“People will try to convince you that you should keep empathy out of your career. Don’t accept this false premise.”
Life as a sales professional looks different now than it did last year. With the pandemic disrupting traditional ways of doing business, sales reps need the right blend of soft and hard skills to succeed. Have you helped your sales reps adapt their skills to meet the moment? Tess Townsend, a writer for the Salesforce blog, says that now is a great time to refine some important skills.
In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discuss Townsend’s thoughts on the five skills sales reps should develop now.
This skill will take your reps far today and in the future. Train them to see things from the customer’s perspective and to be sensitive to each person’s unique situation. Instead of ending a sales call with an ask, consider closing with an open-ended question. Townsend suggests asking something like, “How is your business adjusting?” or “How has it been working from home for you and your team?” By sharing a little of your experience, you can help build a connection. For example, perhaps both you and your client are working while homeschooling kids. Look for ways to empathize to help authentically connect with the other person.
2. Data fluency
How often do you and your sales team look at important data, such as industry trends and territory data? While you do not need to be an expert in manipulating data, you should know how to analyze it for your sales team. For example, if you see that your reps are booking meetings in certain industries such as real estate or professional services, you can lean into these fields.
3. Customer research
According to Townsend, being able to build knowledge about your sales prospects is another key sales skill worth honing right now. She notes that reps in high-performing organizations are more than twice as likely to monitor customer purchase history and customer staffing changes than their underperforming counterparts.
4. A knack for communicating virtually
In a time when most sales meetings occur over the phone or via a video call, your sales reps should work on developing their virtual presence. Make sure their computer is set up to run video calls, ensure they have proper internet connect, and test the picture to make sure it isn’t blurry. You can look at getting your reps an external mic or webcam, when necessary. Train your reps to keep a light source in front of their face and to keep their camera positioned at eye level, adds Townsend. And to be considerate of your clients’ needs, always ask if they prefer a video call or phone call.
5. The ability to build relationships
Sales is still all about relationships, even though you may not see your customers face to face. That’s why being able to build relationships, even under changing circumstances, is one of the most critical sales skills today. Seek out ways to connect with your clients, whether that’s hosting a webinar or inviting them to a livestreamed class.
While selling during a pandemic poses many challenges, the basic objective of meeting buyers’ needs and solving customers’ problems remains unchanged. By training your sales reps to step up with the skills above, you can demonstrate that they are trusted advisors and build meaningful relationships with your clients, even in a difficult market.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Tess Townsend is a freelance journalist who contributes to the Salesforce blog.