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Sales Skill Is The Key Factor to Success, No Matter What You Do

Sales Skill Is The Key Factor to Success, No Matter What You Do

Ask any successful business owner about the one skill that contributed to their success. Without a doubt, they’d say “sales skills.”

You might be thinking, “This doesn’t apply to me – I’m not a salesperson or business owner!” But if you think about selling as explaining the logic and benefits of a decision, then everyone needs sales skills.

It’s the art of persuasion. The job of a salesperson is to get customers to buy products and services. To convince people that their product is the best, a salesperson needs to gain customers’ trust in a short period of time. This is true whether you’re peddling a product, a service, or your personal brand.

Sales skills can help you win friends and influence people, no matter what your job is.

Here are five rules of thumb as you develop your sales skills.

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1. Build relationships first.

Before making any requests, build trust with people. Try to find out what they’re interested in by observing, listening, and asking questions. Instead of using “I” and “me” in conversations, veer toward “you” and “we.” Show genuine interest in their personality, work, and hobbies.

As you build this relationship, nurture trust and others will naturally want to reciprocate.  No matter what goals you try to achieve, focus first on your relationships with people. People aren’t easily persuaded to believe in things; but they do believe in other people they grow to trust.

2. Tell compelling stories.

Here’s the thing: “hard-selling facts” are emotionless and they will not make people feel interested.

Spin your ideas creatively to catch people’s attention. Tell stories that touch people’s hearts, that make people feel happy, or surprised, or even sad or angry. Take Steve Jobs’s presentation on the iPod as an example:[1]

I’ve got a pocket right here. Now this pocket’s been the one that your iPods going in traditionally. The iPod and the iPod mini fit great in there. You ever wondered what this pocket’s for? I’ve always wondered that. Well now we know because this is the new iPod nano.

    This is a great example of a spin that induces surprise, and it keeps you hooked line by line.

    A restaurant with a run-down interior can turn people off even if the food is out of this world. Even if an idea is undeniably great, it really has to be packaged in an equally captivating way. Otherwise, it will just be another great idea forgotten.

    3. Take brutal rejections calmly.

    Even the best salesperson has experienced many rejections from customers. Rejection does not equal failure. Rejections are opportunities to learn. Maybe the approach or the timing wasn’t quite right. If you can recognize this, you can see your own performance more clearly. And then you can identify what to do better next time.

    Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue and now the artistic director for Condé Nastworked was a junior fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar, early in her career. But after she did a lot of edgy shoots, Tony Mazalla fired her. She then became fashion editor at Viva and had a tremendously successful career afterward.

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    Rejections are common: ideas, relationships, you name it. If you can accept that rejects are opportunities to learn and grow, you are on the path to success.

    4. Anticipate questions, and have answers ready.

    Nobody wants to work with someone who’s unreliable. A truly experienced salesperson should make you feel like they know everything about their product, and that they understand clearly what you need.

    Try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. What kinds of things are they interested in? What might they be concerned about?

    Having answers ready to go makes people feel that you’re capable and trustworthy. And as you build relationships with others, demonstrating how reliable you are inspires real and lasting trust.

    5. Be proactive in seeking opportunities.

    A good salesperson never waits for opportunities to come by. Because salespeople usually have a challenging target to achieve, they actively look for customers. They use all of their connections and resources to help reach their target. And they seize every possible opportunity to introduce their ideas to others.

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    Joe Girard, known as the “best salesman ever,” is a car salesman. He actively looked for opportunities to sell cars in big events, looking for potential customers and getting more and more referrals. If you do something great for one customer, you’re likely to reach about 250 of their friends, who are all potential customers.[2]

    Waiting passively makes people miss out on a lot of potential opportunities. Stay alert, so you notice when and where to introduce your ideas.

    Be a salesperson of your own life.

    No matter what your job is, it’s important to work hard to cultivate your own ability to influence others. The more you can inspire trust and emotions, take rejection, prepare well, and seek out opportunities, the more professional success and personal satisfaction you’ll find.

