Good sales practice isn’t about trickery or nasties, it’s about connecting on a human level, showing that you care and then delighting your customer by delivering an exceptional service.
I love sales. It’s not a career I actively chose for myself, but one that I fell into after finishing university and managing to get a job as a client administrator. I’d had various jobs up to that point which had involved serving customers and matching their needs to solutions but had never considered myself to be a salesperson. At that time, I remember categorising salespeople into two groups: those that won the business and those that looked after it. Those that won the business were rarely in the office and often had long lunches with clients or entertained them into the evening while trying to persuade them to buy. Those that looked after the business were generally tied to their desks as they tried to make sense of what their colleagues had sold and how they would operationally be able to deliver this!
Not everyone fit into these two categories, though. Even at this early stage of my career there were individuals that stood out for me as being different. That was a long time ago now and a lot has changed in the world of sales. What was then considered to be acceptable and the norm isn’t considered to be acceptable or the norm today. However, the core skills required to succeed have stood the test of time and it is by mastering these that the best salespeople set themselves apart from their peers.
The best salespeople are brilliant at grasping the basic skills and amplifying the impact of these throughout the sales process. They don’t need to play games, hide behind excuses or be deceitful. They have a natural and innate ability to connect on a human level and have an unwavering belief in what they do, how they do it and who they are.
The world-class competencies associated with these individuals include their ability to:
- Listen – intently, including to what isn’t being said.
- Empathise – connect with what their customer is feeling about the challenges they face.
- Question – know what to ask and how in a tactful and deliberate manner.
- Be curious – have a genuine and natural inquisitiveness that is rooted in their understanding of the issues and desire to find solutions.
- Adapt – embrace change positively and see it as an opportunity.
The best salespeople aren’t concerned if they hear a customer say no, or about admitting that their product or service isn’t suitable. They value the needs of their customers and have an internal code of conduct that places these first. They are not selling for the sake of selling. Good sales practice isn’t about trickery or nasties, it’s about connecting on a human level, showing that you care and then delighting your customer by delivering an exceptional service.
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