Sales skills are some of the most valuable, applicable talents you can possess in today’s (small) business world. While you may think that being a good salesperson only applies to selling products, it’s important to realize that commodities are not the only important things that are sold.
You also have to sell good ideas to your colleagues or supervisor, and if you’re just getting into the job market, you have to be able to sell yourself and make people aware of everything you bring to the table. Sales skills aren’t just reserved for marketing geniuses or people who have a passion for selling products. It is important for you to learn strategies that can be applied to any sales situation, whether it involves, you, ideas, or merchandise. Read on for some tips about improving your sales skills.
Research, Research, Research
One of the most important things you can do when you have to sell something is to learn about the “buyer.” Whether it’s a customer or your boss, make yourself familiar with this person’s objective, and learn about his or her “buying” behaviors. For example, if you’re trying to get a raise and you know that your boss has a particular fondness for a certain skill you possess, make sure you highlight that skill and give concrete examples of how it has helped in the past and will come in handy on future projects.
Also, when you have done your research and learned about what this buyer wants, you will be able to thoroughly outline and discuss what he or she will be gaining from the transaction. Knowing obstacles you might face with this person is just as useful, because you can anticipate issues that might arise and knock them down, one by one.
When you go to sell something, a critical element is to be absolutely familiar with what you’re selling. That doesn’t just mean you should expound upon all of your product’s virtues, either. Knowing the downsides of something will allow you to address them and turn them into positives.
If you’re applying for a job, for example, a prospective employer might ask why there is a lapse in your employment history. While this can be frightening, being prepared with the answer will give you the opportunity to outline your case and discuss what can be done to improve it. This point ties in with the section above about researching possible obstacles you might encounter.
If you’re selling an actual, physical product, memorize all of the specs and uses for it. Make sure you know everything about it, from where it’s made, to what it does. You don’t want a customer knowing more about it than you do before you begin trying to sell it.
Know Your Objective
While it’s always important to know every detail about what you’re selling, it’s also important to be aware of your audience and whom you are serving. It seems natural to see a customer as “the other side” of the deal, but you must also take into account the fact that you are really working together with that other person, even when you’re selling something to him or her.
One of your most important responsibilities is to ensure that your customer is satisfied and that the person knows you are there to help him or her. You work for yourself and your company, but you also work for the customer. Often, you are an important liaison between your customer and your company, but one of your main objectives is to serve your customer’s needs. This might take a little bit of mental rearranging, but you want to be in the mindset of collaboration and assistance and behave like a negotiation specialist. Don’t pit yourself against the customer and see the person as an obstacle.
With these tips in mind, you should be able to sell almost anything you need to, whether it’s you, a product, or a pitch for an idea. You don’t have to be equipped with the gift of a silver tongue or a predisposition for sales excellence. It takes practice, but the more you utilize these tips, the better you’ll become. There’s so much more to sales than just signing a contract; covering your bases will allow you to succeed in any sales situation.