With so much noise out there relative to what’s important in B2B sales, here are 12 skills every sales professional should have, in no particular order.
Twelve must have skills for successful B2B selling:
- Attitude – It all starts here. As cheesy as it sounds, the positive sales rep controls his own destiny. The negative ones seem to never escape the muck of their own self-disinterest, doubt, or displeasure. Staying positive allows all of the other skills to do their magic.
- Qualification – Determining who will buy your product is arguably the most important step to any great selling. Sales reps can develop relationships and present the greatest pitch to a brick wall — none of that would matter because the brick wall isn’t buying.
- Research – Going into a sales engagement, research may be your best tool. Knowing the obvious: the person’s company, position, URL, and product is only the beginning. Reading their last tweet, blog post, and knowing what software their company uses may be the difference from a “yes” or “no.” Taking the time to perform quality research demonstrates respect & sets a great tone for meeting.
- Listening – All great sales reps listen well. In order to address the prospect’s needs, it’s important to understand the prospect’s pain points, shortfalls, and needs; the only way to do this well is by listening to them and asking questions. Often times, reps are not listening and instead, crafting their response.
- Overcoming Objections – Prospects want to know why you’re products/services are better and they’re going to ask you tough questions. Communicating deep product and industry knowledge helps navigate prospect objections best. Natural, confident and direct answers to their challenges are absolutely necessary.
- Mind-reading – There is no crystal ball needed. “Mind-reading” in sales is about interpreting pitch, tone, pacing, and many other ways people communicate so you can gauge and feel your customer’s response before they provide it. This helps your decision by highlighting and which is unnecessary.
- Presentation – Performing a demo in person, over the phone, or in person, all have unique presentation characteristics. Make sure your presentation quality is superb in each medium — practice and research are vital.
- Trust-building – Developing trust and building valuable relationships is a significant component of selling and building your network. Start small by sharing your knowledge of the industry, providing what’s best for the customer, and staying in touch with them. At the beginning of the relationship, the best way to earn trust is to make commitments and to always deliver.
- Referrals – There is no warmer lead than a referral. Referrals are the best way to grow your business; it’s also a great indicator if you’re benefiting your customers. If you’re not getting referrals evaluate your approach and look for greater ways to provide value.
- Storytelling – Sharing information about your product can be done in thousands of ways. Find the most compelling way to share your product: 9 times out of 10 it will be through a story. Good stories involve a hero, make the hero your prospect, not you.
- Writing – A great sales rep conveys a point clearly and concisely. For most reps, writing will be the single thing you do more than anything else.
- Closing – Many times sales reps do 99% of the work and reap none of the benefits because they don’t close. Make the process of closing a series of small wins leading up to a done deal. When you get to the end, the paperwork should be a mere formality.