Of course, developing your sales skills is critical when your goal is to sell a service or a product. However, one of the lesser known benefits of sales skills is that they help you to become more persuasive and influential at work, regardless of your profession.
Much of the time that you spend at the workplace consists of influencing people. For example, you might want them to provide you with a deliverable or with some type of information, or you are asking them to support a project.
In all of these cases, you are requesting that people give up something in exchange for something else. You are asking them to give some of their attention span, credibility, time, or resources so that you can get your job done.
Yes. You are selling them. Therefore, developing and improving sales skills is vital in any profession. Here are 10 of these skills that everyone should know to gain a competitive edge in the workplace:
Gather information to help you better understand the general context and all the stakeholders.
How would you expect somebody to believe you are trying to help them when you haven’t done your basic homework?
It’s one of the most important sales skills. If you do your research properly, you’lll be perceived as a competent person to work with and you’ll avoid those blunders that are hard to recover from. Research can involve searching on google, checking social media, or calling contacts in your network who can give you a better grasp of what’s really going on.
2) Build rapport
Keep conversing and find similarities.
Without rapport, talking is meaningless. Your coworkers are still human beings, not pawns that can be manipulated at will. Make the effort to treat them as such. Ask them about their hobbies, their family, and their job. However, don’t forget to talk about yourself–it must be a two-way street.
3) Ask questions
Skilled salesmen ask questions – and so should you. Understanding the real needs of the other person is the start of success.
Asking questions will help you to understand and influence the other person. When you are using questions, you are always keeping your coworker engaged. You are gathering feedback, which will lead to mutual solutions that will make you shine at work. Questions are a weapon of choice in your sales skills toolbox.
4) Listen actively
Listen. Really listen.
Are you really listening to the other person? With active listening, you are constantly checking whether you have properly understood your coworkers. How many presentations have you sat through and taken nothing away from?
With active listening, you are honoring the other person’s time and yours as well. The secret of active listening is to reformulate what you have heard and check with your coworker that is what was originally meant. This great sales skill is truly beneficial at work.
5) Gain trust
Earn trust with impeccable behavior.
Would you buy from someone you don’t trust? Or would you want to rely on someone you don’t trust?
Trust is the basic foundation of teamwork. Gaining trust is a sales skill that you should definitely apply in the workplace. It requires transparency and sticking to your promises. If you do so, you will naturally gain more and more trust from your colleagues.
6) Make difficult decisions confidently
Make decisions like a leader.
Salespeople need to constantly make decisions, such as choosing which prospect to prioritize, what solution to propose, or when to close. The greatest decisions require courage, because choosing a solution means giving up opportunities. Young salespeople learn this skill very early in their careers.
If you also learn to decide and serenely say NO to new opportunities and YES to others, you are giving yourself more chances to succeed at work.
7) Be creative
Find unique and tailored solutions.
Your colleague may have a problem that they have been struggling with for weeks or months. If you manage to be creative enough to help them find a solution, they will be so thankful that they’ll welcome any opportunity to return the favor.
Creativity is one of those words that gets tossed around a lot, but it comes naturally when two or more people talk together openly. New ideas are just old ideas seen from a new perspective. Think outside the box!
8) Tell stories
Use narratives that engage. Your colleagues, like prospective customers, are busy. It is difficult for them to give you their full attention.
If you want your information to stand out from the rest, you may need to wrap your message in a story. Stories help people contextualize new information into something that is meaningful to them. We’re all trained to shut up and listen when somebody starts a story.
9) Seal the deal
Alec Baldwin kept repeating the ABC of Sales, “Always Be Closing,” as he was playing the charismatic and take-no-prisoner-style sales trainer in the film Glengarry Glenn Ross.
You need to influence your coworkers to explicitly commit. Whether you ask them for a confirmation email or simply shake hands in agreement, you need to seal the deal. People will be far more likely to follow through if you do this.
Find new opportunities.
Salespeople might be looking for new prospects, while you might be looking for new positions. Every opportunity counts, and you could very well find a new and exciting opportunity by going to Jen’s birthday event in the break room.
Every friend starts as a stranger, and establishing a network of friends in your business will yield new and exciting opportunities.
Featured photo credit: Bells Design – gratisography.com via media.lifehack.org