Smart Sales People Keep Learning
Smart sales people keep studying techniques, processes, buying-psychology as well as keep up with the latest technology to manage and connect with customers.
Selling can be a tough job and on top of that customers are changing the way they buy. The question is how do the best sales people keep ahead of the rest? They keep learning and challenge the status quo to ensure they have a true customer centric framework that links the right product to the right customer at the right price.
Experience is a factor. The most common ways of acquiring a new skill and improving on it is by experimenting with different ideas and learning from trial and error. Not only can you hone your skills, but you can also identify and scrap the stuff that does not work in your sales pipeline. However, this is not good enough.
We strongly recommend that customers shouldn’t be used in this way and as sales professionals we need to be better. We need to make sure that customers get the best version of us and our solution.
The reality is that to be good at what you do, you need to practice – and that can take time, patience and perseverance. In fact, some experts argue that to master a skill, you need to accumulate many hours of practice and be intrinsically motivated. But most of all it takes bravery to practice as we tend to think of “Role Plays” every time we hear the word “practice” and remember that smart-aleck who made the experience horrible the last time you did it!
The good news is you don’t need to practice all the time with someone else; you can start simply by just testing how something sounds when you say it out loud. We are all more articulate in our heads than when we go to say it; the best way to test this is to practice how introductions, product overviews, key questions, key objections etc sound.
There are other techniques you can use to reduce the amount of practice you need to do when doing something new:
1. Learn what others are doing and get an edge
There is a heap of awesome books about a variety of tools and techniques that can broaden your experience, challenge your way of thinking and open your mind to the kinds of things people do and what is out there. Not only will you get inspired to try new stuff, you can also improve on what you’re currently doing, as well as discovering state of the art thinking. These days there are heaps of ways to access this information, some sources are books, sales podcasts, audiobooks etc.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Difficult Conversations, some interesting reads are SPIN Selling, The Challenger Sale, The 10X Rule, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Agile Selling, The New Solution Selling, and The Psychology of Selling
2. Stay up to date
The truth is, it’s no longer about WHAT you sell, but WHAT problem your product or service solves in your customer’s business or home.
Fundamentally, sales are about problem solving and persuasion – and if you want to be successful you need to understand how to do both. The ONLY way a customer will give you time and information for you to truly understand how to add value is if they trust you. They need to perceive that you are personally trustworthy as well as professionally credible.
You need to continually look at building your trust continuum with your personal traits as well as your credibility, so you can demonstrate the value you and your solution will offer your customers. After all, if you can make the right connections, build trust and provide solutions, instead of being a pushy salesperson, you can be embraced as a trusted associate who is able to deliver results.
3. Develop the right personal skill set
To succeed in sales, it’s not all about the knowledge you have of sales tools and sales techniques. In addition, successful sales people develop the personal strength to push through the procrastination, fear and uncertainty that are inherent within the sales profession.
Direct your focus and learning around the Growth Mindset to ensure you set yourself up to be resilient, confident and motivated. Being able to dust yourself off after something that hasn’t worked is critical for success.
Thomas Edison famously said, “I didn’t fail, I simply found 10,000 that wouldn’t work” He didn’t give up and finally found the way the light bulb will work.
4. Train, Train and Train
These days there are all sorts of ways to access training. The traditional class-room type of course is still useful however, you can have a variety of other ways to access training. There are webinars that are often topic centric; there are micro trainings that enable a 5-10 min focus on a specific area, there are several eLearning’s you can access that are available through Training organisations, Tertiary organisations as well as all sorts of cool short training on YouTube. On LinkedIn you can increase your subscriptions and have access to their online programmes where there are some great courses on a variety of sales topics.