The greatest sales teams demand results. The manner in which they achieve those results is by being persistent about developing the skillset of their inside sales reps. Due to this reality, the most dominant sales teams are usually led by a strong personality who acts more like the coach of a successful sports team than a mere manager. This relentless devotion to advancing the progress of sales skills creates a team that goes above and beyond. Not only do they set short-term goals, they develop a winning culture that puts the reps in place to maximize their talents and achieve the long-term goals of the company.
Reaching a point in one’s career in which superb sales skills are in place is never easy to achieve. No one is born with a set of truly great sales skills. And team leaders often feel as though they do not have enough time to correctly coach their reps; thus, let this article help you out. Here are the top fourteen selling skills you and your team members need to create the winning culture you desire.
Let’s be clear. A sales rep that doesn’t understand their product perfectly should not be selling the product. Product training has to be one of the first things you should teach your reps. They must know every single aspect concerning how the product benefits the consumer and makes one’s life easier. This is the only way to effectively create a sales pitch and make sure the rep highlights all of the products best features. Supreme product knowledge is, more than anything else, what separates the good reps from the great reps.
Once a sales rep has the knowledge he/she needs about the product—it’s time for prospecting. Though many managers make their quota-leading reps do initial cold-calling, it’s actually better for your best inside sales reps not to do cold calling. It is better from an economic perspective for your sales development reps to do the cold calls and let the inside sales reps do the more complicated prospecting. This involves finding referrals through current connections or targeting new prospects that fit the targeted profile. It’s imperative that your most seasoned reps also focus on Closed-Lost prospects and try to revive their previous conversations. Effective prospecting also involves securing referrals from current customers and talking to investors for referrals. These tasks should not be a problem for an ISR.
One negative aspect of ISRs is that they’re not meeting with prospects in-person like outside sales reps are; thus, they have no choice but to work very hard to build relationships with strangers over the phone. Some sales reps have the innate ability to build rapport naturally—but most do not—and creating good rapport is a skill that must be learned. Teach your sales reps to research prospects in advance of calls and find common ground. Let them chat about anything—the weather, sports, currents events, etc.—good rapport is an absolute necessity that every sales rep must have to be successful.
Also known as a Buyer-Seller Agreement, sales reps must know how to create these verbal agreements at the beginning of sales so that expectations will be set and prospects will feel satisfied. These contracts/agreements are vital to both meetings and calls. For example, a sales rep could ask their prospect, “Do you mind if I ask you some quick questions about your business and then show you a demo of the product to see if we are a good fit?” This ensures the prospect will feel at ease and have a grasp of where the conversation is headed. An upfront contract like this makes a win-win more likely to take place.
The majority of sales reps enjoy talking to their prospects, if not, something is very wrong. But listening to what the prospects have to say is a whole other ballgame. ISRs must excel in both listening actively and asking smart follow-up questions. Prospects can tell when someone’s not really listening to them—and everyone values a great listener. Reps need to empathize with prospects and the first step is simply just listening to what they have to say. They can then take what they’ve learned during the conversation and offer a solution to make a sale.
Simply just talking to the prospect is not good enough. Tone of voice, cadence, pace, and volume are all factors that need to be taken into account. How a rep says something matters just as much as what the rep says. Just seven percent of success in sales depends on what a rep says, whereas thirty eight percent is dependent on the style of communication. Personality mirroring is key to this. Teach your reps to match the prospect’s tone of voice and the manner in which the prospect speaks. If a prospect is formal and rigid—be formal and rigid. If a prospect is jovial and laughs a lot—be jovial and laugh a lot. It’s that simple. And it’s a key factor in establishing good rapport.
ISRs must begin every sales conversation by asking reasonable questions to examine what the prospect’s business is in need of. A great sales rep never just throws around benefits and features. Ask the right questions so you know what features to bring up. Teach your ISRs to dig deep at the beginning of every phone call. The deeper they dig, the more treasure they’ll receive.
Great ISRS always make the most of the time they have. They make more calls and connections than mediocre reps. You cannot be productive and not have excellent time-management skills. That’s impossible. Train your reps how to quickly sort through their leads and find the best of the best in a timely fashion. If a rep can’t make the most of his/her hours, then the rep can’t make you the money you deserve.
Your sales reps must be proactive. You and the reps both know that it’s often a struggle to get a sale. Give your reps the best chance at succeeding by providing them a thorough script and game plan that’s bulletproof. Build your game-plan by thinking ahead and studying what the common objections are. Listen to calls and rewrite the scripts. The only way to be a good defense is with an even better offense. Think of yourself as the coach of your favorite sports team and build a high powered offense.
Let’s not be unrealistic. Even the greatest sales reps in the world cannot prevent every prospect from saying “no.” Have your reps practice being told no for a variety of reasons so they know what to do in any situation. “I’m busy,” “I’m not interested,” “I don’t have any use for your product”—it doesn’t matter. Your reps should work hard to navigate around any scenario—including hearing “no”—and, equally, you should work hard to prepare them for those inevitable “no’s” that they’re bound to hear. Teach your reps to empathize with the prospect and genuinely understand where the prospect is coming from so that no matter what the situation is, the rep has a chance at overcoming the rejection.
A demo is crucial to a successful sales process. Your sales reps must understand every aspect of the product and there’s no better way for them to understand than to put the product in the hands of your reps. Not to mention, a rep must be able to easily show off the demo to prospects. Work with your reps to develop an effective demo that highlights your products capabilities without throwing too much at the prospect at once. A great sales rep must thrive with the product in his/her hands; otherwise, the product is less likely to be in the hands of a paying customer.
Prospects have the ability to purchase any product they want. But what makes your product stand out? What makes it have value? Questions such as these should always be on the minds of your reps. A great rep has the power to make the consumer admit that a product will affect his/her life for the better. Anyone can sell a product. But can your reps sell value? If not, teach them the value of your product.
It’s not enough for a sales rep to get the prospect to acknowledge that the product has value. That’s great but it doesn’t put any money in your pocket. ABC. Always be closing. You must ensure your reps are all-star closers and not just good conversationalists. Many prospects will ask to push back the purchase by weeks or months. That’s not good enough. You need reps that can consistently reach—no, surpass—your weekly/monthly goals. Deals must be closed immediately.
Don’t ever forget to ensure that your reps keep in touch with customers. They should thank all customers profusely after a sale is complete. The reps need to know that a little kindness goes a long way. Having an appreciative rep means you’re a lot more likely to have an appreciative lifelong customer. Not to mention, satisfied customers will refer their friends, family, and colleagues to your business. Relationships truly matter. That cannot be stressed enough. A sale is not the end. It’s the beginning.
Teach these fourteen skills to your reps and not only will their sales increase—your revenue will increase. And also keep these skills in mind when hiring new reps. You can’t afford to employ unskilled reps.
We already went over how solid communication is a top selling skill. But keep in mind that communication with prospects should flow in a concise manner. So, what does this mean? It means that communication does more harm than good if you talk too much. Prospects could get annoyed and want nothing to do with you. After all, think how busy your average buyers are. They do not have the time to engage in long, drawn-out conversations. Instead, you’ve got to talk using a succinct and compact style. Studies show that salespeople who speak too much lose out on many sales. You’ve got to present your information in a compact and interesting way. Prospects often care more about how information gets presented than the information itself. Here’s a sales communication rule you can consider. Never bring up more than three crucial points during any sales call. Otherwise, the prospect could get overwhelmed. Sure, communication is key. But concise communication is the key to becoming a top selling rep.