Springboard your sales metrics
Worried about sales? Not confident in getting your product or service out there? Our Account Manager, Lucy Bourne explores the range of sales skills you need to master to start reaching your target.
So sit back, grab a coffee and learn how to start boosting your monthly figures.
At Cloud2020, we’re always looking at ways that technology can boost the productivity of sales people: whether it be by something as simple as reminding them to call that hot lead or providing them with rich and valuable information on how their prospects have interacted with the business. The technology is all very well, but what about the actual skills that every sales person needs?
We look to the experts to arm us with this knowledge: Todd Cohen has coached and led sales teams to deliver over 500 million USDs worth ofrevenue for leading companies such as: Xerox, Gartner, Thomson–Reuters and Pensare. Cohen identifies the sales skills can be split into four different areas:
- return on investment
In this post, we’ll take a look at all o these areas:
Innate desire to sell
This one’s an easy one: it’s just like looking in the mirror. The attitude you give out to a customer reflects what you’ll get back: If you love to sell your customers will love you back. They’ll be far more less likely to buy from you if they can see you don’t like what you do. Positive attitudes are easily reflected in the sales scores.
Even if you’re already lucky enough to have the inbuilt desire to sell, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re passionate about it. Passion is tangible and your customers and your colleagues will be able to feel it when they’re around you. It also demonstrates that you’re engaged and interested, which shows you can bring value to your customers.
Having high energy levels won’t guarantee you reach your target, but it’s proven low energy won’t help you. Emotions are contagious and bringing the right energy to work affects your team’s morale. So, bring it!
Self – motivation
Just like you need a daily dose of coffee to start off your day, you need a daily dose of motivation to keep you going in the long term. Successful salespeople are able to overcome obstacles that happen when trying to close deals. If you want to do the same – it’s simple, just work out what drives you to sell, and visualise it. Why are you in this business?
It takes years to build trust and only seconds to break it. Credibility is the basis of doing business. The best salespeople are honest. They build trust, and do their best not to breach it. It also includes acknowledging mistakes and not blaming others.
Genuine humility is a strength that leads to success. People are more likely to buy from real, modest people who put a heart into their job. Arrogance doesn’t sell, confidence does.
Confident salespeople possess a natural comfort in dealing with others. Customers like to work with confident people, because they place a higher level of trust in them. The key to boosting your confidence level is to be comfortable with yourself, be engaged in the company you work for and believe in the product you sell.
Control your ego!
An oversized ego alienates you from your customers and colleagues, making it hard to create a collaborative environment. So don’t be too impressed with your own results and never let your ego be bigger than your skill set.
It’s much easier to buy from people we trust. To build trust, a salesperson needs to invest time in building a relationship with a customer. Closing a sale based on trust and a good relationship opens new opportunities and successful future sales.
Selling is becoming more and more about the relationships and trust that have been established than about products and solutions. You must create success through solid relationships and trust. These elements become your support system for tomorrow’s sales.
Building great relationships allows you to communicate easily with other teams in your company in order to close the deal. Once your product becomes more complex you may want to use their expertise.
Many of us love to hear ourselves talk. Other people? Not so much. If you’re willing to achieve success, don’t be a salesperson who talks without a break. You’re only repeating what you already know. When you listen, you can learn more about customers, their problems and their pain points that need to be solved.
Remember: It’s easier to listen if you have planned a list of questions to ask before you go to the meeting or into the sales call. This way you can concentrate on listening to the customer, rather than thinking about the next question to ask.
Sometimes deals take time. And patience is not about just waiting, it’s about being able to keep a good attitude while waiting. One push too much and a customer can resign. With too much pressure, you’re not only killing your deal but your relationship as well. So don’t rush it. Let your deal develop, mature and only then close it.
Personal responsibility is a component of all the skills we’ve talked about so far. You are the only person responsible for your success: not your boss, not your other half, just you. Your image, power, energy, the desire to sell and listening bring you closer to success.
PROFESSIONAL SELLING SKILLS
When you lose your cool and emotions take over, sometime you can’t see the situation clearly. It’s never bee more important to maintain a professional demeanor and have the ability to assess a situation from all angles: is it a valuable deal for you? Is the prospect’s company in a good shape?
Work on your state of mind in order to keep your cool. A clear view allows you to asses the sales opportunity objectively.
Build your business plan and map exactly what you need to do
Whatever goals you have, you need to put a plan in place to achieve them. Successful salespeople know that even the best persuasion techniques work better with some planning behind them.
Your plan should include calls, emails, demos – whatever is needed to get the job done? How many of them do you need? When exactly in the sales cycle should they happen? Put a lot of effort on preparing that – consider using sales productivity tools like Springboard to automate this process to prevent making errors – we’re all human.
Hone your competitive streak
Competitive sales people know exactly their industry, the competition and exactly what they offer. What’s more, they are aware of customers specific needs (both visible and underlying) and use this knowledge to know which products and/or services are the best choice for the customer.
Ask for the order
You’ve worked hard to get the customer to the point where a buying decision can be made, but you haven’t closed the deal. Review each step you took: does the customer know your product enough? If so, have you asked for the order?
Asking for the order is a natural part of the sales conversation. It’s all to easy to avoid asking the question due to fear of a refusal. Customer refusal can actually lead you to a better understanding of their needs. Follow Todd Cohen’s advice and ask yourself a question: “What is motivating your customer to back away from a commitment? Can you address those needs?”
RETURN ON INVESTMENT
Intelligence is a vital combination of common sense with a healthy quantity of knowledge that leads to make solid business decisions.
Intelligent salespeople understand the components of a sales cycle and are able to read all the signs during a sales process. They also understand the competition, industry and economy.
Ability to see the bigger picture
If you focus on making a sale you will make a sale and then you’ll be done. But if you focus on the customer and their pain points and needs, chances are you’ll keep them for life. Make sure you keep the bigger picture in mind and look beyond one deal into the years after.
Become a thought leader
Lack of knowledge is your weak point, while in fact it should be your power, be sure to have information on your customer’s industry at your fingertips to ensure that you become the “go-to” contact for advice. Be hungry for sector-specific information and ensure that you’re up-to-date and familiar with key trends. This way you’ll become the person that others come to for advice. According to Cohen:
You must sell with a perspective of your industry. Be able to talk intelligently about where your customer’s industry is going, about internet developments and chances that are likely to occur.
Desire to educate your customers
Compared to you, your customers probably know very little about your product – they usually don’t know even half of the features that are available. As a result, you may find you need to explain everything to them like they were 12. And sometimes like they were 6 – which is totally fine and what’s better way to do it if not through a compelling story?
Commitment to career learning
It’s pretty easy to feel you’re the best at what you do when you have no understanding of the mistakes you might be making. The more we learn, the more we understand how much more is left to learn. We never know everything – the key is to appreciate we need to constantly learn new things and develop new skills. Learning is the key to growth in the IT industry.
Practice your craft until you master it
It’s not enough to simply just know these sales skills – we need to constantly consider them. Successful salespeople have practiced for years to get to where they are, and the best bit? Many now use these skills without even thinking about it. You can get to this point too.
Practice your craft until you master it. Just like they did.
Need a tool to help you master these skills? Consider Springboard, a CRM solution for SMEs that encourages best practice, and drives sales. Chat on our site to find out how Springboard could work for your business.
Lucy @ Cloud2020