30th Nov, 2018
, , Designation
It is not a fair world, in fact, it never was, and it may never be. It may sound contradictory but some form of disbalance or skew may always be there, and that tilt is the reason for something to be marked as better or worse.
In the world of sales reps also, there are some who’re excelling beyond comprehension, who are slaying the technological advances much faster than their peers and whose lead kitty is always ringing with newer entries.
And then, there is the other lot who may be putting an equal amount of hard work but still struggling to meet their quotas and complete their logs. So, indeed, there lies askew. It’s high time for salespeople to think about where they lie in this graph plot – towards the successful extreme or the constant hustler brigade team or the most common – the average ouncers.
What are the stakes?
The difference had been there since the beginning with salespeople floating from one side of achievement or ability matrix to the other but with the b2b sales world becoming a high-tech ground, the weeding process of the lesser-performing ones have started at a risky speed.
Also, a recent industry research shows that on an average a salesperson spends only one-third of his time in actual selling while rest of the time, he is spending in research, meetings, calls, data management etc. Such a small window makes the task of differentiating oneself from the other, further tougher.
Hence, the ramifications of complacency or stagnation are high while the hourglass is already in motion for the sales reps to make themselves indispensable or otherwise, perish.
Understanding the skill-trait maze of the sales world
Earlier, companies used to treat the function of selling as a homogenous one – the one with the skills to sell could be called a good sales rep. Sounds ambiguous, isn’t it? Things are not that simple anymore.
As the world moves towards a complex conundrum, modern organizations possess a clearer picture of the specific skill-set and desired traits of a competent salesperson as per their varied functions.
Literally meaning expertise or ability required for selling, these can be further divided into subsets.
- Soft skills being more of a person’s aptitude to perform a certain task based on the abilities, are accrued over time by self-learning and majorly constitutes the art of dealing/ connecting with people. For example, skills required for effective business communication or conflict-resolution will fall under this bracket.
- Hard skills, on the other hand, comprise of the technical expertise learned by the salesperson to be able to do his/her job better. For example, the skills required for leveraging digital marketing tools for better customer outreach or knowledge of tech-tools for giving a sales-tech product/ service demo will come under this umbrella.
- Apart from these two, there are also role-specific skills which cater to the expertise related to a specific function. For example, a person working in the functional domain of deal closures need to have special negotiating skills to master his trade.
Unlike skills which are learned or acquired, traits have more to do with a person’s intrinsic tendencies or attitude. For example, how introvert, extrovert or ambivert a salesperson is, may determine the proactivity and ease of interaction with customers or prospects for him/her. Similarly, his/her ability to adapt to changes will determine his acceptance or aversion levels for new tactics/tools or even ideas.
5 Undisputed skills and traits which goes into making an indispensable salesperson
Developing a heightened affinity with technology is no doubt the foremost element required not just for excelling but even surviving in this dynamic age, for the salespeople. However, beyond that also, there is a long list of skills and traits when it comes to mastering the art of effective selling.
Here we have put together a list of 5 super-hacks which can transform an average sales rep into an unstoppable lead generator, so read on:
Leverage the magic of referral selling – the social way
As per researches conducted by industry bodies and reputed global business schools, people are 4 times more likely to buy when they have received a reference from somewhere and even the lifetime value for a new referral customer is 16% higher in comparison to non-referrals. Quite certainly, impact speaks louder than self-quoted numbers on those pitch presentations.
Even if you want to side-stride through these numbers, you cannot ignore the exponentially increasing socially-influenced aspect of customers. With the trend of social-selling seeing an upswing, a sales rep who is able to build ample social proofs in the form of third-party validations will set himself apart from the herd.
Master the skills of persuasive writing
Sales are not just about phone calls or face to face meetings anymore. In fact, with increased automation, the extent of human interaction is going leaner and leaner day-by-day.
Hence, while a salesperson must be a persuasive talker but given the paucity of time at both seller and buyer’s end and the speed at which decisions are taken, mastering all forms of communication – written or verbal, is mandatory to make that crack.
Remember, even a short text can act as a brief yet make or break pitch, hence, learn to put together that effective mail or sales copy asap if you want to become an unstoppable sales rep.
Develop a critical thinking attitude
We are living in the times where innovation sieves the good from the regular and the same is becoming a growing expectation on the buyers’ turf as well. Instead of those run-of-the-mill presentations and solution ideas, the customer is looking for that extra bit which you’d bring on the table.
It is indeed the age of consulting plus co-creating, hence, not remaining stuck on a proven, symmetrical methodology but being open and proactive about innovative problem-solving ideas is what will differentiate you from your peers.
With a plethora of technology tools and automation already bombarding the sales domain, the ability to sift through the information, focusing on the relevant bits and developing a critical thought-process beyond machines is what will separate the performers from the standard lot.
Become a compelling storyteller
It’s often said, captivating your target audience is as much an art as it is a science. Tracing its history to childhood engagement, stories have been an impactful medium to get the other person act as per your intent. Time and again, researches have shown the contribution of psychological reactions in getting a nod or not, from the customer.
As a sales rep, if you’re able to apply the principles of logic and psychology to create a success-experience mental imagery in the minds of your audience – you’re already on the fast-forward mode in comparison to your subordinates.
Hone a strong command over visual tools
We keep on hearing about how sales analytics and business intelligence tools are changing the way people are selling or buying. The reason behind that is simple – it is an era of impactful narratives.
Sales sprout from data but it is the narratives which make sense of that data and imparts characters to the insights and thus, it not just makes it presentable but even defines the ease quotient of its consumption.
As a sales rep, mastering the most new-age visual tools for creating a captivating demo or presentation is a sure-shot way to make a lasting impact on the customer/ prospect’s mind, thereby, increasing your chances of receiving a good news!
In fact, this is a must-have skill-set if you want your presentations and demos to look different from the million others which are floating in the market otherwise.
Time to take the plunge
Sales are now far-away from its traditional avatar and hence if you want to sit back and enjoy a hot sip while thinking about the big-ticket account you brought in last month or the impressive number of years of experience you hold in the sales domain – times are not seeming good for you!
Time is fleeting faster than anyone could have imagined and the challenges plus the potential opportunities are springing from every corner. The competition is not just between organizations but has trickled down to the interior territories of your work bays as well.
In such times, the salesperson who will stand out will take home the lead while the rest may face the weeding axe of automation sooner than later.
Please share with us the hacks beyond these, which you feel are unmissable for any salesperson who wants to make a killing instead of just riding on the regular road.