Written by: Tariq Jarrar
About the author: Group Executive Director and Co-Founder of Devmark Group – Dubai. United Arab Emirates
“Life itself is a matter of salesmanship.” – Thomas J. Watson.
Selling skills are not just a vocational requirement but an essential skill for everyday life. In essence, selling is persuasion, a practice that we engage in at an early stage of our lives and continue to do so through our earthly journey.
To demonstrate the importance of persuasion hence selling, in our everyday life, let us examine the life journey of an average human from his birth until retirement, and we will call him baby joe.
- Baby joe is a couple of months old, and he needs to be fed, so he cries frantically – persuasion
- Toddler joe wants that swanky new toy in the store, so he puts on a tantrum– persuasion
- Young joe is trying to ace a job interview– persuasion
- Mid aged joe year-end performance review and he wants a raise – persuasion
A Sale Driven Society
We live in a society driven by persuasion and lead by sales professionals.
According to the U.S. Bureau of labour statistics some 14.5 million people–22 percent of the population–work in sales or related occupations. Extrapolating that same percentage to the world would mean that roughly 1.65 billion people are employed in sales and similar jobs.
According to a study commissioned by author and researcher Daniel pink, we spend 40% of our work time selling something or persuading someone.
Why Should You Become A Sales Professional?
Brian Tracy once described sales as the “Ultimate Default Career.” he probably meant that many people select sales as a career because no other job requires any specific academic qualifications and pays you handsomely.
Salesmanship had come a long way since the 1800s and early 1900s when peddlers promoted fake snake oil to cure a wide variety of ailments, and scientists developed the theorem of phrenology, which is the science of selling cars based on the customer’s forehead size.
With the rise of new sales processes and methodologies supported by sales enablement programs and sales acceleration software, selling has evolved to be a great career in today’s dynamic sales landscape.
There is nothing mysterious or complicated about sales as there is no such thing as a born salesperson. Everything about sales is acquired through learning.
What Are the Benefits of a Sales Career?
The skills acquired and developed in a sales career are diversified and practical, from time and attention management skills to objection handling and closing techniques. Those sets of skills are transferable to any industry, giving you the freedom to move between sectors and provide you with new career opportunities.
Great earning potential.
A sales career offers you the opportunity of great earning potential. There are very few careers offering the income potential that sales careers provide. Your income is based on your performance. The financial rewards are diverse such as commission, quarterly and annual bonuses, trips, prizes, and other perks.
Sales positions come with the benefit of a flexible schedule allowing you to manage your daily agenda and balance your life.
Being in sales and managing your pipeline is like running your own business while still having the security of a steady job and the backing of a company.
A career in sales is one of the most emotionally rewarding jobs. In addition to the sales awards and rewards, there is a great deal of satisfaction from finalizing the deal. The feeling of accomplishment comes from the fact that you are the person responsible for making things happen.
Sales jobs are recession-proof because successful sales professionals are generally among the last to be terminated during an economic downturn.
More benefits of the sales job
- Sales is a career where there is no limit to the success and the financial independence that you can achieve.
- Sales is a job where you are always learning about your capabilities and human physiology.
- Sales is an evolving landscape.
- Sales are not a job; it is a lifestyle.
The Stigma and myth of sales and sales professionals.
It is unfortunate that while every other profession or the perception of those professions has evolved over the last three decades, the sales profession is still trailing an outdated negative stigma that is shrouded by myth and misconception. The image of a sleazy, slimy, pushy, annoying salesperson is still very much alive as it was 30 years ago.
The first myth; successful sales professionals are born.
Fact: Sales skills and techniques that lead to success is through cognitive learning. Successful sales professionals acquire and understand knowledge through their thoughts, experiences.
The second myth; great sales professionals are fast-talking, outgoing extroverts.
Fact: Top performers in the current sales landscape are listening more than talking. They are more into counselling selling than hard-selling.
The third myth; successful sales professionals are aggressive and pushy, fast-talking, back-slapping; I will make you an offer you cannot refuse type.
Fact: Tenacity is a crucial quality for successful sales professionals. However, there is a fine line between being pushy and determined to succeed.
The fourth myth; successful sales professionals don’t need training or coaching.
Fact: There is nothing “natural” about becoming a successful sales professional it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Sales professionals reach success by listening to their coaches and mentors, opening their minds to new sales methodologies.
What Are the Personality Attributes of Top-Performing Sales Professionals?
Passionate – successful sales professionals are authentic. They believe in what they sell, and they validate that with their passion in every way and on every occasion.
Self-motivated and highly focused – successful sales professionals are self-motivated.
Resilient – successful sales professionals keep moving forward regardless of the difficulties or rejections they encounter. They don’t waste time feeling down and sorry for themselves but bounce back mentally, preparing themselves for the next opportunity.
