Like last week’s post, this is about sales skills, though you can also think of them as life skills. There are seven of them, according to Dan Ross, a former Salesforce VP. He refers to them as the sales skills that can’t be taught.
Mr. Ross starts by saying that some of the best closers he ever hired more than compensated for their lack of sales experience with “core qualities.”
Products and markets, says Mr. Ross, change so fast that it’s impossible to keep sales training current. So it’s up to a sales rep to figure out a customer’s problem and present a solution that works. Being curious is really the only way to do this.
Mr. Ross wants salespeople who get the job done but also do right by the customer. I’ll never forget the time I hedged on a product’s capabilities to make a sale. The customer’s anger and my sense of sleaze have stayed with me forever and informed my business dealings going forward.
Referring to Salesforce, Mr. Ross says, “Salespeople who demonstrate the drive to challenge themselves to do more and help us improve faster will be the ones who will get … opportunities.”
Like curiosity, problem-solving is indispensable in sales. Rather than feeling frustrated when they encounter a problem for which there is no mapped-out solution, salespeople with a predisposition to solve problems will find or create an answer. The key is to see energy, not frustration, in a problem.
Rejection—especially if you were positive the customer was ready to sign on the dotted line—is part of sales (and life). The most successful, creative people are those who pick themselves up, learn from the situation, and go on.
That’s genuine awareness, not self-absorption. Self-awareness allows salespeople to figure out where they need to improve and get help, rather than abandoning “their best habits the first time they have a bad month or quarter and not realize what they actually should be working on.”
This quality refers to being able to read people when you’re on the phone and can’t see facial expression or body language. I think tone of voice, volume, cadence, and other aspects of verbal expression are incredibly revealing, particularly when you sense dissonance (or consonance) between language and tone.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, these are more than sales skills. They are life skills, but I’m not so sure they can’t be taught (though I can understand that the effort probably takes too much time in a fast-moving sales organization). Don’t we all remember a mentor—whether a good friend, grandmother, business colleague, or even our boss—who penetrated the fog surrounding us and got us on track?
Antonio Gravante — 123rf.com