The word “selling” often implies manipulating, pressuring, cajoling…a number of high pressure salesman stereotypes.
If you instead think of “selling” as explaining the logic and benefits of a decision, then everyone needs sales skills. In essence, sales skills are communication skills, and communication skills are critical in any business or career.
Here are nine basic selling skills everyone needs in order to be more successful:
1. Researching customers
Whether you’re selling to an external customer or an internal one (like your boss), the more you know about the buyer, the easier it is to influence their decisions.
2. Creating rapport
The first decision every customer makes is: “Do I want to do business with this person?” To create a quick connection, be curious, be personable, and care about other people.
3. Asking questions
If you can’t satisfy a customer’s real needs, you can’t make a sale. And if you don’t ask the right questions, you’ll never know what your customers need and won’t be able to help.
4. Listening actively
When customers are talking, it’s not enough to keep your mouth closed. You must also keep your mind open to discover ways to truly be of service.
5. Getting commitments
Every contact with a potential customer should result in a commitment from the customer—an agreement to do something that will move the process forward.
6. Presenting solutions
Once you’ve learned how you can help, you must be able tell the customer’s story with you and your product playing a key role in helping the customer succeed.
7. Closing the “sale”
At some point, you’ve got to ask for a decision. The “close” will emerge as a natural part of the conversation if you’ve exercised the previous skills.
8. Building relationships
Your goal should always be to build a life-long relationship rather than to merely make a short-term sale.
9. Feeling grateful
People who approach selling (and life) with a sense of gratitude squeeze more joy out of success and experience less disappointment when they fail.