Top skills sales professionals HAVE to master

Countless research has gone in to identifying the characteristics of a top performing salesperson. Many positions in different fields involve selling something, while some sales positions may require a particular educational background.

Many of the required or ‘preferred’ skills can be picked up through on-the-job training or even volunteer work, but ultimately, success in a sales role boils down to developing the basic skills you already have. Having a great sales team and sales leaders to help you along the way is also useful.

But what skills help to make a great sales rep? Below, we look at a list of skills and traits that contribute towards becoming a master in sales:

 

Relationship building

Anyone who can positively engage with other people is already at an advantage. Meeting clients will become a regular occurence, so building rapport, and showing a genuine desire to help other people is crucial to succeeding at a sales role. You’ll also need to be able to gather referrals, give advice and achieve team objectives – mastering relationship building makes accomplishing these sort of tasks so much easier.

 

Listening

As a salesperson, it can be hard to find the mute button at times. Trained to pitch and get your point across, it can be surprisingly difficult to stop – and listen. Without listening skills, a sales professional risks compromising other stages of the sales process, such as customer-solution matching. Make an effort to understand your client’s worries and gripes, so you can truly help them.

 

Time management

Sales is a fast-paced, time poor role. Your time is precious, so use it well. Through mastering time management, you increase your efficiency and productivity, creating the environment for better performance.

 

Problem solving

Everyone can benefit from critical thinking skills to make it easier to process information and analyse data. This can help you to formulate solutions for problems your prospects or your team are experiencing  

 

Product knowledge

A sales rep who doesn’t understand the product they’re selling will be ineffective. Product training should be one of the very first things you learn – know how the product works, what it solves, what business value it offers, and the reasons it appeals to your clients. Understanding this information helps you to pitch an idea correctly, without any ambiguity.

 

Qualification questioning

Questions must be asked at discovery stage, otherwise you could be wasting time selling to someone who isn’t interested. Don’t share all of your product’s capabilities at once, so you can discover more about your client’s business pain and how your product can solve their issue. These questions help you to determine what you should share about the benefits and value in your product based on which points will be most important to them.

 

Demo skills

For many B2B products, the demo is a critical part of beginning a sales process. Understanding the product, and being able to use it to appeal to a prospect’s pains, is key to a successful demo. Avoid throwing all of its benefits at them as you don’t want to overwhelm and confuse them.

 

Post-sale relationship management

Never forget to thank your customers. Continuing to build up and maintain the relationship after the sale can come across as unappreciative – it could even affect potential business they could have recommended to you. Sales professionals who are genuinely appreciative are the ones who typically master the role. Relationships matter – and developing those relationships means that in 1-3 years time, you are still able to go back to that customer for further business.

 

Social media and social selling

Social media is now a huge part of our digital lives. Many companies employ social media managers to oversee their brand’s online presence, but there are ways for you to utilise these platforms too. Having a basic understanding of social media is beneficial for engaging with prospects on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and other networks and will help increase lead generation.

 

Collaboration

Sales teams follow a game plan. Rarely operating as a one-man team, everyone has a responsibility and expectations. A lack of teamwork will lead to unwanted outcomes and missed objectives.

 

Storytelling

Convincing customers that your product can solve their problem takes patience and storytelling. Articulating your message by telling a story that hits home to your prospect shows them how the product can benefit them.

 

Sales professionals should come in ready to sell. By mastering these points above, you’ll have all the foundations you need to become a standout salesperson.

Have you already mastered your current role and are now looking for a new challenge? We have plenty of new opportunities available on our website. Take a look here.

You can also search by location for a quicker, easier job search.

5 ways to excel in your career

Any job can become stressful. Your never-ending list of to-do’s is getting bigger, the hours are long and you’re constantly juggling deadlines. Maybe you’re working hard to climb the ladder in your career, but that next step seems out of reach?

