How to develop your sales skills

Written by: James White

People often ask whether if Sales is a natural thing or is it something you can nurture and develop.

I am going to share with you a number of key tips, you can use and put in place to develop your sales skills and become brilliant at selling.

NUMBER ONE

SALES CAN BE TAUGHT

It does take work but you can become more successful at sales.  

The first thing I encourage anyone to do is attend some sales training. Have a look online and see if there is a sales training course that you can attend. I run lots of free courses myself (keep an eye out on my website and social media for the different training sessions I run). 

The first thing I say to people is start putting that mindset in the right place to actually think about what are the areas that you need to learn more in than others? 

When you know this you can then look for the right courses and training to support you.

NUMBER TWO

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

The only way you get better at doing something is by practicing. 

I am a big fan of golf and cricket. I watch these sports and I see some of the ambassadors that I work with and I wonder how they got so good at what they do. The answer is that they practice!

The best way you can become good at selling is to practice questions and roleplay sales scenarios.  Start with having some conversations with people and try and act out what would happen in a real-life scenario. How would you react? What questions would you use?

Most people don’t make the time for sales practice because they don’t think it’s important.  Yet, when it comes to winning business, they wonder why they are struggling. Make the time and practice the questions and the phrases that you use.  If you do that, you’re already halfway to feeling more comfortable and confident. 

NUMBER THREE

THE IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC SPEAKING

Most of sales is about listening, but there are also parts of sales that involve you presenting and engaging.

Practising public speaking is essential to building your sales confidence. 

One idea to consider is creating a Facebook group and doing a Facebook Live in that group.  It’s a form of public speaking but from the comfort of home. 

No one likes the thought of going live, especially when no one’s watching, but if you get into the habit of doing it on a regular basis it will build your confidence.  This will in time help you develop your presentations to prospects.

NUMBER FOUR

ASK GREAT QUESTIONS

People who want to learn to be the best at sales, simply need to start here:  just ask great questions!

  • How is that done?
  • Why did this happen
  • What did I do wrong?

Ask questions that help you get to honest answers.  This will help you develop and get the sales results that you want.

The reality is, we don’t know unless we do some self-evaluation of what we’re not doing “right”.  Ask someone to listen to your sales call (or recording) and to share what they think. They might have a perspective that you haven’t considered.

Self-evaluate their feedback.  Revise.  Practice.  Implement. Revise again to see if your adjustments have brought you closer to the result you wanted.  If it didn’t, rinse and repeat!

NUMBER FIVE

DEAR SALES DIARY...

Keep a journal of the sales conversations you’ve had and record what went well and what didn’t. 

  • What did you do really successfully?
  • What parts of the conversation felt uncomfortable?
  • What were you unsure about?

Maybe when it came to discussing the price you got nervous?  If you don’t journal how each meeting went (and keep a record of that conversation), you’re never then going to be able to reflect on what you need to do to improve it.

I suggest keeping this log in a CRM system. Reflect back at the end of the month, identify your weak spots and put a plan in place to solve them.

NUMBER SIX

TRY SOMETHING NEW

Try different techniques on different people you talk to. I’ve sometimes had conversations with people who I know I’ve got no intention of selling to, but I’ll  use the opportunity of the conversation to try a different phrase or technique just to see what reaction I get.  It’s a chance to try new things in an environment that’s not going to risk a deal.  I wasn’t going to do business with them anyway!

Now, I’m not going to say something radical to test whether it will offend someone!  That’s not my intention. 

I’ll use the opportunity to phrase my questions in a different way, adjust my tone  and practice tonality in different circumstances.  By using different phrases at different times with different types of conversation,  you can start to then see what works and what doesn’t.

Do you have an old lead list that you can try this with?  A list of people who you are probably not going to do business with, that you can try and have a conversation with?

Chances are that you’re not going to win anything, so what have you got to lose?  

Make some adjustments, give them a call, try something new.  You never know what reaction you might get, and you’re certainly going to learn something new!

NUMBER SEVEN

IMPROVE YOUR LISTENING SKILLS

Sometimes we all get into that habit of listening to people, but not really listening.  You don’t really HEAR what they were saying.

How many times have you  had to ask, “excuse me, what was that you said?” 

Don’t allow your focus to wander to something else.  Put your phone down, remove distractions, and actually spend time listening to the other person.

Look out for the things they’re not telling you too. For example: their facial gestures, the way in which they say certain phrases, or their body language.

The key thing is to be actively listening to what people are saying (and what they’re not saying).  Only then can you see how your prospects are reacting to the words and phrases that you use.  You can then know what to adjust (if needed) based on the responses you observe.

NUMBER EIGHT

HIRE A MENTOR OR COACH

“Oh well, of course you would say that James.  That’s what you do!”

I really don’t mind who you work with, but work with someone!  Go and find someone that you can actually have a conversation with that can help you develop your skills.

Most people that buy resources or mentorship tell you that the reason they buy is so they can shortcut the process.  They want to learn what to do and what not do do so they can avoid making those mistakes and win business in the future.  They know that if they don’t do that, they’re going to continue on a part of uncertainty, and it is hard work!  It takes time and effort.

The best way to avoid that is to purchase or work with someone, and fast track your skills to success!

There are plenty of Mentors and Coaches out there (myself included).  I’ll happily listen to a sales call with you for 30-minutes, and there’s no obligation at all.

The key about all of this is that you have to be prepared to look in the mirror when things go wrong.  In my business when things happen, when things don’t go the way I expected them to, I don’t blame other people.  I look myself squarely in the mirror and I’m at fault.

Accountability is the key thing you have to develop when you want to be successful in sales and business.

Hopefully applying all of these tips will help you to get the sales success you want. Sales can be taught and you can become good at selling.

I wasn’t born a salesperson but I have developed my skills over time and it has enabled me to enjoy a great life and win great business.

If you want to do the same, commit to developing, learning, and listening.  Commit to building your skillset. Commit to practising.  Commit to developing the skills you need to and you will become successful in sales.

If you want a resource to help you improve you selling take a look at our 52 of the best sales qualifying questions that you can use to help improve your qualifying process in sales conversations.

Publish date: 20 May 2022

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