Selling is an essential business function—whether you’re selling products to customers, services to an industry or ideas that change the world. Yet the ability to sell is increasingly complex and requires a new set of skills that goes well beyond what you might expect from the person peddling insurance door-to-door or the disreputable used car salesperson down the block.
In fact, the ability to effectively sell is now a crucial element of success in nearly every role, from customer service and retail to finance and tech. Salespeople need to be able to understand and connect with their clients, solve problems and identify the right solutions, negotiate the best deals, fill the pipeline, develop relationships and manage sellers—all without the benefit of face-to-face interaction.
Changing technologies and buyer needs have created the need for salespeople to have a wide range of competencies that can help them be successful—but there’s no question that many of the most important ones are hard to master, particularly when selling virtual.
To meet the challenges of today’s sales environment, the modern seller needs to be a strategic consultant who has the ability to engage their prospects with compelling insights and articulate value propositions. But there’s more to the skill seller than that—they must be able to build trust, navigate objections and negotiate with ease, and they need to know how to coach and mentor their peers to deliver these same outcomes.
The list of selling skills is long and growing, with everything from building empathy to understanding client motivations becoming critical to success. But while there’s no question that many of these skills must be developed, it’s important to recognize that not all selling training programs are designed to help sellers develop these skills in a way that’s sustainable, and the ability to implement these new ways of working into a day-to-day sales process is key.
One of the most challenging selling skills to develop is relating, which refers to the use of empathy, authenticity and rapport to engage with buyers. This is one of the most effective ways to create a connection with a buyer and establish a trusted relationship, which in turn leads to increased sales.
Another challenging skill to develop is questioning, which involves listening actively and presenting information persuasively throughout the sales conversation. It’s also about being able to ask open-ended questions to encourage dialogue and elicit feedback.
A final, and perhaps most critical, sales skill is negotiation, which is all about finding solutions that work for the client. Great negotiators can find common ground and create a win-win situation for all parties involved, which ultimately leads to more sales.
Developing these five core sales skills is a necessary step for sellers to improve their performance in the digital landscape. For more tips and strategies on how to get ahead of your competition, download our free guide, How To Be a Better Salesperson in the Age of Automation. skill seller