Face to face selling skills can benefit you in so many ways even if sales is not the career path that you are taking. According to Kenny Brooks, the from The Greatest Sales Pitch Jamie Fox said: “2 years of selling door to door is equivalent to 4 years of a college degree in communication since we interact with many people.” These skills will compliment any career path you decide to go down but you will definitely need in a sales environment
1. Time Management
Time management is a skill that can be easily learned by first figuring out your priorities and writing them out. The best way to manage your day is to write a list out of all the tasks you need to do for the day. Prioritize your task in order of the things that are the most important things to do that will lead you to your goals. Brian Tracy talks about eating the frog first in his book titled “Eat The Frog” or in other words do the hardest tasks first. Knock those out immediately and you will immediately have an accomplished feeling. This will give you momentum to carry out the remaining tasks that you have on your list. Making a list for your daily tasks helps you to get things done. The whole psychology of this is first off we all know the things that we need to do but it is kind of all bunched up in your head. We generally all do the easiest not so meaningful task and push off a task that may be the most important thing that gets you closer to your goals if it is a perceived “hard task”. Not writing out your tasks in a list can have a negative effect because if you don’t get your meaningful tasks completed this can lead to depression and feeling unworthy of anything.
2. Qualifying Prospects
This skill is extremely important so you will lower the amount of time spent non-buyers compared to real buyers. The best way to determine this is to ask questions. You need to ask questions that give a tangible quantifiable answer. For example, if you are a real estate agent you would need to first find out if your prospect has sufficient credit, money saved for a down payment and of course if they can handle the monthly payment.
There is also another aspect to this. Not all the time customer will be willing to give you this vital information. They might give you what I like to call smoke screen objections. These are silly objections but they are not real reasons not to buy. For instance, some customer might initially say “Your product cost too much” which in other words they are asking “How can you make your product worth it or affordable for me to buy?”. Another common smoke screen objection is the commonly heard “Not Interested” which I go over on how to overcome “Not Interested” here . These type of objections should never be taken as serious reasons for the customer not to buy.
This actually reminds me of a story when I was a field manager. I had a huge amount of new recruits that had just finish our “New Hire Training”. One of the new hires had missed our objection training but I still sent all the new hires to the field to sell. Every new hire was successful except for the one that missed the training. I immediately started questioning him and asked: “What was the major obstacle that held you back from getting any sales?” His response to me was “Everybody was really nice and friendly but I just did not find anyone that was interested. Almost everyone I talked to just told me they were not interested. I am pretty sure I will find someone interested tomorrow.”
3. Develop Rapport
There is a classic book that has stood the test of time called “How To Win Friends and Influence People”. You can get actually get a free copy of this e-book on my site HERE. This book will teach you how to basically do what the title says “how to win friends and influence people”. This book originally published in 1936 and any other content related to this subject is either a mirror of this book or built on top of where this book leaves off. In essence, this book is the foundation of building rapport.
The main message you get out of this book, in general, are techniques in handling people, ways to make people like you, and ways to win people to your way of thinking.
I will provide a few examples but get the free e-book that we provide so you can get a complete understanding.
In handling people the book says to never criticize, condemn or complain. Since most people don’t like to admit their faults. Let alone someone pointing out their fault will not make you a type of person someone would want to be around. When getting people to like you it says to be a good listener and encourage people to talk about themselves. Lastly, one example to win people to your way of thinking is to respect other people’s opinions and never say someone is wrong.
4. Critical Thinking/ Problem Solving
One of the best of things I love about sales is that every day is always different. There are things that you least expect always seem to come up. Sometimes you come across unusual situations. To be an effective salesperson you have to critically think and solve problems that you may have never seen. One good example of this is when you are selling a home or even a car. Many times you are going to have to be creative and figure out a payment plan that your buyer will agree upon. It could be from putting a huge down payment or maybe a small down payment but extending the life of the contract with bigger payments. These are the type of skills you are going to need for the unordinary situations that come up. Everything in sales is not a cookie cutter or one size fits all situation. This is a key component to closing a sale. You have to figure out how to get your product to customize each and every customer. The product is the same but your customers are not the same.
