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How to build your sales skills

This past week I spent time in Austin, Texas with a room filled with entrepreneurs and executives at a business accelerator event. During the sessions, a large portion of the weekend was focused on new sales strategies as some of the attendees admitted their challenges in that area. It is no different from similar people here at home. In this article, I shed some light on this all-important skill. Whether you run your own business or work as a salesperson in a company, this article is for you.

The true measure of the success of any business is the bottom line — sales minus cost of sales. While there are many factors that lead to a success in sales, there is one factor that trumps all others. That one factor is people.

Selling is a people business and you need people skills in order to succeed. These people skills according to Success Magazine include:

• How to make a positive initial contact with potential clients;

• What to say to pique their interest in your product or service;

• The right words to say to get a confirmed appointment to demonstrate your product or service;

• Putting people at ease, getting them to like you, trust you and want to listen to you;

• Asking the right questions to learn whether clients truly need and will benefit from your offering;

• The words and actions necessary to present your product or service in the best manner for each client;

• What to say and do to answer any concerns raised by potential clients;

• How to ask for the sale;

• How to ask for referrals from every sale (and non-sale);

• The implementation of strategies to gain loyalty and future business.

Don’t let this list overwhelm you. They flow together so naturally in most selling situations that, if you were watching someone who has learned them well, you might only pick up on two or three. In fact, you might want to review this list and keep it in mind the next time you find yourself on the client end of a selling situation. If you have these skills already, fantastic. If you don’t, it’s time to start filling in the gaps. An online article entitled, “Winning with Sales”, breakdowns several skills you’d need to build in your sales career whether you’re in business or involved in sales within a company. They are as follows.

1. Researching prospects. Chances are your prospect knows plenty about you, your firm and your competition. In order to add real value, you’ll need to know even more about the prospect, the prospect’s business, and the prospect’s own customers.

2. Creating rapport. The first decision that every buyer makes is: “Do I want to do business with this person?” To create that all-important instant connection, you’ve got to be curious, personable and really care about the people you’re trying to help.

3. Asking questions. If you can’t satisfy a customer’s real needs, you can’t make a sale. And if you don’t ask the right questions – or if you ask them the wrong way – you’ll never know what the customers really need, and therefore will never be able to help.

4. Listening actively. This is even more important than asking the right questions. When customers are talking, it’s not enough to keep your mouth closed. You’ve also got to keep your mind open to discover ways to truly be of service.

5. Presenting solutions. This means creating and describing a specific solution to previously agreed-upon needs. Note: It is the exact opposite of a sales pitch, which is a one-size-fits-all way to say “all I care about is making a sale.”

6. Asking for commitment. All of the above is completely pointless if the activity doesn’t eventually result in some sales. If you don’t ask for the business at some point, it’s not going to happen. So learn how to ask.

7. Building relationships. Your short-term goal is to walk “arm in arm” with the customer as they arrive at the best possible solution. Your long-term goal is to become part of that customer’s essential business network … and vice versa.

Salespeople are among the highest paid people in the world, especially those who take it seriously and develop the necessary skills to succeed in the field.

Each of these skills requires focus and practice. The trust this that everybody sells; regardless of the field, you are in. If growing your skills in sales is a big deal for you, I’d like to invite you to the upcoming Sales Success Seminar Half Day Workshop and Entrepreneur Night scheduled for September 27th. Our trainer and keynote speaker, Camilita Nuttal, has been a top salesperson in a publicly-traded company for seven years in Europe and also engineered a major sales force in over 30 countries, where she created some of the biggest sales teams and the biggest launch in the company’s history that got on to NBC news. You will learn the exact process Camilita uses to generate over $3 million in sales.

For more information on the seminar and to receive a complimentary copy of Camilita’s “7 Steps to 7 Figure Sales Checklist”, contact me at keshelle@keshelledavis.com.

• Keshelle Davis is an authority in the areas of corporate, business and personal success training in the Bahamas. She is also an internationally recognized speaker and author. Her roles include executive director of the Chamber Institute, the education arm the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce; president of Creative Wealth Bahamas and founder of The Training Authority. Keshelle was listed as The Nassau Guardian’s Top 40 under 40 for the 40th anniversary celebrations of The Bahamas. To comment on the article or join her list for free monthly training tips, email keshelle@keshelledavis.com.

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