Improve your sales skills even if you aren’t in sales
Sales, regardless if you are an actual salesperson or not, is just part of life and your career. Sales doesn’t always mean selling a product or service to a customer, in fact, you are probably giving sales pitches just about every day. That’s right, every time you pitch an idea, make a suggestion, or even go on a job interview, you are “pitching” yourself. So how can you improve your sales skills if you don’t pitch people often?
First off, selling kinda has a bad rap. You typically think of a sleazy used car salesperson, telemarketer, or door to door salesperson. But if you think about it, sales is really the most fundamental life skill. People think sales is pushing someone to buy something they don’t need, want, or can afford. But really, sales is moving someone to take action. And if you think about everything you did today, I’d bet quite a few of your actions involved selling. Am I right?
People are often uncomfortable with sales because they 1. Don’t understand it and 2. Can’t get past the used car salesman cliché. Selling is all about persuading, inspiring, and leading. It’s about collaboration and driving change. The best salespeople make you feel like the sale was your idea. Why? Because you trusted them, they had a genuine interest in your problem, they provided a solution that they knew would fix your problem. You wanted to buy from them.
People often buy for 2 reasons, to gain pleasure or avoid pain. Your job is to figure out which one it is. Sales really is about networking and listening to your customers. Find out who the decision-makers are, learn as much about them ahead of time as you can. When you talk to them take an empathic approach, one that focuses on understanding the other person and what they need. Serve, not sell.
What do the best salespeople have in common? They plan and practice. You wouldn’t show up to a golf tournament and expect to win having never swung a golf club in your life, right? The best in the biz have mentors and coaches who help them practice and make sure their conversation flows – they help them improve their delivery. Practice on friends, peers, coworkers, family, etc. until you get your pitch just right.
Making your “pitch” can be very nerve-wracking at times, but even with all that adrenaline flowing, it’s important to stay calm and not ramble. People don’t want to listen to someone drone on and on about how great something is. Selling should be a conversation, not a lecture.
A good salesperson knows when to fold ‘em and when to walk away. Yes, the late, great Kenny Rogers knew what he was talking about. Most salespeople hear no at least a few times before they make a sale, but they know when to press on, because that no is really a “not yet”, and when to throw in the towel. They are flexible and understand the path that their customer has to take in order to move forward.
Sales is a numbers game – it’s highly possible you will fail more than you succeed. However, it’s important that you don’t quit. You need courage and to always remember the long game. Sales is never rarely a one and done deal, and most times it’s actually not about you. If a customer is happy where they, they won’t get pleasure from buying and aren’t experiencing pain, then now is not the time. Check back in 3 months.
Have any great sales advice to add, we’d love to hear it! We also wrote a blog on increasing sales without a sales team, check it out.