Achievement orientated – successful sales professionals are captivated with achieving their goals and measuring their performance compared to their assigned objectives.
Curious – successful sales professionals are highly inquisitive. They want to know if they can close the deal. They want to see the probability of getting the business at an early stage in the sales process.
Coachable – successful sales professionals are willing to learn and have the ability to adopt new skills and processes.
Essential selling skills of top-performing sales professionals
Outstanding communication skills – successful sales professionals have excellent communication skills. They are good presenters and have a strong command over their verbal and non-verbal communication. They can articulate their thoughts and messages very well and master The three primary methods of communication verbal, nonverbal, and visual. (e.g., phone calls, presentations, pitches.) And written (e.g., proposals, memos, referral requests) communications.
Sales Hustle Tip: Don’t communicate more than three critical points in a single conversation with a buyer. Keep written communications concise. Personalize your communications and conclude your written communications with a call to action and always provide value with your written communications.
Lead qualification – successful sales professionals ask structured questions to gather and analyze information about a prospective buyer that will direct them to which product feature addresses a prospective buyer pain points, therefore, moving them to the next step selling process.
- Close-ended questions
- Open-ended questions
- Confirming questions
- Probing questions
- Summary confirmation questions
Sales Hustle Tip: When asking qualification questions, make sure that you write the answers down so you can revert to them at the closing stage or in case of an objection.
Demo skills – successful sales professionals have excellent demo skills. They understand their product and demonstrate its benefits to a prospective buyer.
Sales Hustle Tip: Bombarding the prospective buyer with too many features (feature dump) and expecting them to understand the related benefit is the wrong approach and can overwhelm and confuse the prospective buyer. Customers are only interested in the features of your product that are relevant to their pain points.
Product knowledge – successful sales professionals are experts on the product they are selling. Their product knowledge can create captivating pitches and connect with the prospective buyers’ pain points.
Sales Hustle Tip: Knowing your product features and benefits is very important, but for your sales pitch to resonate with the prospective buyer, you need to present the benefits in a story like fashion where the prospective buyer is at the centre of the story.
Compelling story selling – successful sales professionals intertwine the product or service they are selling into a larger story that ends with the customer receiving what they want. They articulate their message by telling a story that resonates with their prospective buyer.
Sales Hustle Tip: Stories are how humans communicate. Exploit the power of story selling to connect with the prospective buyer, so keep your narrative short, relevant and above all focused on the prospective buyer’s pain point.
Time management – successful sales professionals view time as their most important commodity. Managing their attention and optimizing their time improves their productivity, creating the environment needed for high performance.
Sales Hustle Tip: Allocating a specific time to a task is not an assurance that the job will receive your full attention. Without attention, the time that you have allocated becomes irrelevant.
Objection handling – successful sales professionals acknowledge and respect their prospective buyer’s objection and respond in a way that alleviates the concern.
Sales Hustle Tip: When facing an objection, understand your prospective buyer real concerns. Is the objection being a real issue for them or just a statement? Make no assumptions.
Social media & social selling – successful sales professionals understand that social media has become a significant part of everyone’s daily life. They use social media to find and engage with their prospective buyers. Successful sales professionals use social media to provide value to prospects by responding to comments, answering questions, and sharing useful content throughout the buying journey.
Sales Hustle Tip: Create content that positions you as an expert in what you are selling and the industry you represent – but remember to keep it simple, relevant, and adds value.
Closing skills – successful sales professionals know that they need to earn the right to ask for a sale. They achieve this right by handling their perspective’s buyers’ concerns and objections. They deserve the right to follow up.
Sales Hustle Tip: The technique that you will employ has to meet the following criteria. It is relevant to the sales process, you have earned the right to close, and the closing technique matches the prospective buyer’s personality.
Client nurturing – successful sales professionals realize that closing the deal doesn’t end the buyer’s journey. They continue to offer additional value by providing the customer with excellent customer service during the implementation stage.
Sales Hustle Tip: Being courteous and friendly with your clients is an excellent place to start, but you need to provide them with valuable advice and efficient help.
Sales process – successful sales professionals, use a well-choreographed and systematic sales process in all situations. They navigate each stage of their sales process based on a sales methodology aligned with their prospective buyer’s purchasing journey.
Sales Hustle Tip: Do not assume that your prospective buyer is ready to move to the next stage in your sales process; validate that by asking questions, handling objections, and adding value.
To be a top-performing sales professional, you need to develop the above attributes and acquire the necessary skills; however, your mindset, personality, and work methods are the entire basis for your professional success and the glue that brings all of the above together and achieve a higher level of salesmanship and results.