Sales is the fundamental talent of any entrepreneur. You need to sell your product or service, as well as yourself, to virtually everyone you meet. According to HubSpot, six in 10 salespeople say that when they have figured out what works for them as a sales technique, they don’t change it. This naturally begs the age-old question of whether an old dog can learn new tricks.
Adding new skills to your sales arsenal can be an effective way to enhance your sales game. You can always rest on your laurels and achieve the same results, or you can push yourself to learn a new sales technique that can increase your revenue year after year.
Below, 11 members of Forbes Coaches Council discuss several necessary skills when it comes to sales and how a new entrepreneur can develop these skills. Here is what they had to say:
Getting a sale, no matter how, seemed to be the mantra of previous generations. People are tired of feeling manipulated or harassed. We are looking for “real” – authenticity. I think of it as a gift. If you are authentic with others, they will open up and be their authentic selves with you. It builds trust. That’s where we develop lasting relationships with ongoing and authentic connection. – Frances McIntosh, Intentional Coaching LLC
Being great in selling is no longer about who has the best product, but who can build the best relationships. Building relationships helps the selling process because it requires us to get to know who we’re selling to, and what challenges they face. When we can get to the root of their challenges, the selling process becomes as simple as saying, “I have a solution for you that I know will help.” – Dr. Stephen Kalaluhi, The StephenK Group
Do your research to see what your competition is up to — their new products, what is coming down the line for them, and how they are marketing their wares/services (online and in the real world). Use this information to your advantage to tweak your marketing/sales efforts to demonstrate why your products/services are superior. Do it tactfully and not by attacking others. Knowledge is power! – Emily Kapit, ReFresh Your Step, LLC
For new entrepreneurs looking to increase sales, the first step is to determine who you’re selling to and what problems they have, that your product or service will address. Once you’ve identified the pain point, you are more equipped to offer a solution and demonstrate its value. People don’t care about what you’re selling. They care about how you can help them with their situation. – Lori Manns, Quality Media Consultant Group
When it comes to building a viable long-term business, you have to be able to articulate how you’re uniquely qualified to solve problems. Many entrepreneurs can explain why they believe they are good at what they do, but that doesn’t explain their uniqueness. The more self-aware an entrepreneur is, the easier it is to articulate why they are different/better. – Donald Hatter, Donald Hatter Inc.
When it comes to sales, be empathetic to the person you are selling to. Think about what you’re selling them and why. Listen to their needs, answer their questions, and consider why they need that service. How would you feel if you were in their shoes? Being empathetic will also allow you to transmit your energy to the right place — to serving that individual and not just closing another sale. – Valerie Martinelli, Valerie Martinelli Consulting, LLC
Often, for those new to sales, there is a sense of doubt or discomfort. It’s hard to look someone in the eye or maintain the strong voice to quote a price that is out of your comfort zone. The most powerful technique to overcoming this is visualization. Spend time each night seeing a client engagement from start to finish. Envision it going great and you getting the sale. Your brain will believe. – Laura DeCarlo, Career Directors International
Check in with yourself prior to any sales conversion. What state of mind are you in? Do you feel stressed? Are you desperate for the sale? Your energy will transmit to the other person, so make sure that before any words are spoken, you feel in a good space to open up a sales conversion. Desperation can make a sale, but it doesn’t always mean you will take on the right client or customer. – Simon Lovell, Fitpreneurs
Active listening is a skill that is necessary for success and one that continues to need refining. It is common sense to assume we need to listen to potential clients and yet it is not common practice. Develop this skill by assimilating what you heard and parrot back in your own words, then check for accuracy. You can practice this skill with all of your relationships to really hone the art. – Kirsten Blakemore, Partners In Leadership
To be successful in sales, you have to be willing to keep going. Keep asking one more time, contact one more person, try one more time. The one way a new entrepreneur can develop this is to stay motivated with training, deliberately choosing what they let in to their experience, surrounding themselves with what helps them keep pushing and moving toward their goals. – Christine Hueber, ChristineHueber.com
Great salespeople care about the success of others. As a result, they naturally pay attention to the very real concerns, challenges, frustrations and opportunities of those they can help. Sales is not about selling, as who wants to be sold? At its best, it has always been about informing others of how your products and/or services can help another achieve his or her own goals and dreams. – Susanne Biro, Susanne Biro & Associates Coaching Inc.
Susanne Biro is a coach to C-suite and executive level leaders. She is the founder of The Inner Life Leadership Academy, a year-long program for executive level business leaders who want to reach an unprecedented level of personal understanding and corresponding leadership mastery. Susanne is an author, program designer, facilitator, Forbes & CEO Magazine contributing writer, TEDx and keynote speaker.
For two decades, Susanne has worked internationally with senior-level leaders in some of the world’s best companies. Whether coaching one-on-one or authoring, designing, and delivering leadership programs, her passion is the same: to help leaders reach their next level of personal, professional, and leadership mastery.
Susanne can be reached at 604.864.5408 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our world has changed, rapidly and in unexpected ways. As the crisis hit, I offered and held pro bono sessions with leaders from around the world. And I want to continue to do what I can to help. As a result, I now offer hourly sessions to ensure leaders everywhere can quickly get the perspective, clarity and focus they need to lead themselves, and therefore others, well during these challenging and uncertain times.