easily find information about products and services online, so they don't need salespeople to just try to sell them something. Instead, they want value. They want to be heard. They want you to tell them exactly how you can help them solve their pain points.
So remember: show empathy instead of aggression and desperation. Always be helping, not just closing.
- A good sense of judgment
One of the most important sales skills you can hone is a keen sense of judgment. You want to be able to gauge a prospect’s sales potential and prioritize leads that are most likely to make a purchase. This skill takes practice and experience to develop, but it is essential for becoming a successful sales rep.
One way to hone your judgment skills is to attend industry events and meet different types of prospects. Talk to them, learn about their businesses, and try to get a feel for their buying potential.
But here's a secret: if you feel like you don't have a great sense of judgment (yet!), you can always research your prospect online. Go through their website. Check out their LinkedIn. Has the prospect or their business been featured in any B2B magazines where you can get information about what's happening behind the scenes? Maybe they talked about their targets in a business article? If nothing, just Google them. Maybe you'll find a testimonial on a competitor's website and get good insights into what makes them tick.
Hone your sense of judgment by drawing correlations between early behavior and deal closure. And when in doubt, tech. Conversation intelligence tools, like Wingman, might also be able to give you an idea of prospects that represent hot leads.
- Active listening internalizing
You may be tired of hearing this, but your listening skills matter a lot if you want to make effective sales. And it’s not just active listening (or listening with all your senses, including understanding the customer’s body language or tone of voice) you want to master. You want to be able to internalize the real meaning behind your prospect’s words.
When you're actively internalizing, you are tuned in. You are picking up on cues that they may not be verbalizing. You listen, process, and, when it’s time – mindfully guide them to an effective solution. And an effective sale!
Conversely, if you are focused on dominating the conversation, you will most likely miss out on important information. It also makes you look unbothered and unprofessional – not a great look for a sales rep.
- Being an exceptional storyteller
Skilled sales professionals are good storytellers. Period.
Storytelling is one of those sales skills you must practice to get better at. Think about it: when you're selling something, you're really just telling a story. And what makes a good story? A good story has conflict, context, characters, and an effective resolution. In other words, it's interesting. It's something that people can relate to and get invested in.
And that is exactly what you want.
Dig into the depths of your prospect’s pain points and business goals. Uncover what matters the most to them. Then craft a story that will resonate with them and help them see value in your offering.
As you know, no story sells better than a “true story. That’s why it is always a good idea to keep some relevant customer success stories handy.
- Sales demo-ing like a pro
Delivering an impactful sales demo allows reps to show potential customers exactly how their product or service works. That's why it needs to be top-notch and expertly executed.
A good sales demo will accomplish two things: it will give the prospect an overview of your product or service, and it will show them how your offering can meet their specific needs. It will be clear, concise, interactive, and persuasive.
Ask questions, invite feedback, and ensure that the buyer is involved in the demo process from start to finish. A good sales demo should leave the customer wanting more, and eager to learn more about your solution.
- Excellent negotiation skills
Much of the job of a sales rep involves negotiating. What is a good salesman if not a tough negotiator?
When negotiating with a buyer, keep your focus on collaboration and value (Remember: always be helping). You want to leave the buyer feeling great about this interaction even when you are the one who is ‘winning’. On the flip side, you want to be wary of offering a steep discount while negotiating a high-stakes deal.
Future-proofing your negotiation skills can look like active role-playing with a hypothetical ‘difficult’ buyer. Imagine someone who loves a bargain, but is also in dire need of your service. You want to make sure that you put together a captivating offer that they can simply not refuse while preserving the value of your sale.
A brilliant way to tap into your best negotiating self is by observing other tough negotiators in action. Take notes, experiment, and find what works best for you.
- Being social media-savvy
Social selling is gaining a well-earned reputation in the current sales environment. And with good reason. If you are trying to make a mark as a skilled sales professional in 2022, social selling is a skill you need in your arsenal.
But first things first. What is social selling? It is a lead-generation approach that involves building relationships with prospects and potential customers on social media. Now, don’t get too excited. This doesn’t mean you slide into your prospect’s DMs and start getting up all in their space.
Social selling has rules. You need to engage your buyers in a relevant yet non-intrusive way. It consists of active social listening, gaining insights into your target audience, and taking mindful action at the right time on the right platform. Now, remember, in the end, sales is about relationships. And so is social selling. Your social selling strategy needs to be in alignment with your overall sales strategy. This means that your focus is still on creating value and addressing specific pain points of your audience.
So what can you do to bring your A-game to your socials? Use social media to create and curate content. This will help you become a trusted resource for prospects. Use social media to build relationships with them. Be helpful, be friendly, and most importantly, be authentic. As ironic as it may be, you do not want to sound salesy when engaging with prospects.
- Closing deals like a champ
Delivering the perfect closing statement is the make-or-break moment and leaves the ball in the buyer’s court. If you’re not a natural at this (and most people aren’t – its awkward!), here are some of the proven deal-closing techniques to try.
The ‘now or never’ close: It's easy to get caught up in the game of chicken when trying to close a deal. Who will cave first? The buyer or the seller? If you've ever played this game, you know that it rarely ends well. That's why the now-or-never close is a time-tested deal-closing technique for sales reps. This type of close puts pressure on the buyer to make a decision right then and there. It's a way of saying, "This is your last chance." It creates urgency and, thus, impact.
The ‘summary’ close: This is when the sales professional briefly highlights the key benefits that the customer will receive by availing of their offering or solution. The goal is to gently direct the buyer’s attention to the value you can create for them by addressing their pain points.
The ‘sharp angle’ close: A sharp angle close allows sales reps to be assertive without being pushy. To do a sharp angle close, you simply ask your prospect a direct question that requires a yes or no answer. This puts them on the spot and forces them to make a decision.
Here are some examples of sharp angle closes:
"Are you ready to move forward with this project?"
"Can I count on you to sign this contract?"
"Are you sure you don't want to take advantage of this special offer?"
Let Wingman make it easier for you!
Sales is a numbers game. Sales is also a priority game. This is why Wingman makes the sales process systematic and easy for you to navigate. Our AI-powered sales platform helps you through the entire funnel with real-time, actionable insights, automatic call transcription, and note-taking.
What does that mean for you? Better collaboration with other teams, stellar record-keeping, and sales enablement with pop-up cards, battle cards, and contextual cues. It also means more time to focus on your sales strategy and delegate other (important) processes to Wingman. Isn’t that what a Wingman is supposed to do? Have your back when you need support?
Book a demo with us today to experience the Wingman promise!