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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 23, 2021

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

    The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

    You need more than time management. You need energy management

    1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

    How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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    I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

    I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

    2. Determine your “peak hours”

    Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

    Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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    My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

    In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

    Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

    3. Block those high-energy hours

    Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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    Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

    If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

    That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

    There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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    Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

    Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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