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10 Sales Skills to Help You Excel at Work

10 Sales Skills to Help You Excel at Work

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:

1) Research

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?

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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

Be curious.

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

10) Network

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

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

Physical Signs

Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

Mental Signs

One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

  • The tension in your neck
  • Difficulties with sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • High anxiety
  • Depression

If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

Desire for an Increase of Salary

The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

Overnight Decision

Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

Rejected for a Promotion

I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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Bored at Work

Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • How long have you worked in your career?
  • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
  • Do you receive recognition?
  • Can you consider working in a new department?

If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

  • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
  • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
  • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

How to Make a Career Change Successfully

The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

1. Write a Career Plan

A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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You can learn how to set your career plan here.

2. Weigh Your Options

If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

  • Economic factors
  • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
  • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
  • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
  • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

    A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

    4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

    A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

    • What is required to be successful in the role?
    • What certification or educational development is needed?
    • What are the challenges of the role?
    • Is there potential for career advancement?

    A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

    Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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    5. Research Salary

    Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

    It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

    6. Be Realistic

    If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

    For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

    Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

    7. Volunteer First

    A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

    Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

    Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

    8. Prepare Your Career Tools

    I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

    • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
    • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
    • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
    • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

    Bottom Line

    It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

    Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

    More About Career Change

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
    [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
    [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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