    Reference

    More by this author

    Brian Lee

    Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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    Last Updated on March 31, 2020

    How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

    How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

    How often do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you wish you could procrastinate less? We all know how debilitating procrastination can make us feel, and it seems to be a challenge we all share. Procrastination is one of the biggest hindrances to moving forward and doing the things that we want to in life.

    There are many reasons why you might be procrastinating, and sometimes, it is really difficult to pinpoint why. You might be procrastinating because of something related to the past, present, or future (they are all intertwined), or it could be as simple as biological factors. Whatever the reason, most of us follow a cycle when we procrastinate, from the moment we decide to do something to actually getting it done, or in this case, not getting it done.

    The Vicious Procrastination Cycle

    For some reason, it helps to understand that we all go through the same thing, even though we often feel like the only person in the world who struggles with this. Do you resonate with the cycle below?

    1. Feeling Eager and Energized

    This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it!

    2. Apprehension Starts to Come Up

    The beginning stages of optimism are starting to fade. There is still time, but you haven’t done anything yet, and you start to feel uneasy. You realize that you actually have to do something to get it done, and that good intentions are not enough.

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    3. Still No Action

    More time has passed. You still haven’t taken any action and probably have a lot of excuses why. You start to panic a little and wish you had started sooner. Your panic starts to turn into frustration and perhaps even irritability.

    4. Flicker of Hope Left

    You can still make it; there is a little time left and you ponder how you are going to get it done. The rush you get from leaving your task until the last minute gives you a flicker of hope. There is still time; you can do this!

    5. Fading Quickly

    Your hope starts to quickly fade as you try desperately to understand why you just can’t do this. You may feel desperate and have thoughts like, “What is wrong with me?” and “Why do I ALWAYS do this?” You feel discouraged, or perhaps angry and resentful at yourself.

    6. Vow to Yourself

    Once the feeling of anger or disappointment disappears, you most likely swear to yourself that this will never happen again; that this was the last time and next time will be different.

    Does this sound like you? Is the next time different? I understand the devastating effect that procrastination has on many lives, and for some, it is a really serious problem. You also have, on the other hand, those who procrastinate but it doesn’t affect them in any way. You know whether it is affecting you or not and whether it undermines your results.

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    How to Break the Procrastination Cycle

    Unless you break the cycle, you will keep reinforcing it!

    To break the cycle, you need to change the sequence of events. Here is my suggestion on how you can effectively break the vicious cycle you are in!

    1. Feeling Eager and Energized

    This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it! The first stage is always the same.

    2. Plan

    Thinking alone will not help; you need to plan your actions. I always put my deadlines one or two days in advance because you know Murphy’s Law! Take into consideration everything that you need to do, how long it will take you, and what you will need to get it done, then plan the individual steps.

    3. Resistance

    Just because you planned doesn’t mean that this time is guaranteed to be different. You will most likely still feel the resistance so expect this. This stage is key to identifying why you are procrastinating, so when you feel the resistance, try to identify it immediately.

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    What is causing you to hesitate in this moment? What do you feel?  Write them down if it helps.

    4. Confront Those Feelings

    Once you have identified what could possibly be holding you back, for example, fear of failure, lack of motivation, etc. You need to work on lessening the resistance.

    Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to move forward? What would make it easier?” If you find that you fear something, overcoming that fear is not something that will happen overnight — keep this in mind.

    5. Put Results Before Comfort

    You need to keep moving forward and put results before comfort. Take action, even if it is only for 10 minutes. The key is to break the cycle and not reinforce it. You have more control that you think.

    6. Repeat

    Repeat steps 3-5 until you achieve what you first set out to do.

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    Final Thoughts

    Change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you have some deeper underlying reasons why you procrastinate, it may take longer to finally break the cycle.

    If procrastination is holding you back in life, it is better to deal with it now than to deal with the negative consequences later on. It is not a question of comfort anymore; it is a question of results. What is more important to you?

    Learn more about how to stop procrastinating here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

    Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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