Mastering the art of sales requires you to convey the value your product offers compellingly and handle pushback effectively. Time wasted chasing the wrong prospects can crush your sales metrics and hurt your reputation.
Selling becomes second nature to experienced salespeople over time. However, it’s always important to stay updated with new techniques.
Skills in Listening
One of the most critical soft skills for every job is the ability to listen. People with strong listening skills can collaborate with others more effectively, reduce misunderstandings, and develop stronger working relationships.
During the sales process, prospects will often drop hints about their problems that need solving or their needs that you can address. However, these hints can only be noticed if you listen actively.
Comprehensive listening requires the ability to receive sound, understand the message conveyed in the sounds, and evaluate the information based on your experience, knowledge, and values. It also involves recognizing and interpreting nonverbal clues as sub-messages, such as body language, gestures, tone of voice, and facial expressions.
Discriminative listening requires recognizing and identifying the purpose of a speaker’s communication, avoiding bias, and concentrating on the relevant details. Biased listening, more common in emotional communications, distorts facts because you only listen for information supporting your preconceived ideas. Discriminative listening is enhanced by reflective listening, where you repeat to the speaker what you have heard to ensure that your understanding matches their intended message.
One of the most important sales training techniques to master is active listening. It requires leaving your agenda at the door and genuinely comprehending what a customer tells you. The goal is to help them solve their problem rather than sell your product. That approach leaves a lasting, positive impression that can boost sales and create more repeat and referral business.
Active listening means giving a prospect your undivided attention and avoiding distractions such as checking email or staring at your notes. It also entails picking up on and reacting to nonverbal clues like tone of voice and body language.
Active listeners can ask questions that demonstrate understanding and encourage a deeper dialogue. They may even offer feedback, such as by summarizing or paraphrasing a speaker’s ideas in their own words. They can also build trust and establish strong relationships by empathizing with prospects’ problems. It can include sharing a personal anecdote or remark that shows you are relating to the prospect’s situation, as long as it is brief and does not interrupt the conversation.
Whether asking for status updates from team members or questioning their counterparts during a tense negotiation, salespeople often focus too much on what they need to say and need more time preparing insightful questions. It can leave them leaving opportunities on the table and missing out on valuable information.
The ability to ask practical, open-ended questions can be one of the most important skills a sales professional must master. The five Ws(who, what, where, when, and why)are included in open-ended queries, which demand more than a one-word response.
When training your team, be sure to teach them to ask open-ended questions that help them uncover the specific issues a buyer is facing. It allows them to build trust, establish credibility, and support their buyers in understanding how they can solve those problems with your product or service. It also lets the buyer know that you genuinely care about their success and are a partner they can depend on. It’s a great way to start a relationship.
Keeping the Conversation Going
When a prospect objects, it is essential to remain calm and address each point thoughtfully. Doing so demonstrates that you are empathetic and care about their concerns. It also allows you to explain how your product addresses each concern and highlights its unique value proposition.
To keep the conversation going, share valuable insights, tips, or industry-related information to help them solve their challenges or problems. It demonstrates your expertise and establishes you as a trusted advisor. To lighten the tone and break the ice, sprinkling some comedy into the chat is also a good idea.
Salespeople often need help with roadblocks or objections during sales conversations. Creating scripts to simplify handling these challenges can help streamline the sales process and boost confidence. In addition, incorporating conversation review into your sales training can be helpful because it allows reps to learn from the experiences of other team members, giving them fresh ideas on how to handle different situations. This practical and realistic training technique can also be customized for each sales rep to improve effectiveness.
Asking for the Sale
Once you’ve listened to your prospects, helped them uncover their most critical issues, and then presented a solution that can solve those issues, it’s time to ask for the sale. It is a vital part of sales conversations, but it can take time for new or less experienced sales professionals to execute well. If they ask too soon, they come across as pushy; if they wait too long, they may miss the optimal moment when their prospect is ready to decide.
It’s also essential to determine whether or not your prospects are the right buyers. It involves understanding their decision-making process and asking questions about the budget.
It can take 6-18 months for a large account to close, so it’s imperative that your sales team can effectively qualify the right prospects and handle pushback. It requires a shift from traditional selling methods to a consultative approach. If you want to help your salespeople develop these skills, consider a training program that teaches them how to sell value and build strong relationships with their prospects.