To me, learning the “soft skills” are what separates good salespeople from great salespeople. And soft skills are all about communication.
Anyone can follow an email script, make 100 calls a day and punch in and out of a clock. But soft skills require thoughtfulness, finesse, tact.
Here are a few soft skills that can elevate your skillset:
A friend of mine preaches that “the work comes before the belief.” As you do the work over and over, you’ll be continually more confident. I felt better about my 100th sales call than I did about my 7th.
Confidence also comes from feeling prepared and self-talk. Why do you think Muhammed Ali called himself “The Greatest” when he was only a contender? You can trick your mind into thinking you can do it.
Listening is probably the most overlooked skill in sales. It’s not about being a fast-talking, gun-slinging cowboy. It’s about listening to what people say, listening to what they don’t say and taking notes. The best salespeople are the best listeners.
I remember my first day of sales training, our CEO came in to give a speech. He claimed he wasn’t all that bright but he stood out as a young sales rep by the way he listened, took mountains of notes, and remembered what people said.
Don’t believe me? Next time you remember someone’s name or that their daughter plays soccer, look at how their face lights up when you bring it up.
These things matter.
Making a sale is not about you. Repeat: making a sale is not about you.
It’s about THEM. How can you help them do their job better, make their life easier, get them their bonus? When you flip the script, everything changes.
I’ve heard advice to literally ask your customers how they make their bonus and to form a plan to help them get there however possible. If you help me hit my bonus, I’m a customer for life.
Be a giver and the world will give back tenfold.
This is often a byproduct of listening and empathy. It’s really about playing the long game. Forget about your monthly quota. You want this person to be a client for 10 years. You want to be friends. You want them to call you on day 1 at their next company.
I can’t tell you how many of our team’s deals this year came from a relationship. “Oh Gary, I worked with him 10 years ago. I love that guy!”
All of the above skills are learned, not necessarily naturally given. You can improve all of them by working hard. But only if you believe you can.
Read “Mindset” by Carol Dweck and you’ll pick up what I’m putting down. Pride yourself on being a learner, a grower.
You may not have these skills yet, but you will. Believe that.
It’s not “one thing”, it’s everything. There’s a woman on your sales team that I admire quite a bit. She knows this. I was trying to distill why I felt this way.
It isn’t because she’s confident, because she reads on the weekends, because she has amazing relationships with customers or that I feel good when I talk to her. It’s all of that. She’s a true professional. Sales is her craft, not a job.
How you do anything is how you do everything.
Treat the job as a craft and your career will skyrocket.