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10 Sales Skills Everyone Should Master To Be Successful

10 Sales Skills Everyone Should Master To Be Successful

What comes into your mind when hearing words ‘sales skills’? Some people connect these words with manipulation, chasing people on the streets and being able to talk like a machine gun. These images are just the opposite of what good sales skills are all about.

The fact is that mastering sales skills is an essential part of being successful in any area of your life: as an artist or as a computer programmer, at your office when you present a new idea to your colleagues, as a business owner or even when planning a new holiday destination with your family. If you look at sales skills from the right angle, your success is on the way!

To start with: we all have practiced some good sales skills (and not even thinking about them!) at one time in our life. Remember when you were a kid. How many ways have you invented to persuade your parents to buy you ice-cream? Or in your teens, you met a girl or a boy of your dreams. What have you done? You tried to convince her or him that your love is a true one and that you are the best choice for her or him. And (hopefully) you meant it from all your heart.

So, we are all born with some good sales skills! To help you out to be even more successful in any area of your life, here are 10 sales skills which can improve your daily life.

1. Be a good listener

Contrary to popular opinion people with good sales skills listen very carefully. They know that we have two ears and only one mouth, so that there is a good reason to listen more than talk.

When listening, be an active listener, be interested in what people have to say. When you propose an idea at your job or in your family, listen carefully what objectives people around you have. Only then, you will be able to find the right answers for them and be successful in promoting your idea.

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2. Find a way to connect

Successful salespeople are masters in connecting with other people.

The next time you talk to a person observe the way he or she talks. If the person speaks slowly, you should slow down your speech, too. Why? Because similarities connect people.

Find out what the person likes, what hobbies they have. Does the person have a dog? If you have a dog, too then there is plenty to talk about and the connection just gets stronger.

3. Think of giving value first

If you want to empower your life with good sales skills don’t think of selling. Think of giving value first and the money or success will be a by-product. We all like people who bring value to our lives and dislike people who just want to sell.

Be resourceful, make suggestions for improving the workflow at your office or your business, try to find ways to improve other people’s lives and you will become successful.

4. Be passionate

Sales people or business owners who are passionate about their products or what they do don’t even think that much about their sales skills. They simply do it because they think it is right. When shareholders tried to press on Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO for greater profits, he simply replied:

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”I don’t even care about ROI (Return On Investment). We, here at Apple do it in the way we do simply because we think it is right and good!”

Find your passion, find what you like to do, (think of what you would do even if you are not paid for it) and your passion will drive you through every obstacle on the way to your success.

5. Picture your end result

Successful salespeople always see their customers being fully satisfied with the service they offer. They see how grateful people are after buying their products. They see the end results even before they start selling. They always have these images in their minds.

Make a habit to picture the end result for everything you want in your life. Even when you don’t have the slightest idea how you are going to make it, visualize your end result. Picture yourself driving your new car, sipping a nice, tasty coffee on a balcony of your new apartment or signing a new contract in your office as a successful business owner. Having the image of your desired thing always in your mind will help you to find ways you can’t see right now.

6. Don’t take it personally

One of the hardest sales skills to learn is how to deal with rejections. Jean Paul DeJoria, the co-founder of Jean Mitchel Systems and founder of Patron Tequila said:

“When 100 doors are slammed in your face, go to the door number 101 and be just as enthusiastic as you were at the beginning.”

How to do that? Just don’t take a rejection personally and go on. If some people say “no” to your idea or proposal, they are maybe just not prepared for it, right now. But don’t allow this to doubt in yourself. Believe in yourself and find people who will support your ideas.

You have to remember that successful people do things unsuccessful people try to avoid in any possible way.

7. Find out what people really need

Even if you have exceptional sales skills, you would have hard times selling a bottle of water someone in the nice Alpine village. But offer this same bottle of water to a thirsty group of tourists lost in the middle of a Sahara desert, you really shouldn’t have any struggle.

Take time and find out what people need in your town or anywhere in the world (thanks to the Internet you can offer your solutions just anywhere). For example, if you are a yoga teacher, there are many people who have backache problems because they sit for long hours so try to think of how to offer your service in their offices, when they have a break. There are many people who want to learn marketing skills and you might already have these skills. So look around for the needs first and then figure out ways for solutions.

8. Keep eye contact

Keeping eye contact is one of those tiny, small but very important sales skills which show a prospect you really care about him or her. Successful people know that avoiding eye contact is a sign of insecurity or unappreciation.

The next time you speak with your boss or your customer look calmly in their eyes (just don’t stare at them like you are in trance) because with natural eye contact, even when you don’t talk you are silently telling: “I listen to you and I care for you.”

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9. Do the best follow up

One of the most efficient sales skills for bringing referrals in is a great follow-up. How good would you feel if you enroll in a fitness program and the next day a fitness instructor calls you asking how you feel after your first workout day? People who do great follow-ups know they can win customers for life.

So, if you want to be successful make sure you take great care for people around you. If you helped someone at your office with a problem a week ago, ask him how he is doing now, what his progress is. If you own a business, pick up the phone today and ask your customers how they are doing with your product.

10. People buy you first

Even if you master all the selling skills in this planet if you don’t have a good, caring personality, nothing will really work. You have to remember that people buy you first and only then your products, which means that they have to trust and like you first.

Work regularly on yourself, read motivational books every day, watch videos on YouTube which motivate you. In this way, you will become a strong personality which is the great foundation for your success.

Mastering sales skills is basically the art of mastering relationships with people around you. To be successful in your life, work every day on slight improvements on every of these sales skills, and the compound effect of slight improvements will be shown in the better quality of your life very soon.

Featured photo credit: retro girl wearing sunglasses with lemonade stand via shutterstock.com

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Published on January 16, 2019

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

  • Are you a great strategist?
  • Are you an effective planner?
  • Is Project Management your strength?
  • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
  • Are you the ideas person?
  • Is Implementation your strength?

Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

4. Take Time for Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

You can take the time to think about:

  • What’s the purpose of the project?
  • How Important is it?
  • When does it need to be delivered by?
  • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
  • What are the KPIs?
  • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
  • Who is working on this project?
  • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
  • What tolerances can I add in?
  • What are the review stages?
  • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

5. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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    The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

    If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

    If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

    6. Take Time Out

    To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

    If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

    Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

    In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

    Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

    I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

    Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

    If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

    8. Stop Multitasking

    Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

    So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

    When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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    If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

    9. Work in Blocks of Time

    To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

    I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

    Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

    Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

    Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

    Then take another 10-minute break.

    Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

    By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

    10. Get Rid of Distractions

    Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

    “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

    Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

    If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

    11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

    You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

    Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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    Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

    12. Take a Time Audit

    Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

    Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

    You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

    Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

    Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

    At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

    If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

    13. Protect Your Confidence

    It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

    When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

    Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

    When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

    Final Words

    A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

    The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

    If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

    Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

    Reference

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