Last week I was invited by a reputed organisation to be a part of their internal seminar where I presented skills that have become a must-have for a sales role considering the changed environment of the marketplace.
There are 3 key skills which according to me are critical without which a sales professional will not be productive. I have identified these skills on the basis of the experience I have had while coaching experienced professionals for a career transition. Having coached over 3000 professionals one to one, I have seen the change happening in the kind of challenges that a sales professional faces and what is effective to handle them. Earlier a B to B sales professional would devise a sales proposal on the basis of his own understanding and past customer behaviour which was somewhat predictable. Now with this dramatically changed environment, this approach will not work.
So let us talk about the 3 must-have skills for a sales role:
1] Researching ability:
The client needs are changing every minute. The covid led pandemic has forced companies to reinvent their products and services, fine tune them to the changing consumer needs. It is challenging to put consumers from a particular segment into one specific bucket and another in a different bucket because with dramatic changes in the consumer needs, the bucket itself keeps evolving. For example, health, fitness and diet has become a priority and consumers across age groups have become more skewed in following fitness regimes than earlier times and have become a critical need of the target audience for so many products and services. So marketers in companies have adapted their marketing strategies accordingly. Which means sales professionals have to go the extra mile and spend time doing in-depth research to understand these constantly changing requirements. Only then will they be able to find the connect with the customer. Old ways of doing the research will not work. For example in B TO B sales, researching with an increased frequency through the vendors/ retailers and finding out about the changing pain points of the consumer in a structured in-depth manner and then devising a sales pitch will be effective.
Do you as a sales professional have the wherewithal to keep experimenting and trying out new approaches then learning from the outcomes/experiences and fine tuning the approach or service. And if the results are not as per the desired goal again persistently fine tuning and tweaking your strategy and continuing till the time you get the desired outcome. It requires the zeal of an entrepreneur that will keep you going. Do you have that spirit in you to enjoy the experimentation. A new way of working out deals, new product or service packages revising the value propositions and multiple different things to be done till you get your desired result.
3] Communication through a digital platform:
Taking notes or sipping a cup of coffee during a video call can affect your eye contact and hence the quality of your communication. Or having some noise disturbance during a conversation or you not looking into the camera are all factors that will bring down your ability to communicate through the digital/ technology led platform. Are you skilled to handle that? Have you upgraded your communication skills? How do you present to a bunch of brand managers or even retail owners and make a sales call or a presentation over a video call. It is way different than a face to face meeting.
Keep these 3 skills in mind if you are a sales professional and keep honing them constantly as times have changed. And we all know of the good old saying – “The only thing constant is change”.
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