Why You Need To Develop Sales Skills (Regardless of Your Position or Industry)

Why You Need To Develop Sales Skills

Ever heard a parent say “I want my child to be a salesperson someday”? Nope? Me neither! It seems sales, as a profession, has gained a negative reputation for some. No one likes those pushy cold callers, right? In fact, they can be downright annoying. Yet sales skills are considered as among the most important ingredients of success in any field or industry.

Why is that, you ask? Well, here’s the short answer for you…

“We are all salespeople.”

As a CBS News article entitled “Why sales skills matter – to everyone” by prolific author Jeff Haden points out:

“If you really want to boost your career, find a way to work in sales - either with your current company or employer or by taking a part-time job that involves sales. Whether you work for someone else, own your own business, or even work in a role where you never interact with customers, sales skills are still incredibly useful.”

If you think deeply about it, we are all salespeople - one way or another.

Job seekers applying for a position are, in reality, ‘selling’ their skills and experience to the hiring panel. Entrepreneurs need to persuade potential customers that their product or service is worth trying. Friends organizing a weekend getaway will have to ‘sell’ the idea to members of their circle. Launching a fundraising project for your non-profit? You’ll have to talk donors into that, too.

In any case, people who can communicate ideas clearly and outline all the advantages that come with them have higher chances of influencing and persuading others.

So, what exactly makes a good salesperson?

Author, professional speaker, and sales expert Jeffrey Gitomer once said, “Great salespeople are relationship builders who provide value and help their customers win.”

Meanwhile, a Hubspot blog tells us:

“A good salesperson has more to offer customers than an exciting pitch - they’re enthusiastic individuals with resilience and they take the time to get to know their customers’ needs, show empathy, and deal in a product in confidence.”

Sales skills can help you succeed

“Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust,” said bestselling author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar

That said, there are certain values and skills you need to develop if you want to excel in sales. Here are three of the most basic ones you should possess at a minimum:

1. Listen attentively

Effective communication is a two-way street - and the same thing can be said about sales.

A common mistake among newbie sales reps is that they treat the job as merely about convincing people to buy a product or service. It definitely goes beyond that.  

An excellent salesperson knows listening makes a big difference. They know the art of pausing and asking questions. They sincerely seek to learn more about others. Doing this allows them to personalize their pitches later to ensure that the brand’s products or services successfully meet people’s specific needs. Selling ultimately comes much easier. 

Listening, after all, is sometimes “the most influential thing we can do,” advises author Bob Burg.

2. Be sincere

Sincerity is another crucial factor. It flows naturally from a person and it doesn’t come from a script. It means showing real interest in the goals, needs, and interests of others. When you exhibit this characteristic, people will find it easier to trust you and believe your words. You won’t have to be too aggressive in selling. Just be warm and friendly!

As Japanese philosopher and educator Daisaku Ikeda puts it:

“Genuine sincerity opens people’s hearts, while manipulation causes them to close.”

Meanwhile, an Oxford College of Marketing article also underscored that doing so brings in referrals: 

“Trust and loyalty are the main reasons why a customer would choose to recommend your company to a friend or family member or write a great review of your product or service online.”

3. Patiently resolve customers’ concerns

Patience is a virtue that exceptional salespeople have mastered. They know this is often needed in order to earn a customer’s loyalty. They strive to build relationships. Plus they’re always ready to provide viable solutions should problems arise along the way. They’re very skilled in bringing down people’s barriers.

According to Entrepreneur:

“Selling a solution requires that companies fundamentally change how they do business: Instead of pushing products, they must create genuine connections with other people. The solution-selling methodology requires lasting relationships with clients in which the goal is always to find new ways to help.”

“The key to everything is patience,” emphasized Arnold H. Glasow. “You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.”

Final thoughts: Sales skills definitely matter!

INC contributing editor Jeff Haden once asked 20 business owners and CEOs “to name the one skill they feel contributes the most to their success.” Each one of them gave the same answer: sales skills.

“They all felt success is almost impossible - in any field - without solid sales skills,” he said.

The potential benefits are endless for those who master sales. As Haden added:

“Gaining sales skills will help you win financing, bring in investors, line up distribution deals, land customers; in the early stages of starting a company, everything involves sales.”

By observing and learning from experts coupled with discipline and a lot of practice, you’ll see it isn’t impossible to master the art of selling. It’s definitely a skill worth-mastering, regardless of your profession or industry.

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