According to Harvard, 85% of job success comes from having well developed soft skills compared to just 15% coming from technical skills and knowledge.
People do business with people, so it’s clear that a salesperson must be able to build rapport with their prospect, this is absolutely key. But it’s a trap to think that just building a tonne of rapport with a prospect is going to close deals.
I once read, “If you are not a pushy salesman, then ask yourself, what is wrong with your product?”.
There is a fine line between being assertive and being pushy. But at the end of the day, to be effective in sales; there are times when assertiveness is essential.
If a salesperson, business owner or CEO truly believes in the value of their product or service, and they are interacting with a qualified prospect – then they should have no problem in being assertive when it matters. It is the salesperson’s responsibility to guide their prospect to make the best decision for them. This means going for the close in every potential deal, and asking for sales.
The ability to empathise is perhaps the number 1 soft skill in sales. It all stems from the ability to effectively gather intelligence. This means being able to ask the right questions and not just listen but actively listen to the needs of a potential client. Only when an individual can put themselves in the shoes of their prospect can they fully understand their problems. This opens the door to effectively suggest and provide the right solutions, that will genuinely help a prospect to solve their problems and achieve their goals.
Taking an egocentric approach to sales is the number 1 killer of deals and a clear sign that a salesperson lacks the required empathy to be effective. Never jump into a pitch before taking the time to qualify and fully understand the needs of a prospect. Always be empathetic.
A Can-Do Attitude
A sales role is enticing – travelling to cool events and places, meeting new and interesting prospects and the opportunity to bring in big deals that are financially rewarding. But something that is forgotten is the level of perseverance and persistence that is required to consistently close deals – long days, sales quota’s to hit and a consistent flow of rejection.
This is why a positive, can-do attitude is key. A positive attitude allows the successful salesperson to persevere and navigate their way through the ‘no’s’ or ‘let’s revisit 12 months’ that they will inevitably receive on a regular basis. A positive frame of mind allows the sales professional to continue on the path to success and embrace every sales opportunity with a sense of drive and enthusiasm.
In fact, successful salespeople embrace failure head-on, because every time that they fail, they learn. Failure is one of the best ways to learn, and no matter how hard we fail – when failure is approached with a positive, growth mindset then it is a valuable learning opportunity.
It’s important to approach every day with the attitude – “I either win or I learn” – this is what will drive consistent a grind towards goals and it will inevitably lead to being very, very successful in sales.
Written by Cameron Scott