Whatever it might be that’s stopping you from moving up, there are some things you can do that will help you to manage your time and efficiency better at work, so that you can begin creeping up the ladder towards success! We’ve listed just 5 of the options below to help you shine:

1. Market yourself as an expert

Most people have social media profiles today. And an increasing amount of aspiring, career driven individuals spend a portion of their time on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a fantastic platform to market yourself as an expert in your field. Whether you’re just starting out in your career, or you’re looking to share your ideas/thoughts for your industry, using LinkedIn is the platform to do exactly that.

If you’re not confident about sharing your own thoughts just yet, there are plenty of brand ambassadors and industry leaders who are instigating thought-provoking conversations for you to get involved in. Network yourself as a thought leader, and in time other people will be picking up on your proactiveness and confidence in your role.

 

2. Ask more questions

We all have questions that we want to ask at work – so what stops us? Speaking from experience, many people are afraid to ask a question because they are worried it might make them seem disconnected to their work, uneducated or frankly, stupid.

This simply isn’t the case at all, and we guarantee that those who are excelling in their career are asking questions all the time. Asking the right people gets you a valuable answer or piece of advice that you can draw from in future. All you have to do is ask!

 

3. Read everyday (no, not just a book)

One way to become a more effective communicator is by witnessing good, written communication. With the vast majority of industry news and helpful, valuable content online today, it’s easy to find something relevant for you to read. Whether it’s keeping up with relevant news, or maybe you found an article from an industry specific thought leader that you’d like to read more about.

Reading keeps you one step head of the game, because you will learn something new, or you will engage with a new idea or perspective – all of which will help you to shape your ideas and decisions in future. Reading doesn’t have to be extensive, but as long as it’s productive, you’re already winning the race.

 

4. Remove distractions

Your productivity could be at risk if you’re looking at your phone every few minutes. Even if you’re trying not to, a notification is bound to veer you away from your work. Strip back any distractions you might have while you’re at your desk, so that you can fully immerse yourself in whatever project you’re tackling. By simply putting your phone in your bag, or switching it off, you remove your attention from one area to focus it on another.

Music can, at times, be a big distraction. A pair of headphones and a change in the type of music you’re listening to can actually help to breed your creativity. The Independent suggested that the most famous theory linking music and cognitive performance is ‘the Mozart’ effect, the popular idea that listening to Mozart makes you smarter. The research centred around the idea that music – particularly classical – can improve exam results, with websites such as mozarteffect.com selling music supposedly designed to “charge the brain.” What has been proven is that listening to music which is constant in state, has a steady, repetitive pulse is better for concentration than loud, inconsistent music.

 

5. Increase your efficiency

This seems so simple, but it can, at times, be difficult to achieve. There are only so many hours in the working day, so making the most of your time is critical to your efficiency. Track how much time you’re spending on tasks, and follow the “two-minute rule”. Entrepreneur Steve Olenski recommends that if you see a task or action that you know can be done in two minutes or less, do it immediately.

Reducing meetings is another big time saver. Although they can be necessary, if there are some that you think you can cut back on, do it. Your time is valuable, so before you book your next meeting, ask yourself whether you can accomplish the same goals or tasks via email, phone or web-based meeting.

 

One other way is to quit multitasking. While many people think multitasking means being more efficient, it does in fact divert your attention from putting all your effort in to one task. Make a habit of committing to a single task before moving on to your next project. 

If you’re feeling slightly demotivated about stepping up in your career, not only will these tips help to improve your efficiency at work, but mastering them will get you noticed. Efficiency in your role means you can make more time available to be more proactive with ideas, and networking yourself online puts you forward as a confident individual. Make the most from the advice above, and soon enough the only thing standing between you and your dream job will be impressing the person interviewing you.

 

Want more career advice? Click here for more blogs about jobseeker tips.

Or are you considering a new role that’s a bit more challenging? At Simply Sales Jobs, we connect you with local jobs in your area. If you’re looking for a more exciting role that you can get stuck in to, simply click through to our jobs section here to start the search for your next big opportunity! 

Good luck!

Why LinkedIn is more powerful for your sales role than you think

Social media has provided salespeople with the ability to super-charge online networking and sales prospecting.

