For an organization to sustain continued growth and success, sales must occur at a continuous rate. If there is a sales culture within an organization, then it is more likely to find success over a long period of time. A company where every individual has the necessary skills to understand and nourish what prompts a potential customer to buy will undoubtedly bring in more revenue and outshine their competition. Educating everyone in the company about basic sales skills and showing them how their job affects the revenue of the company is what turns buyers into long-term customers.
For the business development team itself there are 4 areas of essential skills that sales professionals must master in order to build lasting relationships with customers and to learn how to close deals on a regular basis. These are personal skills, relationship skills, professional business skills and return on investment skills. If you hone your knowledge of these skill areas you will be well on your way to becoming a successful sales person.
In addition to focusing on sales skills, everyone in the company must also focus on the clients’ needs. Sales professionals who take the selfish viewpoint will aim to close the deal at all costs. Sometimes this is to the detriment of lasting relationships with clients that could yield less immediate rewards but much larger in the grand scheme of things.
Let’s take a look at the 4 areas that are essential to sales professionals:
– Personal Skills: Ensure that the sales professional is assured and competent with their own skill sets and self awareness.
– Relationship Skills: Ensure that you have good interpersonal skills that can be used collaboratively to build trusting and long term relationship with co-workers, customers and employers.
– Professional Business Skills: Have the ability to plan effectively, ranging from business planning, objective setting and goal definition, metric and measurement of achievements towards targets.
– Return on Investment Skills: The ability to combine all other skill sets to enable sales professionals to maximize the potential from an environment of sales culture. This would be in the form of constantly striving for new innovations, products and service development. Always aiming to improve your services and sustain long term customer relationships.
Take these 4 areas of sales skills and become competent at them. When this has been achieved you have the tools at your disposal to build trusting and business focused relationships with customers. To reiterate the point again, by taking a customer centric viewpoint and combining it with your own sales skills you will engage the customers and your fellow employees in ways that will only sustain growth of sales and the organization as a whole. By taking this standpoint over a more selfish approach, you are giving yourself a better chance of higher monetary and reputational gain as your career progresses.
In order to reach this point you have to put in the long hours of developing your skills. Much of this rests with the sales leaders within an organization. Sales leaders must coach their staff, evaluate and mentor sales professionals and assist them in developing solid plans and opportunities to maximize their ability to lead effective sales campaigns.
If each team member is customer focused and is fully prepared and trained to deliver within their field of expertise, your organization will be on to a winning formula. This system of work provides clarity on connections to the customer and your targets being reached at all times.
If each individual sales professional gets the basics right, the simple stuff that people overlook from time to time, you will bring more value and visibility to your career. Aim to become the best listener and approach clients as real people whom you would like to establish a lasting relationship with.
Treat people as you would wish to be treated, be polite and courteous, engage in compelling and fruitful conversations. Everything else will fall into place; your customer centric viewpoint will allow you to develop long lasting relationships that benefit your customers, the organization you are employed by, and most crucially yourself. Your essential sales skills have progressed from an individual focus to a more general and external focus, and now finally to a strategic focus.
The 4 essential sales skills can take you a long way if used correctly and paired with the customer needs at the center or all of your interactions.
Since 1984, Todd Cohen has coached and led sales teams to deliver more than $500 million in revenue for leading companies including Xerox, Gartner Group, Pensare, Thomson-Reuters, and LexisNexis.
As the Principal of SalesLeader LLC, Todd inspires, advises, and builds high performance sales teams that produce outstanding results. He also provides strategic oversight for sales teams and serves as executive sales coach and advisor to clients ranging from small, rapidly growing start-ups to well-established, large corporations. Todd is a frequent speaker at sales conferences and national association meetings and hosts his own radio show “Let’s Talk Sales Culture.” Todd’s book “Everyone’s in Sales” will be out in summer 2011.
Todd is the founder of The Innovators Club, co-founder of LinkedIn Live Philly, and co-leader of Career Transitions – a non-profit group dedicated to helping professionals in transition. He is a professional member of the National Speakers Association, a board member of the NSA Philadelphia chapter, and serves as chair of the Sales and Marketing group of the Greater Philadelphia Senior Executives Group. Todd has been active in the American Cancer Society as well as several other charitable organizations. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Temple University.
For a free consult about how to create a powerful sales culture for your organization, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-515-9445. For free resources to share with your team, go to http://www.toddcohen.com.
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