5. Handling Objections
I have said many times objections are not real reasons why someone should not buy from you. These are just excuses to throw you off since most people don’t want to be sold. Brian Tracy says that in sales you will have about 6 common objections that you hear all the time. Now, these 6 objections will be different for every industry in sales. The best way I have found to handle objections is to have a preplanned script to use as a rebuttal for these objections. So figure out what are your 6 common objections. For example one of my common objections that I would hear is “Not Interested”. I explained how I would overcome the “Not Interested” objection here. Something you might hear is “I’m busy” or maybe “Your Product cost too much”. Since these are common objections that you hear all the time it would be a great idea to have a preplanned response.
6. Active Listening
Actively listening means just as it says actively listening but not just with your hearing but all senses. It means you are not just listening but you are concentrating on listening to understand. This is a skill that can be developed with practice.
You can develop this skill by doing the following
a. Asking Questions
Make sure you are asking relevant questions pertaining to the subject
When you show repeat or paraphrase what someone is telling you this demonstrates that you are paying attention
You have to make sure you clearly understand what the speaker’s messages is. You can ask questions for clarity
Repeating back the message that was being conveyed in your own words shows that you have been pay attention
7. Negotiation and Persuasion skills
Negotiating and persuading people to think like you are thinking is a skill most people might think they can’t learn or it might be difficult to learn. I go over negotiation tactics here. The negotiating skills can be easily learned and to work for you.
When it comes to the art of persuasion it reminds me of a fable of the sun and the wind.
Once upon a time the sun and the wind had a disagreement. They were trying to see who was the most powerful. They decided to have a challenge. The challenge was to see who can persuade a man to take off his coat. The wind inhaled a huge amount of air and blew out the biggest wind he can. The stronger the wind was blowing the man seem to cling on to his coat tighter and tighter. When it was the sun’s turn he just incrementally increased the heat slowly but surely the man decided to take off his coat.
This fable is trying to say it is better to persuade people to do something on their own will instead of trying to force someone to do something. That is the ideal way to persuade someone to do something you want them to do. There are other ways to persuade someone to do something you want them to do but they are less effective and that is by nagging at someone to do something or by coercion or trickery.
8. Closing Techniques
They say a close is, in essence, a transfer of emotion. Anytime anyone makes a decision to do something is going to be based on emotion. There are various closing techniques and you should have a few learned as part of your sales toolbox. The most common one that I use is explained here in this article I wrote on “Yes Momentum”. Generally speaking, when it comes to closing it is best to start with the end in mind. Meaning whatever type of technique you are going to use make sure you frame your presentation that will lead to your close. All salespeople need to learn these skills because without a structured close you do not get any sales, you do not make any money and that makes you just a conversationalist.
9. Leadership skills
By definition, if you have no influence or anyone following you then you are not a leader. The good thing about becoming a leader is that it can be learned. There are many ways to influence people but an overall view of leadership requires trust. People that will follow you will have to trust that you are going to lead them to a place that will benefit them. To become a good leader that leads quality people it would be beneficial to you that you keep learning and getting better. The more you improve on yourself the higher caliber people of people that will follow you. The thing is people won’t just follow you because you may seem smarter than them. In the purest form of leadership, people will not follow you based on your title, obligation, or any tangible incentive. People will follow you based a belief you will lead them to be better off than their current situation. Another reason would be they want to help achieve a mutual goal. Even with all that people sometimes might not follow you unless you are able to connect with them or show there is some commonality between you and them. On top of that, you can have all the points I mention but you can get people not to follow you until they believe that you care for their interest and their interest play a part in a decision making.
Now, of course, all that I mentioned so far is leadership in its purest form but you can also get people to follow you based on incentive or financial gain. This type of leadership does and can work but can lead to followers unloyal to you but loyal to the financial gain.
There is so much when it comes to leadership and one paragraph would not do it justice so I would recommend reading books by Leadership Guru John C. Maxwell. Mr. Maxwell has an intune in-depth perspective on leadership that is easy to understand.
The last face to face selling skill that you need to be successful in recruiting. Almost every successful sales force had a healthy recruiting program. If you are able to recruit quality people then you can become a greater asset than any top sales reps. The top salesperson is just one person but if you can recruit many quality sales reps that means you are contributing more production than that top sales rep. Recruiting is a skill that can be developed over time with a lot of practice.
There is a saying that goes “if you recruit everywhere you go then you don’t have to go anywhere to recruit.” Meaning if you have an opportunity available you should be talking to everyone wherever you go about it. That is exactly how you develop this skill is by trying to recruit everyone and eventually, you will get good at it just by understanding what you say that works and doesn’t work. Over time you will be able to determine that.