8 Ways to Improve Your Sales Skills
A post from our Sales blog
Written by John Boddington
Being a salesperson is tough, especially in the current economic environment. Companies are being harassed by sales calls on a consistent basis, supply often outstrips demand, and it can often feel like you're never going to get anywhere. Just managing to get past the gatekeeper can feel like a success – and that's not a good thing.
But before you start looking at the classified section of your newspaper, consider this: even though the market is flooded with salespeople, the minority are the ones who are any good. This means there's plenty of room to manoeuvre and put yourself in front of the people who will give you business. The following techniques and strategies can help get you there.
1. Use a Mixture of Proven Sales Techniques
Any sales person who even has an ounce of success uses a mixture of proven sales techniques. It's important you get acquainted with the different ways in which you can close a sale. These have been developed and perfected for decades if not longer, giving you a great initial platform on which to base your own personal strategies.
2. Learn to Never Give Up
Don't make the mistake of thinking that successful salespeople are born with a nondescript ‘gift' that gives them an edge over anyone else. The fact is that even the most successful salesperson in the world has undoubtedly gone through countless failures, sleepless nights, and having the urge to call it quits.
That's why even in the depths of failure you need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back in the ring swinging. Never give up. Whether it takes watching Rudy or the Rocky saga, take a page out of what inspires you and keep going until you hit the success you deserve.
3. Keep On Learning
Coupled with that never give up attitude comes the willingness to learn every single day. Take each day at the office as the opportunity to learn something new, adapting your techniques until you find that ‘sweet spot' that works for you.
In addition to seeing each experience as a place to learn, invest dedicated time every day or week sharpening your skills. Whether you decide to read sales books, listen to relevant podcasts, or join a course
, make sure you keep investing in yourself. The long-term rewards are more than worth it.
4. Network, Network, Network!
Success in business isn't just about what you know, but who you know. It's an old adage that still rings in true in every industry, no matter what anyone tells you. Even if you're born with a golden tongue, you're going to need to network
to make things happen for you.
Networking will put you in touch with people who make decisions. Instead of having to battle your way through gatekeepers on a daily basis, you'll have direct lines to those that will allow you to close a sale. You'll meet influential people in the industry
and potential business partners as well.
Doing this is perhaps one of the most significant ways you can improve your sales skills. You'll get the right business cards, your confidence will go through the roof, and you'll learn how to speak to the ones calling the shots. And those are sales skills you won't get from book learning.
5. Improve Your Work Ethic
Many people that say they're simply not succeeding in sales probably share a single quality: they are lazy. They don't work as hard as they should be
- it's as simple as that. Sure, they put in the standard 9 to 5 but that's just not enough.
To take your performances from those of a decent salesperson to one that achieves success consistently, you're going to need to do the work to make it happen. We're not saying you need to get to work at 5am every day and leave when it's just you and the security officer, but make a concentrated effort to do a little bit extra on a daily basis. Even adding a single hour per day will give you an entire working day to achieve your goals.
6. Take Full Responsibility
Humans are a funny bunch. We hardly ever take responsibility for our actions and whenever something goes wrong, we're quick to point the finger in any direction but our own. Whether it's the government, the unfair company director, or the negative influences of friends and family, it's never your fault. Or is it?
It's time to take responsibility for your actions. Realise that there's only one person who's going to make you a successful salesperson and that's you. The minute you take that on-board and you stop making excuses is the minute you've started the path to success in business (and life!).
7. Join a Mastermind Group
Some people call it cheesy, but we call it smart. Joining a mastermind group
could very well be the most important step you take in your sales career. Mastermind groups are essentially collections of people that come together to challenge, encourage, and help each other. For many people, they're integral parts of their success.
Look for a group that's focused on hard work, obtaining results, and having a proactive and positive attitude. You need to be organized, have meetings on a regular basis, and you should hold each other accountable. Encourage one another to match each of your targets – no excuses!
8. Finally, Just Keep On Trucking
These tips are not for those looking for overnight success. While some can be implemented the minute you finish reading, the bottom line is that long-term success is a reflection of hard work and long hours. Be ready to invest in yourself to reap the benefits later on.
It all comes down to keeping on trucking no matter what comes your way. Take each challenge with a positive attitude, learn from your experiences, and keep investing in your process on a daily basis. You'll soon find that you're the authority figure when it comes to attaining success in sales!