LinkedIn has over 450 million members worldwide. It’s the top social media choice for business networking and sales prospecting.

 

75% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn as a source for making buying decisions.

50% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn as a source for making purchase decision.

76% of B2B buyers prefer to work with recommendations from their professional network.

(https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/b2b-sales-prospecting/techniques-for-successful-prospecting )

 

For many, LinkedIn is the number one social site for job seeking. Recruiters across the world use it extensively, so if you’re looking to get picked up for your next opportunity, an updated profile could see you being contacted by numerous people about your next role.

Savvy sales people selling in the connected world are regularly using LinkedIn as a primary source of new leads and tangible revenue. Prospecting is faster, smoother, and ultimately, more profitable.

If you’re open to another avenue where you could gain new leads, give LinkedIn a try, and if you’re still hesitant, read these points below:

 

1. Update your profile

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is stellar. The #1 LinkedIn activity is viewing members’ profiles, so make sure you have one that appeals to your decision maker.

  • Upload a professional photo

  • Write a compelling headline

  • Add a summary

  • Add videos and presentations

Share relevant content around topics they are more likely to engage with and become a trusted source of insight. Trending topics are likely to get people chatting with you – helping you to develop a relationship with your prospects.

 

2. Connections

Connections breed connections. First level contacts open up a route to a wide range of second and third level connections, people you may have never had access to previously. Strike while the iron’s hot – if y

ou see someone who fits your criteria, contact them.

You can find your prospects with the search tool at the top. If you use the advanced tool, you can search by name, company name, or a job title so you can easily connect.

 

3.  Leave a note

Pressing the connect button, and then ‘Send now’ could throw your sales prospect completely in another direction. Think about it – you press the connect button with 10 people, then you move away to do something else, and all of a sudden you’ve forgotten about them. They don’t know why you’re connecting with them, so they forget about you…

Rather than clicking ‘connect’ and ‘send now’, click on ‘add a note’ and leave the a personal introductory message to warm them up. Now they know why you’re looking to connect with them, they have more of a reason to consider you.

 

4. Follow your prospects’ activity in real-time

If you’re connected with your prospects, you’ll be able to see what they are getting up to. Keep an eye on this, because there just might be an opportunity for you to help them out.

 

5. Leverage your mutual connections

According to LinkedIn, individuals are 5x more likely to engage with you if the outreach is through a mutual connection. See who within your network is connected to your 2nd or 3rd degree connections and request an introduction.

You can also work with your connections by asking them to refer you to anyone within their connections who might be looking for what you’re offering. You’ve probably seen a number of posts asking for referrals. Beat your competitors to the punch by asking loyal clients to refer you on the post themselves. A third party recommendation always looks better than a salesperson promoting themselves!

 

6. Listen to conversations and debate

Joining and following Group discussions in your industry is an excellent way to gain customer insights about needs, interests and more. Be proactive and be open-minded. Actively getting involved with discussions helps to establish you as a thought leader in your role.

 

7. Connect with people that matter

LinkedIn isn’t intended to replace face-to-face interactions, but it does optimise your ability to know more about people you’ve met or about to meet. It can be really helpful to touch base with others, which can be followed up by a phone call or an informal chat.

 

7. Publish content

Share posts and articles about what you’re getting up to. When you publish a post on LinkedIn, your content becomes a part of your profile for others to view when they connect with you (or if they’re considering you).

 

8. Identify who is searching for you

Probably one of the most interesting tools on LinkedIn, is that you are told when someone else is looking at your profile. While it’s not always beneficial, there is always the possibility that you can identify a potential lead from it. But make sure you’re aware that they can see you searching for them too. You do have the option to change your profile to anonymous, but again, be warned that if you do switch your profile to anonymous, you won’t be able to see exactly who is peeking at yours.

 

While LinkedIn won’t make the sale for you, educating yourself about the potential opportunities it could provide you with is beneficial. It certainly gives you an edge over the lesser socially savvy salespeople in your market, but it can also provide you with a platform to promote yourself to others, in case you ever decide that it’s time for a new opportunity.