The latest data is clear that selling is a skill—not an innate talent that people are just born with.
Let me repeat that: Selling is a skill. No one is born great at selling.
Just like any other learned skills, you need to develop your sales skills if you want to be great.
This should be inspiring news for salespeople everywhere.
It means that, even if you’re not performing at the level you want to be right now, you can ultimately improve your sales skills to get there.
I’ve seen it done over and over again. In fact, top performers are constantly developing their sales skills to help them close far more deals than everyone else.
In this video, I’m going to show you 7 keys to transforming your sales skills so you can rise to the top.
Check it out:
Sales Skills Key #1: Follow a data-driven approach.
There are so many sales gurus out there who share outdated ideas that used to work 10, 20, even 30 years ago. Despite the fact that most of those strategies simply don’t work anymore, so many salespeople still follow them.
And yet, at the same time, there are troves of data now available to us that can help us see what is really working at every phase of the sale. So why follow the outdated advice?
If you do nothing else besides heed the latest data in sales, you’ll be further ahead with your sales skills than the majority of salespeople out there.
Follow a data-driven approach—and make sure that whatever you’re doing is backed up by the latest research on selling.
Sales Skills Key #2: Read or listen to one sales book each month.
Maybe you love to read physical books, you love your Kindle, or you prefer audiobooks. Whatever your favorite way of reading, you should be consuming at least one sales book every month if you want to improve your sales skills.
This is something I’ve been doing for my entire career—and it has made it so I’m always on the cutting edge of what’s actually working in sales. Reading a book a month about sales ensures that you’re absorbing lots of different ideas, perspectives, and strategies.
You’ll find that there’s almost always at least one great idea in every book that you can move forward and implement to transform your sales skills.
Sales Skills Key #3: Execute new ideas.
Speaking of implementing ideas—it’s critical that you actually put ideas into action, not just read about them. One of the biggest differentiators between top sales performers and everyone else is their ability to consistently execute new ideas.
When I do sales training at companies, it’s always the top performers who are saying, “Yeah, I see how I can use this in my daily life.” And then they go and immediately use it. It’s the bottom and middle performers who are saying, “Oh, I don’t think that’s going to work for me, and here’s why it’s not going to work…”
Top performers go out and execute new ideas every single time. If you want to transform your sales skills, you need to follow suit.
Sales Skills Key #4: Map out your entire sales process.
When you went to school, did you learn how to sell? Did you learn about sales at all? Maybe you even got an MBA. Did you learn about sales in your MBA? I got an MBA and I learned nothing about selling in that entire program.
Salespeople get very little practical, tactical training in order to become sales professionals. And so, as a result, most salespeople are just winging the sales process. They’re here, they’re there, they’re jumping around. The end result is less than ideal.
The absolute best salespeople know their entire sales process from beginning to end. I wish they taught us that in school.
We want to map out our entire sales process, so that we know what we’re doing in each step of the process. This is one of those sales skills that just takes a little time up front but has a massive impact on your results for the long haul.
Sales Skills Key #5: Use a prospecting blueprint.
Most sales problems come down to the fact that salespeople don’t have enough opportunities in their pipeline. If they simply had more opportunities, the sales would be so much easier to come by. But because they have so few opportunities, they’re just scraping by and clawing to close every single deal.
But if you’ve got a prospecting blueprint—which is a specific, step-by-step plan of exactly what you’re doing at each phase of contacting a prospect—you’re going to be so much more successful.
This is similar to mapping out your sales process, but just for prospecting. You want to know exactly how, when, and why you’re going to make contact with prospects; how you’ll follow up; and how often you’ll reach out.
Map out when you’ll be making a call, following up with an email, contacting them with a LinkedIn request, sending them a package or a letter, and following up again with a call.
When you use a prospecting blueprint, prospects won’t accidentally slip outside of your funnel ever again, making this one of the most useful sales skills to develop.
Sales Skills Key #6: Learn one thing every single day.
This key to transforming sales skills actually comes from my father. He used to always tell me, “Marc, you want to learn one thing every single day for the rest of your life.” And that is true both personally and professionally.
We need to be constantly getting better. Just think about it: If you commit to learning one new thing every day, then over the course of a year, you’ve learned over 300 new things. Pretty amazing, right? Sharpen that saw, refine, go back out, do it again tomorrow.
Sales Skills Key #7: Find meaning in selling.
My good friend Lisa Earle McLeod, who wrote the book Selling with Noble Purpose, talks about this a lot. (By the way, that should be one of the books that you read. Lisa talks about how we as salespeople have one of the highest callings professionally; we are really helping the people that we’re selling to.)
The more we can find meaning in what we’re doing when we’re selling on a day-to-day basis, the more we’re going to love what we do, and the more we’re going to want to continue to sharpen our sales skills. So, find meaning.
Every time you’re talking to a prospect, think, “How is this person’s life going to be better as a result of closing this deal?” And if you’re in an industry or company that’s not improving the quality of your customers’ lives or businesses, then find something else to sell.
So, there you have it. Now you know 7 keys to transforming your sales skills. Which one of these ideas did you find most useful? Be sure to join the conversation by leaving your thoughts in the comments section.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.